Snapshot, 1960: John Surtees psyches himself up at the ’Ring

It’s May 1965, and the Nürburgring 1000 KM is just moments from starting. John Surtees takes this time to mentally prepare, absentmindedly adjusting his gloves as he focuses in on his faithful steed…

Already a motorcycle World Champion and F1 World Champion, John has not let these accomplishments go to his head, as evidenced by his steadfast determination at the Nürburgring this year. With co-pilot Ludovico Scarfiotti, John was able to make pole in his Ferrari 330 P2, which put him at the front of the grid for today’s race. After six hours and 53 minutes on track, Ludovico and John will take their place atop the podium. John will go on to have a difficult 1965 season, experiencing a near-fatal crash at the Mosport Circuit in Ontario, Canada, in September, but that won't stop him. After his Formula 1 career comes to an end — rather dramatically, as he quit the Ferrari team following a disagreement regarding the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans — he'll become active in the Can-Am series and eventually own his own racing team, the Surtees Racing Organization, which will be heavily active in not only Formula 1 but Formula 2 and Formula 5000 as well. After the tragic passing of his son Henry, John will establish the Henry Surtees Foundation to assist people with brain or physical injuries caused by accident and help young people develop their capabilities — a testament to his benevolent and compassionate nature. Racing will always be a part of John's life, with the next generation of motorsport fans being able to experience seeing John race at such historic events as Goodwood Revival.

The motorsport world, including everyone here at Classic Driver, was deeply saddened to hear of John’s passing last week, at the age of 83 — farewell and godspeed, Il Grande John.

Photo: Rainer W. Schlegelmilch / Getty Images

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