Recalling our late ambassador

John Surtees CBE, one of the most gifted racers of all time, was until his death on 10 March 2017, the RSF's ambassador.

The multiple world motorcycle and F1 champion's remit had included talent spotting; liaison with teams, regulators and government; and promoting the foundation's work, drivers and riders.

He brought to the role an unrivalled knowledge of motorsport, renowned bike and car engineering skills, and the ability, when needed, to open all the right doors.

Surtees' know-how and contacts came from a lifetime spent at the highest levels of motorsport, including his time as a Grand Prix rider, F1 driver and constructor, and BRDC Vice President.

John also had extensive experience of karting and junior single-seater formulae.

The racing legend was truly unique in motorsport.

Between 1956 and '60 he won seven motorcycle World Championships riding with the Italian MV Agusta team. Then, aged 26, and with nothing left to prove, he made the transition from bikes to cars, winning the Formula 1 World Championship with Ferrari in 1964.

His feat of winning world titles on two and four wheels remains unequalled.

The all-round racer also possessed an impressive record in sports cars. His race CV included wins with Ferrari in the Sebring 12 hours and 1000km races at the Nürburgring and Monza as well as the 1966 CanAm Championship for Group 7 cars which he won in the Lola T70-Chevrolet that he had helped to develop.

In his role as constructor, he designed, built and raced single-seaters in F1, F2 and F5000. Team Surtees cars won races around the world, clinching championships in European F2 and F5000 in America and England.

During his remarkable career John won 290 of the 621 races he entered and claimed a further 103 podium finishes, recording 48 fastest laps and 100 record laps.

Career highlights

Motorcycles 1951-60
348  starts (inc 69 GPs)
255  wins (inc 38 GPs)
304  podiums (inc 45 GP podiums)
90  record laps
14 fastest laps
500cc World Champs (1956, 58, 59, 60)
350cc World Champs (1958, 59, 60)
Formula 1 (1960-72)
111  starts
24  podiums
8  pole positions
record lap
10  fastest laps
1964  World Champion (with Ferrari)
Sports cars / World Endurance / CanAm
62 starts
13  wins
27  podiums
13  pole positions
record laps
14  fastest laps
1966  Can-Am Champion