S4365 ATS D4 No.9 French GP 1980 – Marc Surer
ATS team chef Günther Schmid needed a new driver for the season 1980. With his actual driver, the German Hans-Joachim Stuck, the moody team owner was not satisfied anymore.
So, Schmid was offering the Swiss guy Marc Surer in a typical way for him:” If I want to get rid of Stuck, it is not so easy. We are both Germans. So, you have to offer me something that I take you as Swiss.” Surer had a lot to offer: sponsorship money from the watch manufacturer Buler. Schmid made a contract of 500,000 $. Surer was signing, even if he had only the half of the money. The first two races Surer was doing in the old D3. In Kyalami it was the first time that the new D4 was available. But exactly in this race the today’s Sky commentator had a bad accident. At the end of the long straight the brakes were not working and Surer had both ankles broken. He was just back in the race car at the French GP, while the Dutch guy Jan Lammers in the second D4 kept the flag flying in the meantime. At Long Beach Lammers could manage to qualify as fourth. But Lammers was out already during the first round, because the transmission broke. Also Surer was without any chance after his return and ATS finished the season without any points, what was not helpful at all for Schmid’s mood. In Argentina, according to the transmitted story, it ended in a scandal. Schmid has prohibited his team to try a new front wing, because he found it “ugly” (voice over). As Schmid was arriving later at the race track, the mechanics mounted the new spoiler to the car. When Schmid was realizing the new front wing on the car, he was kicking the wing with the foot that it was damaged. Schmid himself was claiming later that the wing was bent in the training and he just wanted to make it straight again, but the fact is, that the ATS owner was always good for one story. It was the same for his “sponsor deal” with the Hotel Arawak Freeport from the Bahamas. Schmid was acquiring this hotel and believed strongly that he purchased one luxury resort. In truth it was a ramshackle hut that just costs him a lot of money at the end.