Report from Motorsport News International
Thanks to CART Online
CART Online (November 15) -- Upon returning from a post season visit with his young family in Balcarce, Argentina, Juan Manuel Fangio II, 41, phoned Dan Gurney Friday night after a test session in Sebring to tell his boss, friend and mentor that he has decided to hang up his CART helmet and retire from championship auto racing.
"I have discovered that regardless of what my passion says, despite what I command my mind to do, I am no longer able to give my whole being, my total focus at the exclusion of everything else to this sport that I love," Fangio told Gurney. "99% is not enough, I shall stop."
With very mixed feelings of sadness, understanding and approval, Gurney accepted Juans decision and told him that the greatest regret of his career as a team owner was the fact that All American Racers has not been able to offer him a competitive car/engine package in the last two years worthy of his immense driving talent.
"In many ways, Juan has been the linchpin of the entire AAR Toyota team effort and now an era has ended," Gurney said. "I am sorry it ended this way without a CART victory."
Victories, however, are not lacking in Fangios resume. During the twelve year relationship with AAR, which dates back to the IMSA GTU/GTO days of 1985, he captured two GTP Drivers Championships, two Manufacturers Championships for Toyota, won twice the Sebring 12 Hour Race, captured 10 pole positions and garnered 21 GTP victories and an IMSA record 19 solo triumphs, blazing a glorious trail across the skies of American sports car racing. Fangio, who Gurney called a "chip off the old uncle," was named to the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Associations (AARWBA) first-team All American in 1992 and 1993 and was named the AARWBA "1992 Driver of the Year."
A gentleman in a drivers suit with a core of steel exuding an aura of Latin American dignity and honor even in the worst of circumstances will be missing from the grid," Gurney said in tribute to Fangio. "The whole AAR racing team, his mechanics, the engineers and the office staff say: 'Gracias Juanito.' We will miss you terribly!"