DRIVERS: MARC SURER

Name: Marc Surer
Nationality: Switzerland
Date of birth: September 18, 1951 - Aresdorf

Racing was banned in Switzerland in 1955 following the disaster at Le Mans which claimed over 80 lives. It was therefore difficult for young Swiss drivers to make much of an impact in the 1970s but that did not stop Marc Surer. He started karting in 1972 and two years later raced to second place in the German Formula Vee Championship. In 1975 he moved on to European Formula Vee, did well and earned himself a drive in European Formula 3 in 1976. This led to him being recruited by Jochen Neerpasch to be a member of the BMW Junior Team, alongside Eddie Cheever and Manfred Winkelhock, racing initially in Group 5 touring cars and then in European Formula 2. He finished runner-up to Bruno Giacomelli in the European Championship in 1978 but then won the 1979 title in dominant fashion.

He made his Formula 1 debut for Ensign at the end of the 1979 season, then broke his ankles when he crashed an ATS at Kyalami the following spring while testing for the South African Grand Prix. He started 1981 by driving for Ensign and coming fourth in the Brazilian Grand Prix, but then suffered more leg injuries when he crashed - again at Kyalami. It was a tough blow but Surer fought back again and drove for Arrows from 1982 until the end of 1984.

He was hired to drive for the Brabham-BMW squad in 1985. That year he also won the Spa 24 Hours, sharing a Schnitzer BMW 635CSi with Gerhard Berger and Roberto Ravaglia. In 1986 he was transferred back to Arrows but his professional racing career ended soon afterwards when he crashed his own Ford RS200 on the Hessen Rally in Germany. The accident cost the life of his co-driver and Surer suffered terrible injuries and burns.

In 1988 however BMW took him on to be an instructor in its driver training programme and he started his career as a TV commentator with the DRS channel in Switzerland. In 1991 he was appointed head of BMW Motorsport and in 1994 and 1995 Johnny Cecotto and Jo Winkelhock won the German Super Touring Car Championship for BMW. In 1996 he began commentating for the German TV station DF1 and in 1997 became the host of his own programme on Swiss TV. He remains a TV presenter and racing school instructor.

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