One of sports car racing’s most decorated crew chiefs has announced his retirement as Dan Binks will step away from Corvette Racing and focus on life outside of IMSA’s WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. A fixture within an organization that takes pride in country and its bold, blaring race cars, Binks, a barrel-chested and proudly American man, embodied everything Corvette Racing represented at home and on the international stage.
“Thirty-eight years is a long time in motor racing,” he told RACER. “I love my Corvette Racing family, and now it’s time to do something different.”
Binks came to prominence in the 1980s with fellow Californian Tommy Kendall as the two terrorized IMSA’s GTU category with their low-dollar, high-talent Mazda RX-7 program. The Binks and Kendall connection would grow and move throughout North America as the SCCA Trans Am Series, IMSA GTP, and NASCAR beckoned.
Most heavily associated with General Motors, Binks also spent time in the Ford camp as Kendall dominated the 1990s Trans Am scene in a Roush Racing Mustang. With his move to GM factory team Pratt & Miller in 2002, Binks spent 18 years on the front line as Corvette Racing’s leader on pit lane and in the garage.
Known for his jovial but serious approach to the role, Corvette Racing set new standards for success by an American factory team in the American Le Mans Series, IMSA, and at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Under his direction, Binks was also responsible for turning Corvette Racing’s pit stops into a work of art as the drivers of the yellow V8-powered supercars had the luxury of shorter stops than their rivals for many years.
Binks, who completed his final race with the team in January at the Rolex 24 at Daytona, has been a central part of nearly 20 championship titles and wins at the biggest events in sports car racing. In retirement, he will focus his energies on running an automotive performance and restoration shop, and supporting the non-profit Camp Anokijig.
In Binks’ absence, his son Phil, who works for Chip Ganassi Racing, will carry on the family legacy.
“The torch passes to him now,” he said.
IMSA president John Doonan was saddened to learn of Binks’ retirement, but happy to have competed against a character of immense stature in his former role leading Mazda Motorsports.
“I think of Dan as ‘the quiet legend,’” Doonan said. “To think of all the success he’s delivered for his teams over the years is really quite amazing. Roger Penske said Rick Mears did all of his talking with his right foot. I think of Dan that way in talking with a wrench, or a wheel gun, or how he’s been a leader for so long in helping to shape many teams into what they’ve ultimately become, which is champions. And he’s always done what’s in the best interest of the sport and with great integrity. He will be missed greatly by everyone in IMSA.”
Corvette Racing has been a home for many legends since its formation in 1999. Ron Fellows, Johnny O’Connell, Jan Magnussen, and more have spent large portions of their lives representing the brand with excellence, and in Binks, they’ve been joined in graduation by a teammate of equal stature.