British Formula Two driver Henry Surtees dies after race accident

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Henry Surtees pushes out his Formula Renault car before a race last year

A spokesperson for the Royal London Hospital has confirmed that British racing driver Henry Surtees has died following an accident at the Brands Hatch circuit earlier today. He was eighteen.

Surtees was competing in the Formula Two championship when Jack Clarke's car spun off the track and into barriers ahead of him. A wheel and tyre detatched from Clarke's car and bounced across the track, striking Surtees on the head.

Surtees was apparently knocked unconscious as the car continued straight on at the next corner and struck the barriers at speed with no attempt to brake. After the car came to a standstill one of the rear wheels continued to spin as the car remained accelerating; there was no further movement due to massive damage from the barrier impact.

Surtees driving in a Formula Renault qualifying session

Surtees had only recently joined F2 at the start of the current season, having previously driven in the Formula Renault competition. Yesterday at Brands Hatch he celebrated his first podium in the series, earning third place.

Son of John Surtees, a race driver who has held the 1964 Formula One championship and won the motorcycle world championships several times, Henry started off racing go carts and moved on to cars in 2006, competing in a junior championship.

He went on to compete in the 2007 Formula BMW UK season, where he placed seventh overall. In that year he also contested in a limited number of Formula Renault races. In 2008 he was 12th in the Formula Renault championship but had better success in the Formula Renault Winter Series, where he had three podium finishes including one victory from four races. That year he also raced in the last races of the Formula Three season, where he earned another race win.

Both his father John and mother Jane were watching the race in which their son was killed.


Some information contained in this article was obtained from television, radio, or live webcast sources. Reporter's notes and the broadcast source details are available at the collaboration page.