Surtees TS7 car-by-car histories
The Surtees TS7 proved an effective starting point for the new F1 team, and John Surtees scored a famous victory in the car at the Oulton Park Gold Cup in August 1970.
Team Surtees moved into Formula 1 in 1970, John Surtees having left the BRM team after an unhappy season. While the team worked on designing and building a first Surtees F1 car, the McLaren M7C was acquired as an interim car, and rebuilt with new fuel tanks for the first half of the season. Mechanics for the new operation were Bill Grainger and Roger Flynn.
The Surtees TS7 was launched in July and had its first race at the British GP. The tub was slightly wedged shaped, and kept low at the front by angling the main nose radiator forward until it was almost horizontal, venting over the top through the “nostrils” popularised in 1968. Suspension followed the basic principles laid out by Len Terry in the Surtees TS5, with inboard springs at the front, and outboard at the back. With the monocoque ending behind the driver and the engine and gearbox carrying the loads, the upper radius arm unusually bolted directly to the cam cover. John Surtees regarded himself as the designer of the TS7, having specified the general layout of the car, but his draughtsmen Peter Connew and Shahab Ahmed deserved a share of the credit. The car was effectively an evolution of Terry's TS5, with Trevor Taylor's works TS5 having acted as a testbed for the F1 car. In an interview when the car was launched, Surtees failed to name check either Connew or Ahmed, referring to them as "our two draughtsmen", and mentioned Terry only in the context of the TS5 having had to be "virtually entirely redesigned". The car therefore followed the lineage from Terry's first full monocoque, the Lotus 38, with rocker arm front suspension and outboard rear suspension, but was significantly more angular, with a broad, flat nose housing a large but steeply angled water radiator. The car was powered by the standard elements of Cosworth DFV engine and Hewland DG300 gearbox.
Surtees qualified his new car 19th on the grid on its debut, but had progressed up to seventh place by the time the engine failed. He qualified mid-grid for the next two races and again retired with engine trouble, but the won the Oulton Park Gold Cup in August despite the presence of Jochen Rindt in the Lotus 72 and Jackie Stewart’s brand new Tyrrell 001. A second TS7 was then built and Surtees scored the new marque’s first points with fifth place in Canada. Derek Bell joined the team and both TS7s were raced at the US Grand Prix.
(18 Jul 1970)
(4 Oct 1970)
New TS9s were built for 1971, but Surtees fielded three cars at the South African GP at the start of 1971, where Rolf Stommelen drove a TS7 with Eifelland sponsorship and Brian Redman drove the second TS7. The newer of the TS7s was then sold to Gregg Young to race in F1 specification in the SCCA Formula A series while the prototype was retained as a spare car. Surtees retained that TS7, his first F1 car, but the fate of the Gregg Young car remains a mystery.
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