32. Surtees TS19 1976

S4007 Surtees TS19 No.18 British GP 1976 – Brett Lunger

By a whisker, John Surtees had to close his racing team at the end of 1975. He could just make one out of the last four GP in the season – for want of money. But tumbler Surtees somehow managed to construct a new car for the season 1976: the TS19. At the presentation around Christmas, the car had still been white – and Surtees unsure for the future. Surtees paid 20.000 Pounds out of his own pocket for the car and said: “If I cannot find a sponsor, I will hang up the car at my home.” But “Big John” could find a sponsor. It was sure, Surtees didn’t have to move some furniture for placing the car in his house. But the donor was not usual in the business. Hardly nobody could expect the condom producer Durex. It was understandable, that Surtees received some nasty comments in this regard from time to time. All in all the solution for Surtees was exactly like an English magazine stated at that time: Durex brings protection. The draft for the second-last Surtees was done by the company owner himself. For the detail work he hired Ken Sears.

A lot of fantasy was necessary to find out from who the ideas came. The TS19 was a copy of the Brabham BT44. The precipitous side boxes were presented for the first time by Brabham in the years 1974 and ’75. Surtees copied it 1/1 – with radiators on both sides in front of the front wheels. But the Surtees didn’t have the same success as the Brabham, even if there are not far apart. Alan Jones managed to obtain one time a fourth and two times a fifth position with the Durex-coloured car, but it only lasts for a fifteenth position in the championship. His teammate Brett Lunger did not score any point.

The American had to bring his own sponsor. The cigarette company Chesterfield that supported Lunger also with March and McLaren later on, helped out. Lunger is famously known for his race at the Nürburgring where he was driving exceptionally with Campari decoration. The former Vietnam veteran was one of the drivers who helped Niki Lauda to get out of his burning cockpit. Lunger and the further helpers (Arturo Merzario and Harald Ertl) got a golden medal of merit at the next GP in Austria.


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