James Hunt

From Academic Kids

For the United States politician, see Jim Hunt.

Template:Former F1 driver

James Simon Wallis Hunt (born 29 August 1947 in Belmont, Surrey, England) was a British racing driver and Formula 1 world champion.

The son of a successful stockbroker, Hunt was educated at Wellington College in Berkshire, and originally studied to be a doctor. But just before his 18th birthday, he was taken by a friend to see a motor race, and James was instantly hooked.

Starting off by building his own racing Mini, and then graduating to Formula Ford and Formula Three, James was noticed as a fast and spectacular driver, but one prone to having lots of spectacular accidents, hence his well earned nickname of 'Hunt The Shunt.'

Hunt debuted in Formula One with the colourful Hesketh team in 1973, scoring several remarkable results, including a second place at the US Grand Prix. His first win came in 1975, in the Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort. He finished 4th in the championship that year, but Lord Alexander Hesketh had run out of funds and couldn't find a sponsor for his maverick team. With little time left before the 1976 season, Hunt was desperately looking for a drive until Emerson Fittipaldi left McLaren and joined his brother's Copersucar outfit. The McLaren management wasted no time and signed Hunt with McLaren for the next season.

1976 was Hunt's top year, as he won six Grand Prix. It was an incredibly turbulent season. James was disqualified and later reinstated as the winner of the Spanish Grand Prix for supposedly driving a McLaren that was 1.8cm too wide. A seventh win at the British Grand Prix was disallowed after a row over an accident at the first corner that Hunt had got involved in. At the Italian Grand Prix, the Texaco fuel that McLaren used was tested and although legal, the Italian scruitineers deemed the fuel to be illegal and Hunt was forced to start at the back of the grid.

Niki Lauda's near-fatal accident allowed Hunt to cut the Austrian's points lead and as they went to the final round in Japan Hunt was just 3 points behind. The Japanese Grand Prix was torrentially wet, and Lauda refused to race, saying the conditions were too dangerous. After leading most of the race had a puncture, but just managed to splash back to third, enough for him to win the World Championship by just 1 point.

The following season started unlucky for Hunt, although he eventually won three GPs and placed well in the Championship. But in 1978, he hardly scored any points, and then moved to Wolf for what would be his last Formula One season.

Hunt later became an outspoken and entertaining TV commentator for the BBC alongside Murray Walker, and died at the age of 45 of a heart attack.

Hunt was notorious for his rough behaviour on and off the track. He was thus a relic in the increasingly formal racing world, not unlike Eddie Irvine in the 1990s.

External links

it:James Hunt nl:James Hunt sv:James Hunt


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