John Surtees

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John Surtees
John Surtees.JPG
John Surtees
Nationality Flag of the United Kingdom British

Grand Prix motorcycle racing career
Active years 1952 - 1960
Teams Norton, MV Agusta
Grands Prix 49
Championships 350cc - 1958,1959,1960
500cc- 1956,1958,1959,1960
Wins 38
Podium finishes    45
Pole positions N/A
Fastest laps N/A
First Grand Prix 1952 500cc Ulster Grand Prix
First win 1955 250cc Ulster Grand Prix
Last win 1960 500cc Nations Grand Prix
Last Grand Prix 1960 500cc Nations Grand Prix
Formula One World Championship career
Active years1960 - 1972
TeamsLotus, Cooper, Lola, Ferrari, Honda, BRM, McLaren, Surtees
Races113 (111 starts)
Championships1 (1964)
Wins6
Podiums24
Career points180
Pole positions8
Fastest laps10
First race1960 Monaco Grand Prix
First win1963 German Grand Prix
Last win1967 Italian Grand Prix
Last race1972 Italian Grand Prix
24 Hours of Le Mans career
Participating years19631965, 1967
TeamsScuderia Ferrari
Lola Cars/Team Surtees
Best finish3rd (1964)
Class wins0

John Surtees, OBE (born February 11 1934) is a former Grand Prix motorcycle road racer and Formula One driver from England. He remains the only person to have won World Championships on both two and four wheels. He is also the ambassador of the Racing Steps Foundation.

Motorcycle racing career

Born in Tatsfield, Surrey, Surtees was the son of a south London motorcycle dealer. He had his first professional outing in the sidecar of his father's Vincent, which they won. However, when race officials discovered Surtees' age, they were disqualified. He entered his first race at 15 in a grasstrack competition. In 1950, when he was 16, he joined Vincent as an apprentice; whilst with them he bought his first car, a Jowett Jupiter. He made his first headlines in 1951 when he gave Norton star Geoff Duke a strong challenge in an ACU race at the Thruxton Circuit.

In 1955, Norton race chief Joe Craig gave Surtees his first factory sponsored ride aboard the Nortons. He finished the year by beating reigning world champion Duke at Silverstone and then at Brands Hatch. However, with Norton in financial trouble and uncertain about their racing plans, Surtees accepted an offer to race MV Agustas.

In 1956 Surtees won the 500cc world championship. In this he was assisted by the FIM's decision to ban Geoff Duke for six months because of his support for a riders' strike for more starting money. In the 1957 season, the MV Agustas were no match for the Gileras and Surtees battled to a third place finish.

When Gilera and Moto Guzzi pulled out of Grand Prix racing at the end of 1957, Surtees and MV Agusta went on to dominate the competition in the two big classes. In 1958, 1959 and 1960, he won 32 out of 39 races and became the first man to win the Senior TT at the Isle of Man TT three years in succession.

John Surtees at the 1965 1000 km Nürburgring.
John Surtees (left) and Mauro Forghieri in 1965

Racing car career

In 1960, at the age of 26, Surtees switched from motorcycles to cars full time, making his Formula 1 debut racing for Lotus in the Monaco Grand Prix in Monte Carlo. He made an immediate impact with a second place finish in only his second Formula One race, at the 1960 British Grand Prix, and a pole position at his third race, the 1960 Portuguese Grand Prix. After spending the 1961 season with the Cooper racing team and the 1962 season with Reg Parnell Racing, he moved to Scuderia Ferrari in 1963 and won the World Championship for the Italian team in 1964.

On September 25, 1965, Surtees had a life-threatening accident at the Mosport Circuit (Ontario, Canada) whilst practicing a Lola Can-Am car. The front wishbone had broken. Surtees made a full recovery and went back in 1966 to the Can Am series and became champion defeating the Chaparrals.

The 1966 season saw the introduction of a new, larger 3-litre engines to Formula One. Surtees' debut with Ferrari's new F1 car was at the 1966 BRDC International Trophy at Silverstone, where he qualified and finished a close second behind Jack Brabham's 3-litre Brabham BT19. A few weeks later, Surtees led the Monaco Grand Prix, pulling away from Jackie Stewart's 2-litre BRM on the straights, before the engine failed. A fortnight later Surtees survived the first lap rainstorm which eliminated half the field and won the Belgian Grand Prix.

Surtees arrived at the 1966 Le Mans 24 hours expecting to be partnered with Mike Parkes, instead Ferrari team manager Eugenio Dragoni had put "big John" with Ludovico Scarfiotti. Surtees was not happy and quit Ferrari. Surtees finished the season driving for the Cooper-Maserati team, winning the last race of the season and finishing second in the drivers' championship, 14 points behind Brabham.

Surtees moved to the new Japanese Honda team for the 1967 season. He took pole position for the non-championship Race of Champions at Brands Hatch, but the car's V12 engine suffered from reliability problems in the race. At the Italian Grand Prix Surtees slipstreamed Denny Hulme to take Honda's second F1 victory by 0.2 seconds. Surtees finished fourth in the 1967 drivers' championship.

The same year, Surtees drove in the Rex Mays 300 at Riverside, near Los Angeles, in a United States Auto Club season-ending road race. This event pitted the best American drivers of the day — normally those who had cut their teeth as professional drivers on oval dirt tracks — against veteran Formula One Grand Prix drivers, including Jim Clark and Dan Gurney.

In 1970, Surtees formed his own race team, the Surtees Racing Organisation, and spent nine seasons competing in Formula 5000, Formula 2 and Formula 1 as a constructor. He retired from competitive driving in 1972, the same year the team had their greatest success when Mike Hailwood won the European Formula 2 Championship. The team was finally disbanded at the end of 1978.

After Formula One

John Surtees in 2006

In 1996, he was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame. The FIM honored him as a Grand Prix "Legend" in 2003. He continues his involvement in motorcycling, participating in classic bike events with bikes from his stable of vintage racing machines. He also remains involved in single-seater racing cars and held the position of chairman of A1 Team Great Britain, in the A1 Grand Prix racing series from 2005-7. His son, Henry, currently competes in the Formula Renault UK Championship, having previously raced in the Formula BMW UK championship for Carlin Motorsport.[1]

Already a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE), he was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2008 Birthday Honours.[2]

Motorcycle Grand Prix Statistics

Position 1 2 3 4 5 6
Points 8 6 4 3 2 1
Year Class Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Points Rank Wins
1952 500cc Norton SWI
IOM
NED
BEL
W.GER
ULS
1
NAT
ESP
1 18th 0
1955 250cc NSU FRA
IOM
W.GER
BEL
NED
ULS
8
NAT
8 7th 1
350cc Norton IOM
3
W.GER
4
BEL
NED
ULS
4
NAT
11 6th 0
1956 350cc MV Agusta IOM
NED
6
BEL
8
W.GER
ULS
NAT
14 4th 1
500cc MV Agusta IOM
8
NED
8
BEL
8
W.GER
ULS
NAT
24 1st 3
1957 350cc MV Agusta W.GER
IOM
3
NED
BEL
ULS
NAT
3 10th 0
500cc MV Agusta W.GER
IOM
6
NED
8
BEL
ULS
NAT
3
17 3rd 1
1958 350cc MV Agusta IOM
8
NED
8
BEL
8
W.GER
8
SWE
ULS
8
NAT
8
48 1st 6
500cc MV Agusta IOM
8
NED
8
BEL
8
W.GER
8
SWE
ULS
8
NAT
8
48 1st 6
1959 350cc MV Agusta FRA
8
IOM
8
W.GER
8
SWE
8
ULS
8
NAT
8
48 1st 6
500cc MV Agusta FRA
8
IOM
8
W.GER
8
NED
8
BEL
8
ULS
8
NAT
8
56 1st 7
1960 350cc MV Agusta FRA
4
IOM
6
NED
8
ULS
8
NAT
26 1st 2
500cc MV Agusta FRA
8
IOM
8
NED
BEL
8
W.GER
8
ULS
6
NAT
8
46 1st 5

Complete World Championship Formula One results

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position; Races in italics indicate fastest lap)

Year Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 WDC Points
1960 Team Lotus Lotus 18 Climax Straight-4 ARG
MON
Ret
500
NED
BEL
FRA
GBR
2
POR
Ret
ITA
USA
Ret
14th 6
1961 Yeoman Credit
Racing Team
Cooper T53 Climax Straight-4 MON
Ret
NED
7
BEL
5
FRA
Ret
GBR
Ret
GER
5
ITA
Ret
USA
Ret
12th 4
1962 Bowmaker-Yeoman Racing Team Lola Mk4 Climax V8 NED
Ret
MON
4
BEL
5
FRA
5
GBR
2
GER
2
USA
Ret
RSA
Ret
4th 19
Lola Mk4A ITA
Ret
1963 Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 156 Ferrari V6 MON
4
BEL
Ret
NED
3
FRA
Ret
GBR
2
GER
1
ITA
Ret
USA
Ret
MEX
DSQ
RSA
Ret
4th 22
1964 Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 158 Ferrari V8 MON
Ret
NED
2
BEL
Ret
FRA
Ret
GBR
3
GER
1
AUT
Ret
ITA
1
1st 40
North American Racing Team USA
2
MEX
2
1965 Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 158 Ferrari V8 RSA
2
MON
4
BEL
Ret
FRA
3
5th 17
Ferrari 1512 Ferrari Flat-12 GBR
3
NED
7
GER
Ret
ITA
Ret
USA
MEX
1966 Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 312/66 Ferrari V12 MON
Ret
BEL
1
2nd 28
Cooper Car Company Cooper T81 Maserati V12 FRA
Ret
GBR
Ret
NED
Ret
GER
2
ITA
Ret
USA
3
MEX
1
1967 Honda Racing Honda RA273 Honda V12 RSA
3
MON
Ret
NED
Ret
BEL
Ret
FRA
GBR
6
GER
4
CAN
4th 20
Honda RA300 ITA
1
USA
Ret
MEX
4
1968 Honda Racing Honda RA300 Honda V12 RSA
8
7th 12
Honda RA301 ESP
Ret
MON
Ret
BEL
Ret
NED
Ret
FRA
2
GBR
5
GER
Ret
ITA
Ret
CAN
Ret
USA
3
MEX
Ret
1969 Owen Racing Organisation BRM P138 BRM V12 RSA
Ret
ESP
5
MON
Ret
NED
9
FRA
11th 6
BRM P139 GBR
Ret
GER
DNS
ITA
NC
CAN
Ret
USA
3
MEX
Ret
1970 Team Surtees McLaren M7C Cosworth V8 RSA
Ret
ESP
Ret
MON
Ret
BEL
NED
6
FRA
18th 3
Surtees TS7 GBR
Ret
GER
9
AUT
Ret
ITA
Ret
CAN
5
USA
Ret
MEX
8
1971 Brooke Bond Oxo / Team Surtees Surtees TS9 Cosworth V8 RSA
Ret
ESP
11
MON
7
NED
5
FRA
8
GBR
6
GER
7
AUT
Ret
ITA
Ret
CAN
11
USA
17
19th 3
1972 Team Surtees Surtees TS14 Cosworth V8 ARG
RSA
ESP
MON
BEL
FRA
GBR
GER
AUT
ITA
Ret
CAN
USA
DNS
NC 0

Footnotes

References

  • 50 Years Of Moto Grand Prix (1st edition). Hazelton Publishing Ltd, 1999. ISBN 1-874557-83-7

External links


Sporting positions
Preceded by
Geoff Duke
500cc Motorcycle World Champion
1956
Succeeded by
Libero Liberati
Preceded by
Libero Liberati
500cc Motorcycle World Champion
1958-1960
Succeeded by
Gary Hocking
Preceded by
Jim Clark
Formula One World Champion
1964
Succeeded by
Jim Clark
Preceded by
Inaugural
Can-Am Champion
1966
Succeeded by
Bruce McLaren
Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Ian Black
BBC Sports Personality of the Year
1959
Succeeded by
David Broome
Preceded by
Jim Clark
Hawthorn Memorial Trophy
1964
Succeeded by
Jim Clark