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A single F1 break



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Sam Posey


Surtees-Cosworth TS9


Watkins Glen


1971 United States GP


American Sam Posey is best known for his exploits in the North American Formula A series, the predecessor of F5000, and dearly would have loved to make a breakthrough into F1. He got just the one break, though, when he was allowed to take over the second Surtees entry by squarely outracing Gijs van Lennep (by three seconds!) at the American's home track of Watkins Glen - just after having narrowly missed out to David Hobbs in the Formula A championship.

Van Lennep had originally been asked by the sidelined Rolf Stommelen to take his place in the Auto Motor und Sport car but Surtees also entered Posey. Sam did extremely well to qualify the TS9 in 17th position but early on in the race the car suffered an engine failure. He was subsequently overlooked for 1972 and carried on in Formula A, coming second again, this time to Graham McRae's self-built McRae-Chevy, while two-timing in USAC, he finished a creditable 5th at Indianapolis. His Champcarr team fielded him again at the following US GP at the Glen, in a Surtees TS9B taken over from the works team, Posey again qualifying well up, 23rd out of the 31 taking the grid. Eventually he finished 12th, 2 laps down.

And that was it, really, as far as Posey's F1 career is concerned. In 1973, he briefly continued in Indycars before turning back to his old sportscar habits and becoming a Le Mans and GTU regular throughout the seventies. Sam Posey then began a successful follow-up career as a TV commentator.