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Marc Surer

18th September 1951 (Age 69)
Aresdorf, Basel Canton
Most recent race (in database):

Growing up with a passion for motor racing in a country in which it is banned cannot have been easy. But Marc Surer raced karts from 1972 before graduating to Super Vee and F3 in Germany. 1976 runner-up in the latter series behind Bertram Schäfer, he joined BMW’s junior driver programme in 1977 and made his Formula 2 debut with Hohmann Auto Technik’s March 762-BMW.

He was also a member of the BMW Junior Team (with Eddie Cheever and Manfred Winkelhock) in that year’s 2000cc division of the German Racing Championship. Surer proved wild for he was suspended for a couple of months after crashing into Hans Heyer’s Zakspeed Ford at the Norisring.

Formula 2 success for March-BMW

Undeterred, BMW promoted him to the works March F2 team for 1978 and he replaced the previous impetuosity with a calm and measured approach. He finished second on six occasions and was runner-up in the championship behind dominant team-mate Bruno Giacomelli.

Now leading the March-BMW team, Surer began 1979 as F2 pre-season favourite. Although he scored breakthrough victories at the Nürburgring and Vallelunga, the new March 792-BMW was a troublesome car and Surer struggled to impose himself on the championship. However, he snatched the title from Toleman’s Brian Henton at the final round.

Formula 1 with Ensign, ATS and Theodore

He joined Ensign at the 1979 Italian Grand Prix but failed to qualify twice before making his debut in the final round at Watkins Glen. A full season with ATS was planned for 1980 but he broke both ankles practising in South Africa. He returned at the French GP but much needed career momentum had been lost.

Back with Ensign in 1981, he impressed in Brazil by finishing in a fine fourth position and setting the fastest lap of the race. Sixth at Monaco, Surer spent the rest of the year driving Teddy Yip’s Theodore TY01-Ford.

Three seasons with Arrows

He moved to Arrows for 1982 but his debut was delayed when he injured his legs in another South African testing accident. He was an occasional points scorer during his three seasons with the Milton Keynes-based team but his Formula 1 fortunes were on the wane.

Brabham and return to Arrows

Surer switched to sports cars in 1985 with a Kremer Porsche 962 and won the Monza 1000Kms. That season also included victory in the Spa 24 Hours (sharing a Schnitzer BMW 635 CSi with Gerhard Berger and Roberto Ravaglia) and his best F1 opportunity to date. He replaced the inexperienced François Hesnault in the second Brabham BT54-BMW from the Canadian GP and showed occasional flashes of his early-career potential. Fourth at Monza, he ran second in the European GP at Brands Hatch before retiring and finished a career-best 13th in the championship. That was enough to re-establish his F1 credentials and Surer rejoined Arrows in 1986.

Rallying accident and subsequent career

He also competed in Group B rallies at the time but his semi-works Ford RS200 crashed at high-speed during that year’s Hessen Rally in Germany. His co-driver Michael Wyder was killed and the severely burnt Surer was in a coma for three weeks.

Those injuries left Surer scarred for life and he did not race again. However, he managed BMW’s competition department for a time and has forged a career as a respected television commentator in Germany and Switzerland.

Championship seasons

Season Name Starts Poles Podiums Wins Position Points
1986 F1 World Championship
Barclay Arrows BMW
5 0 0 0
0% win rate
1985 F1 World Championship
Motor Racing Developments
12 0 0 0
0% win rate
13th 5
1985 World Endurance Championship
Porsche Kremer Racing
6 0 2 1 9th 45
1985 European Touring Car Championship
Schnitzer Motorsport
1 0 1 1 29
1984 F1 World Championship
Barclay Nordica Arrows BMW
15 (1) 0 0 0
0% win rate
20th 1
1984 World Endurance Championship
Porsche Kremer Racing
1 0 0 0 50th 8
1983 F1 World Championship
Arrows Racing Team
15 0 0 0
0% win rate
15th 4
1982 F1 World Championship
Arrows Racing Team
12 0 0 0
0% win rate
20th 3
1982 World Endurance Championship
Ford Motor Company
4 1 0 0 55th 8
1981 F1 World Championship
Theodore Racing Team
Ensign Racing
12 (2) 0 0 0
0% win rate
16th 4
1981 European F2 Championship
Marcus Hotz Racing
2 0 0 0
0% win rate
1981 World Endurance Championship
BMW North America
Sauber Racing Switzerland
6 0 0 0 89th 26.5
1980 F1 World Championship
Team ATS
9 (2) 0 0 0
0% win rate
1980 BMW M1 Procar
Sauber Racing Switzerland
BMW Schweiz
6 2 2 0
0% win rate
8th 37
1979 F1 World Championship
Team Ensign
1 (2) 0 0 0
0% win rate
1979 European F2 Championship
Polifac BMW Junior Team
11 (1) 2 6 2
19% win rate
1st 38
1979 BMW M1 Procar
BMW Schweiz
5 0 0 0
0% win rate
11th 23
1978 European F2 Championship
Polifac BMW Junior Team
12 1 9 0
0% win rate
2nd 48 (51)
1978 World Championship of Makes
BMW Schweiz
3 0 0 0 14
1977 European F2 Championship
Hohmann Auto Technik
March Engineering
8 0 0 0
0% win rate
13th 5
1977 World Championship of Makes
BMW Motorsport
2 0 2 0 24
1976 European F2 Championship
Hohmann Racing
0 (1) 0 0 0 0
1976 European F3 Championship
KWS Autotechnik
7 (1) 0 1 0
0% win rate
5th 13
1976 German F3 Championship 2nd 77
1975 German F3 Championship 11th 32