Happy Birthday James - we all know that you would celebrate the occasion

Born in Belmont (UK) on 29 August 1947, James Hunt would have been 72 today had he not succumbed to a heart attack back in 1993... and we all know that he would celebrate the occasion with a champagne-flowing party packed with beautiful people.

Rightfully so, much has been made of the playboy Englishman's triumph over Niki Lauda in that unforgettable 1976 Formula 1 World Championship season. The excellent movie "rush" gave a brief glimpse into his life behind the scenes.

It is no secret that James, like many of his peers at the time, was not exactly loaded with money and scrapped his way in the minor leagues.

But the Englishman's unique character and movie star look caught the eye of motor racing aficionado Lord Alexander Hesketh who att the age of 23 and a small fortune at his disposal.

The young maverick peer lived by the motto: "A lot of people want to make a lot of money to store it away. I want to make a lot of money to spend it. I like spending to create something which is entirely my own and this is why I have the racing team."

This was exactly what James needed at a very low point in his career which had always been hampered by lack of big budget. With fun-loving but remarkably serious Lord Hesketh, the 26-year-old driver was thrust into the Formula 1 limelight where, history shows, he remained for a half dozen years.

He was always thankful that survived the sport's most dangerous era. Eleven drivers perished in F1 alone during the decade Hunt was in and around the top flight. Famously, he won the F1 drivers' title in 1976.

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Welcome to the official James Hunt website!

Welcome to the official James Hunt website!

Here we honour the legacy of a motor racing great - James Hunt - the 1976 Formula 1 World Champion - who defied the odds, rocked the establishment to thrust our sport into the global limelight.

This site aims to be the definitive source of information about James's on-and-off track exploits, adventures and achievements. We will produce and collate flashback reports, interviews, historic photos, memorabilia and related news on an ongoing basis.

So strap yourself in, enjoy the ride and check in regularly!

James Hunt best friend Oscar / stories

James Hunt's Best Friend

In the later years, Hunt was devoted to a very special partner.

James Hunt was Formula 1's first (and only?) real rockstar, fantastic in a race car and, despite being a legendary ladies man,  his best friend was actually his beloved German Shephard named Oscar.

Oscar would often be at the side of James as he went about his regular runs along Marbella's beautiful Costa del Sol beaches, near where he lived several years after he hung up his helmet

According to John Richardson, James' relationship with his pet partner "seemed far closer than any human relationship he ever had. He was completely devoted to that dog." Best friends in other words.

Oscar became a legend in his own right, as he was known to accompany the British race driver to dine at restaurants in London's west end.

On one such occasion, Oscar and James famously caught the attention of restaurant patrons when they shared a dish of spinach soufflé, entrecôte de veau and cassis sorbet when the pair dined at Langan's Brassérie in Mayfair.

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Looking back on James Hunt's Formula 1 cars.

James Hunt drove some of the most iconic cars in Formula 1 history, winning a race with the Hesketh Racing team before adding another nine more victories with McLaren driving their legendary cars before his final half-season with Wolf Racing.

James Hunt drove some of the most iconic cars in Formula 1 history, winning a race with the Hesketh Racing team before adding another nine more victories with McLaren driving their legendary cars before his final half-season with Wolf Racing.

James began his racing in a Mini, progressing in 1968 to Formula Ford where he drove a Russell-Alexis Mk14 before graduating to Formula 3 in a Meryln Mk11A. In his 1972 Formula 2 debut, he finished third as a works March driver.

The Formula 1 break finally came a year later when Lord Alexander Hesketh (aka third Baron Hesketh) fielded James in the non-championship 1973 Race of Champions at Brands Hatch at the wheel of a Surtees TS9 in which he qualified 13th in a field of 29 cars, with many of the top F1 teams present.

In a tough race of attrition, James survived the incidents to claim a famous third place in his first F1 race.

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James Hunt vs. Niki Lauda: How a rivalry became friendship

Hunt and Lauda were friends off the track, but on it, they maintained an intense, but clean and disputed rivalry which turned into a close friendship.

Formula 1 has had some great rivalries throughout its 69-year history. Schumacher and Häkkinen, Senna v Prost, Hamilton v Rosberg; and of course, the legendary battle between Niki Lauda and James Hunt.

A relationship that stretched back to their days trekking around Europe in Formula Three, Lauda and Hunt were friends off-track while maintaining an intense, but clean rivalry on it.

Two titans of the sport who had extremely different approaches to their craft, Lauda was known for being calculatingly-precise and technical both on and off the track, preferring to improve his cars personally and always trying to be at his best to drive.

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