Walter Hansgen Named First Member of 2009 "Legends of The Glen" Induction Class

Hansgen was Successful on Both Temporary and Permanent Configurations of WGI

Craig Rust and Rusty Hansgen

Craig Rust, president of Watkins Glen International, (left) stands with Rusty Hansgen following the ceremony in which Walter Hansgen was inducted into the Legends of The Glen.

Craig Rust, president of Watkins Glen International, announced today that Walter Hansgen is the newest inductee into the “Legends of The Glen”.  Hansgen is the first person named to the Class of 2009 for the “Legends of The Glen” but will not be the last.  Rusty Hansgen accepted an invitation to Watkins Glen International to represent his father, and accepted the award on behalf of the family. 

“Walter Hansgen was one of the most successful drivers in the history of Watkins Glen International and it is an honor for us to induct him into this year’s class of Legends of The Glen,” said Craig Rust, president of Watkins Glen International.  “We appreciate that his son Rusty could accept this award on his behalf and are proud to be able to host him during this weekend’s Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen. It’s perfect to induct him during this weekend given the mark he made in sports car racing & The Glen during the early stages of our track’s history.”

“My father would be greatly honored to be included in the Legends of The Glen family, to join the very esteemed group of people that have already been inducted,” said Rusty Hansgen, Walter’s son.  “WGI was one of his favorite tracks and not just because of his success here.  It was the atmosphere that the fans brought to the races, the area, his close relationship with the Argetsingers, and the challenges of the track itself.  To have him honored for his accomplishments is very special to me and our family.”

Walter “Walt” Hansgen was an extremely talented sports car driver, who earned four SCCA Championships during his racing career.  Specifically during his time at The Glen, Hansgen went to victory lane a total of four times.  He was a versatile driver that met with success on both the temporary road course that was established in 1953 after the races left the streets of Watkins Glen and on the permanent track that was completed in 1956.  He claimed the top spot in the Grand Prix of 1953 and the Sports Car Grand Prix of 1962.  From 1957-1959, Hansgen dominated at The Glen with wins in the Sports Car Grand Prix of 1957 and 1959.  He barely missed victory in 1958 and instead went home with a runner-up finish.  Hansgen was the only driver to achieve four Grand Prix victories in the history of racing at Watkins Glen.  

Hansgen was a very influential person in the world of motorsports and had several books written about his life.  Perhaps one of his notable off-track accomplishments was introducing Mark Donohue to professional road racing and acting as a mentor to Donohue.  The two drivers were both originally from New Jersey, and raced together in 1965 in The Glen 500.  Hansgen tragically lost his life on April 7, 1966 after sustaining injuries five days earlier in an accident at a test session for the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans. 

Tickets for the entire 2009 season at Watkins Glen International are on sale now!  The season kicks-off with the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen weekend, June 5-6, featuring the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series, KONI Challenge, and NASCAR Camping World Series East.  Weekend tickets are only $35 and general admission for kids 12 and under is FREE when accompanied by an adult.  For tickets and information, please contact the WGI ticket office at 866-461-RACE or log on to the official Watkins Glen website at www.TheGlen.com. Tickets, gift certificates and track merchandise can be all purchased at The Shop located at 2 North Franklin Street in downtown Watkins Glen, Open Monday-Friday 9-5, Saturday 9-4, Closed Sunday; 607-535-2338.

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