James Simon Wallis Hunt (August 29, 1943 in Belmont nr Sutton, Surrey, England, United Kingdom – June 15, 1993 in Wimbledon, London, England, United Kingdom) was a British racing driver who competed in Formula One, becoming World Champion in 1976, beating Niki Lauda.
Hunt earned the nickname "Hunt the Shunt" for his on-track exploits. This on-track persona did not stay on track; Hunt was a playboy, sleeping with over 5000 women, and often consumed alcohol and drugs.
Hunt started in touring car racing, and eventually progressed into Formula 3. In 1973, he joined up with Lord Hesketh, and drove for the Hesketh team until he signed to drive for McLaren in 1976, his strong performances for Hesketh, including one win, marking him out as an ideal signing after Emerson Fittipaldi's late exit from the team. Hunt went on to won the championship, but by a very small margin after old roommate Niki Lauda's horrendous accident. Hunt never actually lead the championship until the final race. He was the only person to do this until Sebastian Vettel in 2010. For 1979, Hunt joined the Wolf team, but the car was uncompetitive and Hunt retired mid-season.
After retirement, he was signed up by the BBC to act as co-commentator to Murray Walker, whom Hunt was nearly an opposite to. Hunt continued in this role until his death in 1993 from a heart attack at the age of 45.
Formula One CareerEdit
Before Formula OneEdit
Racing for Lord Hesketh in Formula Two, the team was failing. Hunt wished to join his rival Niki Lauda in Formula One, but Lord Hesketh was low on funds. Nevertheless, Hesketh announced the creation of the Hesketh team for the 1973 season. The team would not become a registered constructor until the 1974 season and would only enter a single driver. The team was criticized for joining Formula One for the glamor rather than the racing. This criticism would not stop the team from being more competitive than the March works team, from which they purchased their chassis.
Both Hunt and the Hesketh team made their Formula One debut in the 1973 Monaco Grand Prix, just before the half way point in the season. Starting 18th on the grid, Hunt would later retire from the race because of an engine issue. Taking a one race break and skipping the 1973 Swedish Grand Prix, Hunt would earn his first career point in France after beating Arturo Merzario of Ferrari for a sixth place finish. In his home Grand Prix, he would again prove his competitiveness by setting the fastest lap and finishing just missing the podium by 0.4 seconds. This fourth place finish would earn him another three points, but these would not be has last of the season.
At the following race in the Netherlands, Hunt would finish on the bottom step of the podium. Although this was a happy day for Hunt, it would be a somber celebration after the drivers are told about the Roger Williamson who had died in a flaming crash on the seventh lap. Hunt would get to experience the podium once more in the season. At the United States Grand Prix, Hunt would finish just over 0.6 seconds behind Ronnie Peterson and earn the second step on the podium. Again the celebrations would be sad, as the drivers mourn the loss of François Cevert in a qualifying accident.
This was for sure a sad end to the season. Hunt had earned fourteen points throughout the season, despite only entering in half of the races on the season's calendar. This spectacular performance earned him eighth place in the World Drivers' Championship and the Campbell Trophy from the Royal Automobile Club. This trophy was awarded to the best British racing driver.
Formula One Statistical OverviewEdit
Formula One RecordEdit
|Year||Entrant||Team||WDC Points||WDC Pos.||Report|
|1973||Hesketh Racing||March-Ford Cosworth||14||8th||Report|
|1974||Hesketh Racing||March-Ford Cosworth||15||8th||Report|
|1975||Hesketh Racing||Hesketh-Ford Cosworth||33||4th||Report|
|1976||Marlboro Team McLaren||McLaren-Ford Cosworth||69||1st||Report|
|1977||Marlboro Team McLaren||McLaren-Ford Cosworth||40||5th||Report|
|1978||Marlboro Team McLaren||McLaren-Ford Cosworth||8||13th||Report|
|1979||Olympus Cameras Wolf Racing||Wolf-Ford Cosworth||0||NC||Report|
|Front Row Starts||24|
|Distance Raced||18913.353 km|
|Distance Led||3363.293 km|
|Complete Formula One results|
|3rd||DNQ||Did not qualify|
|5th||Points finish||DNPQ||Did not pre-qualify|
|14th||Non-points finish||TD||Test driver|
|NC||Non-classified finish (<90% race distance)||DNS||Did not start|
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