Formula One: Surtees drives through Channel Tunnel

Motor sport great John Surtees had to keep the speed down for his latest challenge as he became the first person to drive a sports car through the Channel Tunnel on Tuesday.

Surtees, the only man to win world championships on two and four wheels, swept through the service tunnel in a Ginetta G50 EV electronic sports car prototype 15 years after the British-French rail link opened.

Despite having claimed multiple 500cc motorcycle world championships before winning the Formula One crown with Ferrari in 1964, the 75-year-old Englishman had to keep to the tunnel's 50 kph (31mph) speed limit.

"Speed was the last thing involved. It was a casual drive, shall we say," Surtees said when he emerged the other side at Coquelles in France.

Asked how it felt to drive through a 31-mile tunnel, he added: "You certainly wouldn't want to be subject to any claustrophobic feelings down there.

"The tunnel is very small in parts but it's amazing what a tremendous engineering feat it is. It's quite staggering."

Surtees, who performed the stunt as part of a charity drive, said he did not know how long it took to make the crossing as he kept stopping to look at the tunnel along the way - even at one point signing his name on the wall.

The veteran driver also paid tribute to his teenage son who died during a Formula Two race in July, saying he and his family were touched by the support they had received since losing him.

Henry Surtees, 18, died after being struck on the head by a wheel during a race at Brands Hatch, the day after claiming his first F2 podium finish.

"He was a bubbly young man with a tremendous smile. He was a lad who cared about people and was very determined in what he did, and someone who to us was very special," Surtees said.

ar/jdg/pi09

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel Receptionist, Bar and Waiter / Waitress & Housekeeping

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: The positions above are available either part ...

    Guru Careers: Fitness Centre Supervisor / Duty Manager

    £25K: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Fitness Centre Supervisor / Duty Manager ...

    Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

    £24000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Museum is dedicated to exp...

    Recruitment Genius: Duty Manager

    £20600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Museum is dedicated to exploring th...

    Day In a Page

    Solved after 200 years: the mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army

    Solved after 200 years

    The mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army
    Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise

    Robert Fisk on the Turkey conflict

    Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise
    Investigation into wreck of unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden

    Sunken sub

    Investigation underway into wreck of an unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden
    Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes

    Age of the selfie

    Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes
    Not so square: How BBC's Bloomsbury saga is sexing up the period drama

    Not so square

    How Virginia Woolf saga is sexing up the BBC period drama
    Rio Olympics 2016: The seven teenagers still carrying a torch for our Games hopes

    Still carrying the torch

    The seven teenagers given our Olympic hopes
    The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis, but history suggests otherwise

    The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis...

    ...but history suggests otherwise
    The bald truth: How one author's thinning hair made him a Wayne Rooney sympathiser

    The bald truth

    How thinning hair made me a Wayne Rooney sympathiser
    Froome wins second Tour de France after triumphant ride into Paris with Team Sky

    Tour de France 2015

    Froome rides into Paris to win historic second Tour
    Fifteen years ago, Concorde crashed, and a dream died. Today, the desire to travel faster than the speed of sound is growing once again

    A new beginning for supersonic flight?

    Concorde's successors are in the works 15 years on from the Paris crash
    I would never quit Labour, says Liz Kendall

    I would never quit party, says Liz Kendall

    Latest on the Labour leadership contest
    Froome seals second Tour de France victory

    Never mind Pinot, it’s bubbly for Froome

    Second Tour de France victory all but sealed
    Oh really? How the 'lowest form of wit' makes people brighter and more creative

    The uses of sarcasm

    'Lowest form of wit' actually makes people brighter and more creative
    A magazine editor with no vanity, and lots of flair

    No vanity, but lots of flair

    A tribute to the magazine editor Ingrid Sischy
    Foraging: How the British rediscovered their taste for chasing after wild food

    In praise of foraging

    How the British rediscovered their taste for wild food