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John Surtees clipping the apex in Mexico in his North American Racing Team ‘NART’, factory, Ferrari 158. Ferrari was in dispute with the Italian national automobile club over its refusal to homologate his 250LM sportscar into Group 5 despite having not built the minimum number of cars to do so…the hissy-fit reflected in the cars being entered in the blue/white of Luigi Chinettis’ American NART rather than Italian national red…(Bernard Cahier)

John Surtees pilots his ‘NART’ Ferrari 158 to second place in the 1964 Mexican Grand Prix, clinching the drivers World Championship for him and the Constructors Championship for Ferrari…

On the day that Lewis Hamilton won the 2014 Championship i was flicking through some old magazines and reflected on the remarkably diverse career and achievements of Surtees.

In similar fashion to 2014 the 1964 title was also decided at the last race, in Mexico that year.

Graham Hill, Jim Clark and Surtees were all winners depending upon who finished where. In a race of changing fortunes Clark lead from the start, and was on track for the race win and his second title when his Climax engine started to lose oil and seized seven laps from the end. Surtees engine misfired early but sorted itself, teammate Bandini allowed him into second and the points he needed to defeat Hill, who had been given a ‘tap up the chuff’ by Bandini earlier in the race, causing a pitstop and damaged exhausts ruining his chance.

Mexico 1964, Surtees and Bandini

Surtees in his Fazz 158 ahead of teammate Bandini in the flat-12 1512 early in the Mexican GP (unattributed)

Dan Gurney won the race in his Brabham BT7 Climax and Surtees the title. He was to win only six Championship GP’s throughout his long career, 1960-1972, not reflective of his talent, but indicative of team choice, he wasn’t always in the right place at the right time.

Drivers Mexico 1964

Gurney, Clark, Surtees, pensive as always and Phil Hill prior to the ’64 Mexican GP. Looks like Brabhams’ haircut behind Clark? (Bernard Cahier)

Famously the only driver to win World Championships on two wheels and four… he was born into a motor-cycling family and progressed from his fathers’ sidecar to solos and many Norton victories, before too long signed by Count Agusta to MV.

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Surtees bump starts his MV350 prior to the start of his run around the daunting Isle of Man, Senior TT 1957 (unattributed)

The departure of Gilera and Moto Guzzi allowed Surtees and MV to dominate the bigger classes, he won 350cc titles in 1958/9/60 and 500cc championships in 1956/8/9/60.

Before too long he wanted to race cars, making his GP debut for Team Lotus at Monaco in 1960, he mixed cars and bikes that year his best result second in the British GP.

Surtees on the road Riverside 1960

Surtees being blown off by a Ford Fairlane…on the way back from Riverside, USGP practice 1960. Lotus 18 Climax. 2.5 FPF Climax an incredibly tractable engine! (Bernard Cahier)

Surtees Portuguese GP 1960

Surtees made his F1 debut with Lotus at Monaco 1960, mixing a season of F1 with winning the 350 & 500 titles on bikes…here at Oporto in the Portuguese GP, he retired on lap 36 having qualified on pole on this challenging road course. Lotus 18 Climax (Bernard Cahier)

He drove a Reg Parnell/Bowmaker racing Cooper in 1961 and a Parnell/Bowmaker Lola in 1962 commencing a relationship with Eric Broadley’s marque which continued for most of his career in categories outside F1…although the F1 Honda of 1967 was famously a ‘Hondola’, being the marriage of in essence the Lola T80/90 chassis with the big, powerful 3 litre Honda V12.

Surtees AGP WF 1963

John in the Lola Mk4A Climax enroute to 2nd behind Jack Brabhams’ Brabham BT4, both 2.7 Coventry Climax FPF powered. Australian GP, Warwick Farm, Sydney 1963 (John Ellacott)

The most productive phase of his career was with Ferrari from 1963 to mid 1966, winning in both sports cars and in F1…

The Palace Coup and Purge of key Ferrari staff in late 1962 gave Surtees his Ferrari chance, joining them in early 1963. Arguably he was a good chance for the 1966 Championship won by Jack Brabham but inept, political management by team-manager Eugenio Dragoni resulted in his departure from the team mid season, his talents rewarded with two wins for Cooper that season, he then moved to Honda.

Its ironic that Ferrari intrigue gave him his Ferrari chance, and Ferrari intigue got the better of his sense of fairness in the end…read the Motor Sport article below for Surtees’ own version of these events.

Surtees and Hill Monaco 1963

Surtees (4th) leads Graham Hill (1st) at Monaco 1963, Ferrari T56 and BRM P57 respectively (unattributed)

Forghieri and Surtees Ferrari 1512

Surtees looks typically concerned, there are not too many smiley shots of ‘Big John’, this was a serious business and all too often he was far from happy with his mount! Mauro Forghieri adjusts his ‘wedding tackle’. Ferrari 1512 1965, circuit unknown…look at all those coils trying to spark the high revving 1.5 litre flat 12. Technically interesting car with the 180 degree flat-12 used as a stressed member, years before the much touted Lotus 43/49 deployed the technique in 1966/7 respectively. Look closely and you can see the engine attachment point to the cast rear chassis bulkhead. Chassis still semi-monocoque tho. And lovely V12 still a 2 valve engine, rev limit and higher-frictional losses of the 12 and power developed  did not outweigh its complexity and higher fuel consumption relative to the 158 V8 in 1964. By the end of 1965 Surtees considered the car to have a decisive advantage over any other car but time had run out…Ferrari expected the 1.5 F1 to continue on, this engine needed to peak 12 months earlier than it did. Ferrari won no GP’s in 1965, Lotus and BRM had the edge that year. (unattributed)

Ferrari 158 cutaway

Surtees 1964 championship winning Ferrari 158. Chassis semi-monocoque, aluminium panels welded to tubular steel frame. IFS front by top rocker, lower wishbone and coil/spring shock unit. Rear by single top link, inverted lower wishbone, twin radius rods and coil spring/damper units.Adjustable roll-bars front and rear. Dunlop disc brakes , 468 Kg total. Engine ‘Tipo 205B’ 1489cc 90 degree all alloy V8. Chain driven DOHC, 2 valves per cylinder. Twin plugs fired by Marelli coils (4) and distributor. Bosch direct fuel injection, 10.5:1 compression ratio, circa 220bhp @ 11000rpm. 5 speed transaxle with ratios to choice,’slippery diff’ (Bruno Betti)

Surtees Spa 1966

John avoided the multiple spins and accidents caused by the lap 1 deluge of the Belgian GP at Spa in 1966, winning the race. He was shortly to walk out of the team and with that action ended his, and Ferraris’ hopes of a World Championship that year. Camera crew handily placed on the Eau Rouge apex… (unattributed)

Surtees Ferrari 312 Monza 1966

Happy JS testing his F1 Ferrari 312 at Monza in 1966 before the Monza 1000Km race. Cars behind are Ferraris’; Dino 206S and P3. The event was in April ’66, Surtees had a win in a P3 partnered by Mike Parkes…Bandini in the drivers overalls and brown sweater ? (unattributed)

1966 was capped with a dominant win in the first CanAm Championship in his self-run Team Surtees Lola T70Mk2 Chev, defeating Mark Donohue in a similar car and Bruce McLarens’ own M1B Chev…the McLaren CanAm steamroller commenced the following year.

Las Vegas Can Am 1966

John Surtees in his Lola T70 Mk2 Chev leads the field into turn 1 at ‘Stardust International Raceway’, Las Vegas 1966. The hi-winged Chaparral 2E Chev’s of Jim Hall and Phil Hill stand out. #98 is Parnelli Jones, #18 behind Hill George Follmer, #43 Jackie Stewart and #6 Mark Donohue are all in Lola T70 Chevs. #4, 5 , 88 are McLaren, Amon and Masten Gregory all driving McLaren M1B Chevs…Surtees victorious that year in a field of great depth (unattributed)

The Honda RA273 was a big heavy car, the marriage of Lola chassis and Honda engine, the RA300, was more competitive winning Surtees his sixth and final Championship Grand Prix victory at Monza in 1967, just pipping Jack Brabham in a last corner tactical battle/sprint to the line.

Surtees South Africa 1967

Surtees in his Honda RA300, the big V12 ahead of Graham Hills’ Lotus 49 Ford. Clarks’ Lotus 49 won the race, his last GP victory. Surtees 8th, Hill 2nd Kyalami , South Africa 1968 (unattributed)

Honda withdrew from F1 to reappear in the 1980’s, Surtees F1 season with BRM in 1969 was a poor one, the Tony Southgate designed BRM P153/180 were competitive cars but John was a season too early…

Surtees BRM 1969 Spanish GP

JS 5th in the 1969 Spanish GP but 6 laps behind winner Stewarts’ Matra Ford in a debacle of a race when Rindt/Hill Lotus 49’s lost their rear wings…hi-wings banned at Monaco several weeks later. BRM P138. (unattributed)

Chaparral 2H Laguna 1969

The truly wild Chaparral 2H Chev 1969, Surtees wrestling with the beast at Laguna Seca. An article in itself deserved on this car, composite chassis, low, low driving position, raised at Surtees insistence, De Dion rear suspension and more…here in search of downforce with what, even by Jim Halls’ standards, is a BIG WING! (unattributed)

His 1969 Chapparral CanAm season was even worse, Jim Halls 2H Chev an extraordinary car of immense innovation, but was totally uncompetitive, despite the best efforts of development of both Hall and Surtees. The 2J ‘ground effect sucker car’ of 1970 was even more avant garde…and competitive but Jim Hall and Surtees was not ‘a marriage made in heaven’, a second season was not going to happen.

Jim Hall and Surtees Can Am 1969

Communication breakdown…Jim Hall and Surtees, Edmonton Can Am 1969, John in the seat of the recalcitrant, avant garde Chaparral 2H Chev. Franz Weis looks on (unattributed)

Surteees Nurburgring 1970 Ferrari 512S

All is forgiven…back in Scuderia Ferrari in the 1970 512S squad…here at the Nurburgring in front of the much more nimble and victorious Porsche 908/3 of  Elford/Ahrens. John was teamed with Niño Vaccarella, they finished 3rd. (unattributed)

It was time to control his own destiny, build his own cars which he started to do with the Len Terry designed TS5 F5000 car in 1969…the Surtees TS7 Ford F1 machine made its debut in Johns’ hands in 1970.

Surtees Cars won the European F2 Championship with the works TS10 Ford driven by Mike Hailwood and the 1972 US ‘L&M’ F5000 Championship, Sam Posey driving a TS11 Chev.

john surtess

Surtees in his own TS8 Chev F5000 car Australian GP 1971, Warwick Farm. He was running second behind Frank Matich’ winning Matich A50 Repco, then had a puncture DNF. Here he is leading Max Stewart’s 2 litre Mildren Waggott DNF engine. (Dick Simpson)

In F1 the cars were competitive over the years, the TS19 ‘Durex franger’ sponsored chassis of 1976-7 perhaps the pick of them albeit results were still not great, John finally gave up due to the difficulty in funding in 1978.

Surtees retired from F1 as a driver after the Italian GP, Monza 1972, fitting as it was the scene of his final championship F1 victory in 1967. He was competitive to the end winning two F2 races in his Surtees TS10 Ford that year. He continued to test the F1 cars, much to the annoyance of some of his drivers who would have preferred the ‘seat time’ themselves…

He is now 80 years old, happy in retirement and still a respected commentator on the current scene…

Surtees Italian GP 1972

John Surtees contesting his final GP, Monza 1972 is his TS14 Ford. He retired on lap 7 with fuel vaporisation problems, teammate and fellow ex-motor cycle champion Mike Hailwood finished second in his Surtees TS9B Ford..his and the marques best ever championship result. Emerson Fittipaldi won the race and the Championship in his Lotus 72 Ford (unattributed)

Etcetera…

Motor Sport

Read this fantastic article, John Surtees on working with the ‘Italian Racing Aristocrats’, Count Agusta and Commendatore Ferrari…

http://www.motorsportmagazine.com/archive/article/august-2009/46/count-and-commendatore

Read this fantastic article on the Surtees Racing Car marque…

http://www.motorsportmagazine.com/halloffame/john-surtees/keeping-the-name-alive/

Surtees and Count Agusta

Signing on the dotted line for MV, a very youthful JS, 22 years old, with Count Agusta 1956 (unattributed)

Surtees Longford

Winning the ‘South Pacific International’, Longford, Tasmania, Australia March 1962. The ‘Yeoman Credit’ Cooper T53 Climax 2.7 is exiting the Viaduct. He beat Jack Brabham and Bib Stillwell also in Coopers (Keverell Thompson)

Enzo, Surtees and Ferrari 158 Modena

Enzo Ferrari, John Surtees with crossed arms in the driving suit behind him. Surtees grumpy, perhaps early tests of the 158 at Modena are not going well…(Bernard Cahier)

Surtees and Bandini Monaco 1965

Love this shot of Surtees in his Ferrari 158 chasing teammate Bandini in a 1512 in the 1965 Monaco GP. Bandini 2nd, Surtees 4th and out of fuel, Hill victorious in his BRM P261 (Rainer Schlegelmilch)

Surtees pits Can Am 1966

Team Surtees 1966 CanAm Champions…the way it was. Racer, truck, mechanics, driver, ‘works car’ and a series win! Surtees supervising @ rear, circuit anyone? (unattributed)

Surtees and McLaren Can Am 1966

John Surtees ahead of Bruce McLaren, Lola T70 Mk 2 and McLaren M1B, both Chev powered. St Jovite Can Am Canada 1966 (unattributed)

Lola T100 Surtees

Testing ! the Lola T100 Ford FVA F2 car at the Nurburgring, 1967 (Alexandre Willerding)

Surtees TS7 Ford cutaway drawing

Surtees TS7 Ford, JS 1970 & 1971 F1 contender. A well executed ‘Cosworth kit car’ of the period, general layout by JS, detail design by Peter Connew and Shabab Ahmed. Aluminium monocoque chassis, Ford Cosworth DFV 3 litre V8, circa 430bhp @ 10200rpm in 1970. Hewland DG 300 5 speed ‘box. IFS front by top rocker, lower wishbone and coil spring/ damper units and rear by single top link, single top radius rod, twin parallel lower links and coil spring/damper units, F5000 TS8 of the time a variant of this chassis. The car won some championship points and the Non-Championship Oulton Park Gold Cup in 1970. (cutaway by Bill Bennett)

Photo and Other Credits…

The Cahier Archive, Alexandre Willerding, Keverell Thompson Collection, John Ellacott, Dick Simpson, Bruno Betti, Bill Bennett, Rainer Schlegelmilch

Finito…

 

Comments
  1. Whitemule says:

    …a long overdue “SIR”,

  2. […] Other drivers quickly noticed Moretti’s new ’tiller’ and wanted one, so it started to gain fame within the racing community. The new Momo steering wheel caught the attention of Ferrari driver, John Surtees, who wanted one for his Ferrari 158 GP car, the car in which he won the world title in 1964. https://primotipo.com/2014/11/30/john-surtees-world-champion-50-years-ago/ […]

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