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Famous Like Me > Racing driver > H > James Hunt

Profile of James Hunt on Famous Like Me

Name: James Hunt  
Also Know As:
Date of Birth: 15th June 1947
Place of Birth: Belmont
Profession: Racing driver
From Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia
For the United States politician, see Jim Hunt.
James Hunt
Nationality English
Active years 1973 - 1979
Team(s) Hesketh, McLaren, Wolf
Race starts 93
Championships 1
Wins 10
Podium finishes 23
Pole positions 14
Fastest laps 8
First Grand Prix 1973 Monaco Grand Prix
First win 1975 Dutch Grand Prix
Last win 1977 Japanese Grand Prix
Last Grand Prix 1979 Monaco Grand Prix

James Simon Wallis Hunt (29 August 1947 – 15 June 1993) was a British racing driver and Formula 1 world champion and subsequently a commentator.

The son of a successful stockbroker, James Hunt was born in Belmont and 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 Hunt was instantly hooked.

Starting off by building his own racing Mini, and then graduating to Formula Ford and Formula Three, Hunt 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 could not 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. He 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 James suffered a puncture, but just managed to splash back to third, enough for him to win the World Championship by just a single point.

The following season started unlucky for Hunt, although he eventually won three GPs and placed well in the Championship. However, in 1978 he hardly scored any points, and then moved to Wolf for what would be his last Formula One season. On that season, Hunt was the man who heroically rescued Ronnie Peterson after the latter had crashed into the barriers of Monza track and his Lotus had burst in flames, but the Swede died one day later because of an embolism.

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 at his home in Wimbledon. In recent years he had started to drink less and exercise more, but the damage of his wild lifestyle of the past had been done.

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.

This content from Wikipedia is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article James Hunt