Inductees
John Surtees
John Surtees
Stats
Category: Sports Cars
CLASS OF: 2024
BORN: February 11, 1934
DIED: March 10, 2017
BIRTHPLACE: Tatsfield, United Kingdom
Official Nomination Bio

By MSHFA rules, only a non-American’s achievements in North America should be considered for induction. “Big John’s” record was profound. The Briton captured the inaugural (1966) Can-Am title with three wins over an international field that included inductees Mark Donohue, Dan Gurney, Jim Hall, Phil Hill, Denny Hulme, Parnelli Jones, David Hobbs, Sam Posey, and Bruce McLaren. His other victories include the 1963 Sebring 12 Hours, 1965 Player’s 200 at Mosport, 1965 Player’s Mont-Tremblant, 1966 Mexican Grand Prix and 1967 Las Vegas Can-Am. As a constructor, his eponymous single-seaters won seven U.S. F5000 races with Hobbs and Posey and finished 2nd in the championship three times. Surtees remains the only person to have won world championships on two and four wheels.

OFFICIAL INDUCTION BIOGRAPHY

By Preston Lerner

John Surtees is almost invariably described as the only man to win world championships in Formula 1 cars and on Grand Prix motorcycles. But this encomium, stupendous as it is, shortchanges his accomplishments as a racer, as an engineer and as a constructor. Although the Can-Am series is often remembered as “The Bruce and Denny Show” or the private preserve of Mark Donohue and Roger Penske, it was Surtees who was crowned as the inaugural champion in 1966, and chassis he built later were major players during the glory years of Formula 5000.

The son of a motorcycle dealer/racer in London, Surtees won his first race, in a sidecar attached to a bike ridden by his father – and was promptly disqualified because he was only 14. He started racing himself the next year, first on Vincents, then on Nortons. By 1960, when he exchanged two wheels for four, he’d amassed seven world championships on MV Agustas, with six Isle of Man TT titles in his logbook. 

Surtees transitioned to cars with almost miraculous ease. In his first automobile race, at Goodwood in a spindly Cooper-Austin Formula Junior, he qualified on the front row and finished second to Jim Clark. A mere two months later, he was racing a works Lotus 18 in the Monaco Grand Prix. In 1963, Enzo Ferrari rebuilt his struggling team around the talented Briton. Surtees rewarded him with a magnificent win at the Nurburgring and, the next year, a world championship after finishing second in a nail-biter in Mexico. The tifosi called him “Il Grande John” as much for his indomitable will as his physical stature.

Surtees displayed his legendary grit after he ruptured both kidneys and broke countless bones at Mosport in 1965 when an upright broke in his Lola T70. After months of arduous rehabilitation, he visited the factory in Maranello. “All the mechanics were crying,” he recalled. “They got a hold of one of those little hoists that they used to move the engines about, and they winched me into the Tasman Dino 246, which was still there waiting for me.” Surtees won a dramatic race at Spa in wet-dry conditions and probably would have claimed a second F1 championship if political intrigue hadn’t inspired him to quit Ferrari in mid-season.

This freed Surtees to enter the freshly minted Canadian-American Challenge Cup in 1966 with trusty mechanic Malcolm Malone, a single T70 and a pair of Traco-built Chevy V-8s. “We bought a Chevrolet van, put the car on the trailer and went off to the races,” Surtees said later. He won three times enroute to earning the inaugural Can-Am championship and a permanent place in American racing lore. 

After winning two more Grands Prix in a Cooper-Maserati and a Honda, Surtees started building open-wheel cars to his own specifications. Team Surtees chassis were especially formidable in Formula 5000 here in the States, with inductee David Hobbs nearly driving a TS5 to the championship in 1969. Although his cars were less successful in F1, Surtees didn’t dwell on the failures. As he put it: “It is a privilege for anybody to actually earn a living from something which is their hobby.”

 

Preston Lerner has written about racing for magazines ranging from Automobile and Road & Track to Wired and The New York Times Magazine. He’s also the author of seven books, the most recent recounting the saga of Shelby American.



OFFICIAL INDUCTION PRESENTER(S)

MSHFA 2012 Inductee Derek Bell

(Mike Meadows)

Derek Bell

INDUCTEES

Tony Adamowicz

Bob Akin

Alex Xydias & Dean Batchelor

Tyler Alexander

Jeb Allen

Reverend Richard Anderson

Frank Arciero

Jon Asher

Pat Austin

Roger Bailey

Max Balchowsky

Michael Baldwin

Earl Baltes

Skip Barber

Tom Beatty

Gary Beck

Dick Berggren

Gary Bettenhausen

Tom Bigelow

Thomas W. Binford

Pete Biro

Geoff Bodine

Bruce Boland

John R. Bond

Griffith Borgeson

Sebastien Bourdais

Gina Bovaird

Don Branson

Eric Broadley

Antron Brown

Ron Brown

John Buffum

William. R. "Bill" Burke

The Burklands

Larry Burton

Kurt Busch

Buddy Byers

Kevin Cameron

Paul Candies

Scotty Cannon

Steve Carbone

Russ Catlin

Eddie Cheever

Luigi Chinetti Sr.

Price Cobb

Austin Coil

Austin Coil

Russ Collins

Jessi Combs

John Cooper

Ray Cote

Buster Couch

Dale Coyne

Duff Daily

Robert Daley

Gian Paolo Dallara

Steve David

Donald Davidson

Grady Davis

Jim Deist

David Dewald

Larry Dickson

Scott Dixon

Scott Dixon

Downing & Hubbard

Miguel Duhamel

Jim Dunn

Lee Dykstra

Rob Dyson

Carl Edwards

Bud Ekins

Bud Ekins

Dave Ekins

Ray Elder

Jeff Emig

Richie Evans

Don Fairbanks

Red Farmer

Bud Feldkamp

Sal Fish

Herb Fishel

Ray Fox

Jim France

Frank Costin & Keith Duckworth (Cosworth)

Dave Friedman

Harry Gant

Michael Gaughan

Tom Gentry

Tony George

Joe Gibbs

Steve Gibbs

Hoot Gibson

Earl B. Gilmore

Bill "Maverick" Golden

Robby Gordon

Randy Goss

Granville Brothers

John Greenwood

Dick Guldstrand

Gene Haas

Carl Haas

Ted Halibrand

Rod Hall

Pete Halsmer

Tanis Hammond

Jeff Hammond

Jerry Hansen

Walt Hansgen

Trevor Harris

Brett Hearn

Pat Hemen

George Henley

Fran Hernandez

Bob Higbee

Tom Higgins

Steve Hinton

Takeo "Chickie" Hirashima

Bob Holbert

Tom Hoover

Jay Howell

Ralph Hudson

Jim Hunter

Jim Hurtubise

James Hylton

Jack Ingram

Dale Inman

Ernie Irvan

Bobby Isaac

Ed Iskenderian

Dale Jarrett

Jim Downing & Dr. Bob Hubbard

Alex Job

Jimmie Johnson

Jimmie Johnson

Bubby Jones

Ron Jones Sr.

Mike Joy

Karl Kainhofer

Scott Kalitta

Jim Kaser

Neil Keen

Matt Kenseth

Bill Kerchenfaut

Karl Kinser

Gordon Kirby

Oscar Koveleski

Tom Kristensen

Jim Kropfeld

Eddie Kuzma

Danny LaPorte

Dick Landy

Bruce Larson

Henry Lauterbach

Larry Lauterbach

Jungle Jim Liberman

"Duffy" Livingstone

Walter Lott

Leo Loudenslager

Forrest Lucas

Jim Luikens

Roy Lunn

Pete Lyons

Rob MacCachren

Dave MacDonald

Randy Mamola

Leon Mandel

Peter Manso

Frank Manzo

Mario Illien & Paul Morgan

Marc Marquez

Teddy Mayer

Larry McBride

Roy "Mac" McClain

Jack McCoy

Jim McElreath

Mary McGee

Corky McMillin

Larry McReynolds

Roger Mears

John Mecom Jr.

John Menard Jr.

Jim Miller

Ak Miller

Drino Miller

Bill Milliken

Jack Milne

Milt Minter

Juan Pablo Montoya

John Morton

Danny "Chocolate" Myers

Herb Nab

Paul Newman

P.L. Newman

Don Nichols

Jim Nicoll

Morris "Mo" Nunn

Kitty Linn O'Neil

Jan Opperman

Mark Oswald

Cotton Owens

Paul Page

Don Panoz

John Parker

Ron Pellegrini

Jack Penton

John Penton

Maurice Petty

Paul Pfanner

Vince Piggins

Art Pillsbury

Randy Pobst

Vasek Polak

Doug Polen

Chris Pook

George R. Poteet

Richie Powers

Dale Pulde

Larry Ragland

Fred Rahmer

Cal Rayborn

Reher-Morrison-Shepherd

Roger Reiman

Lance Reventlow

Steve Reyes

Willy T. Ribbs

Larry Rice

Tim Richmond

Jody Ridley

J.N. Roberts

Kenny Roberts Jr.

T. Wayne Robertson

Chip Robinson

"Sneaky Pete" Robinson

Larry Roeseler

Gene Romero

Dave Roper

Suzanne Royce

Ricky Rudd

Scott Russell

Bob Russo

Angelle Sampey

Joe Scalzo

Gary Scelzi

Billy "The Kid" Schumacher

Tony Schumacher

Gary Scott

Wendell Scott

Ralph Seagraves

Mike Seebold

Tim Seebold

Tricia Kisner Shaffer

Jon Sharp

Hap Sharp

Bob Sharp

Kirk Shelmerdine

Dean Sicking

Bruton Smith

Carroll Smith

Marty Smith

Speedy Bill Smith

Al Speyer

Ben Spies

Lyn St. James

Bob Stange

Jeff Stanton

Les Staudacher

Mike Stefanik

Charles D. Strang

Bill Stroppe

Don Sullivan

Summers Brothers

The Surfers

John Surtees

Sammy Swindell

Sammy Tanner

Mark Tate

Wayne Taylor

Al Teague

Charlie Terry

Richard Tharp

The Ramchargers

Chuck Thompson

Judy Thompson

Valerie Thompson

Danny Thompson

Rahn Tobler

Paul Tracy

Travers & Coon (Traco)

Merv Treichler

Elmer Trett

Jim Trueman

Alec Ulmann

Skip Van Leeuwen

Jimmy Vasser

John Vesco

Frank "Scoop" Vessels

Jacques Villeneuve

Dave Villwock

Judy Wagner

Patty Wagstaff

Phil Walters

Ron Watson

Kermit Weeks

Bill Werner

Dan Wheldon

Nolan White

Rex White

John Wiebe

Vic Wilson

Steve Wise

Doug Wolfgang

LeeRoy Yarbrough

Robert Yates

Jeana Yeager

Dave Zeuschel

Gil de Ferran

Josie van Neumann

ALSO IN THIS CLASS

Tony Adamowicz

Bob Akin

Alex Xydias & Dean Batchelor

Tyler Alexander

Jeb Allen

Reverend Richard Anderson

Frank Arciero

Jon Asher

Pat Austin

Roger Bailey

Max Balchowsky

Michael Baldwin

Earl Baltes

Skip Barber

Tom Beatty

Gary Beck

Dick Berggren

Gary Bettenhausen

Tom Bigelow

Thomas W. Binford

Pete Biro

Geoff Bodine

Bruce Boland

John R. Bond

Griffith Borgeson

Sebastien Bourdais

Gina Bovaird

Don Branson

Eric Broadley

Antron Brown

Ron Brown

John Buffum

William. R. "Bill" Burke

The Burklands

Larry Burton

Kurt Busch

Buddy Byers

Kevin Cameron

Paul Candies

Scotty Cannon

Steve Carbone

Russ Catlin

Eddie Cheever

Luigi Chinetti Sr.

Price Cobb

Austin Coil

Austin Coil

Russ Collins

Jessi Combs

John Cooper

Ray Cote

Buster Couch

Dale Coyne

Duff Daily

Robert Daley

Gian Paolo Dallara

Steve David

Donald Davidson

Grady Davis

Jim Deist

David Dewald

Larry Dickson

Scott Dixon

Scott Dixon

Downing & Hubbard

Miguel Duhamel

Jim Dunn

Lee Dykstra

Rob Dyson

Carl Edwards

Bud Ekins

Bud Ekins

Dave Ekins

Ray Elder

Jeff Emig

Richie Evans

Don Fairbanks

Red Farmer

Bud Feldkamp

Sal Fish

Herb Fishel

Ray Fox

Jim France

Frank Costin & Keith Duckworth (Cosworth)

Dave Friedman

Harry Gant

Michael Gaughan

Tom Gentry

Tony George

Joe Gibbs

Steve Gibbs

Hoot Gibson

Earl B. Gilmore

Bill "Maverick" Golden

Robby Gordon

Randy Goss

Granville Brothers

John Greenwood

Dick Guldstrand

Gene Haas

Carl Haas

Ted Halibrand

Rod Hall

Pete Halsmer

Tanis Hammond

Jeff Hammond

Jerry Hansen

Walt Hansgen

Trevor Harris

Brett Hearn

Pat Hemen

George Henley

Fran Hernandez

Bob Higbee

Tom Higgins

Steve Hinton

Takeo "Chickie" Hirashima

Bob Holbert

Tom Hoover

Jay Howell

Ralph Hudson

Jim Hunter

Jim Hurtubise

James Hylton

Jack Ingram

Dale Inman

Ernie Irvan

Bobby Isaac

Ed Iskenderian

Dale Jarrett

Jim Downing & Dr. Bob Hubbard

Alex Job

Jimmie Johnson

Jimmie Johnson

Bubby Jones

Ron Jones Sr.

Mike Joy

Karl Kainhofer

Scott Kalitta

Jim Kaser

Neil Keen

Matt Kenseth

Bill Kerchenfaut

Karl Kinser

Gordon Kirby

Oscar Koveleski

Tom Kristensen

Jim Kropfeld

Eddie Kuzma

Danny LaPorte

Dick Landy

Bruce Larson

Henry Lauterbach

Larry Lauterbach

Jungle Jim Liberman

"Duffy" Livingstone

Walter Lott

Leo Loudenslager

Forrest Lucas

Jim Luikens

Roy Lunn

Pete Lyons

Rob MacCachren

Dave MacDonald

Randy Mamola

Leon Mandel

Peter Manso

Frank Manzo

Mario Illien & Paul Morgan

Marc Marquez

Teddy Mayer

Larry McBride

Roy "Mac" McClain

Jack McCoy

Jim McElreath

Mary McGee

Corky McMillin

Larry McReynolds

Roger Mears

John Mecom Jr.

John Menard Jr.

Jim Miller

Ak Miller

Drino Miller

Bill Milliken

Jack Milne

Milt Minter

Juan Pablo Montoya

John Morton

Danny "Chocolate" Myers

Herb Nab

Paul Newman

P.L. Newman

Don Nichols

Jim Nicoll

Morris "Mo" Nunn

Kitty Linn O'Neil

Jan Opperman

Mark Oswald

Cotton Owens

Paul Page

Don Panoz

John Parker

Ron Pellegrini

Jack Penton

John Penton

Maurice Petty

Paul Pfanner

Vince Piggins

Art Pillsbury

Randy Pobst

Vasek Polak

Doug Polen

Chris Pook

George R. Poteet

Richie Powers

Dale Pulde

Larry Ragland

Fred Rahmer

Cal Rayborn

Reher-Morrison-Shepherd

Roger Reiman

Lance Reventlow

Steve Reyes

Willy T. Ribbs

Larry Rice

Tim Richmond

Jody Ridley

J.N. Roberts

Kenny Roberts Jr.

T. Wayne Robertson

Chip Robinson

"Sneaky Pete" Robinson

Larry Roeseler

Gene Romero

Dave Roper

Suzanne Royce

Ricky Rudd

Scott Russell

Bob Russo

Angelle Sampey

Joe Scalzo

Gary Scelzi

Billy "The Kid" Schumacher

Tony Schumacher

Gary Scott

Wendell Scott

Ralph Seagraves

Mike Seebold

Tim Seebold

Tricia Kisner Shaffer

Jon Sharp

Hap Sharp

Bob Sharp

Kirk Shelmerdine

Dean Sicking

Bruton Smith

Carroll Smith

Marty Smith

Speedy Bill Smith

Al Speyer

Ben Spies

Lyn St. James

Bob Stange

Jeff Stanton

Les Staudacher

Mike Stefanik

Charles D. Strang

Bill Stroppe

Don Sullivan

Summers Brothers

The Surfers

John Surtees

Sammy Swindell

Sammy Tanner

Mark Tate

Wayne Taylor

Al Teague

Charlie Terry

Richard Tharp

The Ramchargers

Chuck Thompson

Judy Thompson

Valerie Thompson

Danny Thompson

Rahn Tobler

Paul Tracy

Travers & Coon (Traco)

Merv Treichler

Elmer Trett

Jim Trueman

Alec Ulmann

Skip Van Leeuwen

Jimmy Vasser

John Vesco

Frank "Scoop" Vessels

Jacques Villeneuve

Dave Villwock

Judy Wagner

Patty Wagstaff

Phil Walters

Ron Watson

Kermit Weeks

Bill Werner

Dan Wheldon

Nolan White

Rex White

John Wiebe

Vic Wilson

Steve Wise

Doug Wolfgang

LeeRoy Yarbrough

Robert Yates

Jeana Yeager

Dave Zeuschel

Gil de Ferran

Josie van Neumann

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