James Hunt

Date of birth : August 29 1947

Deceased : June 15 1993

Biography James Hunt

‘Sex, the breakfast of champions’ was the quote on the T-shirt that James Hunt often wore under his driving suit. One could say that was typical for the British playboy James Hunt who was not only known for his escapades on the track. Hunt had a rather flamboyant life next to the race track too. Both when it came to booze and to women.

James Hunt was born August 29 1947 in London. He was the son of a stockbroker in a rather conservative family.  From his youth, the good looking Hunt was surrounded by women and that seemed to be a constant in his further life. At his 18th birthday, James Hunt visited a race at Silverstone, and immediately he knew he wanted to race too. Even more, from day 1 he told everybody he would be a World Champion.

His parents didn’t support his F1 aspirations, so James Hunt started doing all kinds of jobs to raise money to go after his race dream and to start a proper race career. His first self built race car was disqualified at scrutineering because the drivers seat was an old lawn chair.
Hunt found a benefactor in Lord Hesketh, a young English nobleman. The Hesketh team entered the Formula One ranks in 1973. James Hunt quickly built a reputation for speed and sometimes reckless driving. Because of his many accidents, his rrivals soon gave him the nickname “Hunt the shunt”.

In 1976, the dramatic year that Niki Lauda had his severe crash at the Nurburgring, James Hunt won the World Championship F1, fulfilling his life-long dream.  In a 1977 race, James Hunt even punched a race marshal in the face,  after the marshal approached Hunt to guide him to safety after he crashed.

In 1979 his intrest and motivation for racing were gone, and he retired to become a tv commentator for F1 races.
During his race career, one of the cars he used for daily driving was a Porsche 911 RS, that was bought by Lord Hesketh. The Porsche 911 RS was a substantial part of the renumeration of James Hunt. Furthermore, it was one of only 6 right-hand-drive Porsche 911 RS ever made.

At the age of 45, James Hunt died from a heart attack in his home in Wimbledon.

Some years ago, Ron Howard produced a great movie about the rivalry between James Hunt and Niki Lauda. Not only is is a great story, the images are just excellent. Every race enthusiast should have that one .

Rush : the rivalry between James Hunt and Niki Lauda