The 50th anniversary of John Surtees’ 1964 Formula 1 world championship was celebrated at the 2014 Autosport International Show, with a collection of iconic machinery from his career being put on display to commemorate his incredible racing career.
Towards the end of his time driving in F1, Surtees set up his own team to race in the series, along with Formula 2 and Formula 5000. He decided to become a driver/owner, like he had done earlier in his career when he ran (and won) in the CanAm series, and the first car to be created by the team was the TS7.
The TS7 was the first F1 car to be built by the team at their Edenbridge base in Kent. It was designed by Surtees, Shahab Ahmed and Peter Connew.
It was powered by a Ford-Cosworth DFV V8 engine and was run in 1970. The team actually ran the first four races with an old McLaren M7C chassis due to delays with the construction of their own car.
John Surtees was the sole driver for the majority of the 1970 season, entering Derek Bell in a second car at the United States Grand Prix – which was only his fifth start in F1.
Surtees became the first person to win world titles on both two and four wheels in 1964, when he raced to championship glory for Ferrari at the wheel of a 158. He left the team shortly after and raced for the likes of Honda and BRM before setting up his own outfit. The Surrey-born driver eventually retired from motor racing in 1972, and the Surtees team disbanded in 1978.
The team’s first season in Formula 1 was a difficult one, particularly due to the delay in the debut of the TS7. His time driving the ‘customer’ McLaren was plagued by DNF’s. The team eventually revealed their first car to the F1 paddock at the British Grand Prix, held at the Brands Hatch circuit.
Engine problems cost him a potential top six result, but he did finish the Canadian Grand Prix in fifth place. In his only race for the team that year, Derek Bell finished the United States Grand Prix at Watkins Glen in sixth place. Surtees did dominate the non-championship Oulton Park International Gold Cup at the wheel of his own car.
Check out our special nostalgia piece on John Surtees, taking a look back at his incredible career on both two and four wheels, here.
Images courtesy of Octane Photographic