James Hunt's 1st race-winning Formula 1 car to be auctioned off

If you want a piece of F1 history
Feb 3, 2014

TopGear.com.ph Philippine Car News - James Hunt's first Formula 1-winning car to be auctioned off

If you saw Ron Howard's Formula 1 biopic Rush, you'd know that 1976 world champion James Hunt got his start in the sport driving for Hesketh Racing. Well, you can now buy a piece of that glamorous F1 history as Hunt's Hesketh 308 car is being auctioned off at RM Auctions' Monaco sale scheduled for May 10.

Although Hunt's first car at Hesketh Racing was the March 731 in 1973, the team knew that it had to create an all-new, bespoke car for him to contest the 1974 championship. With the help of well-known race engineer Harvey Postlethwaite, the aluminum-bodied Hesketh 308 was born.

According to RM Auctions, only four Hesketh 308 chassis were built, of which the car being offered for sale, chassis No. 308-1, is both the first and arguably the most significant. In its debut appearance at the 1974 Brands Hatch Race of Champions, Hunt put the car in pole position, only to retire on the fourth lap. Two weeks later, the car made its first Grand Prix start with Hunt running it up to fifth place only to retire again with a mechanical failure. At the International Trophy race in Silverstone, Hunt once again put the car on pole and, after a slow start, claimed the car's first victory. The chassis was taken to nearly all Formula 1 rounds during the 1974 season, serving as either the race car or the team's spare car.

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Chassis 308-01 remained in service with Hesketh Racing into the 1975 season, in which Hunt claimed his very first F1 victory at the Dutch Grand Prix. Sadly, it proved to be less promising than expected for Hesketh Racing, and at the end of that year, with no sponsorship money coming into the team, owner Lord Hesketh pulled the plug on his F1 ambitions. This pushed Hunt into joining McLaren, where he went on to win the 1976 world championship, beating the badly burnt Nikki Lauda to the trophy as chronicled in the movie.

So, if you want to bid on this piece of history, RM Auctions estimates that the car could fetch anywhere from€400,000 (P24.5 million) to €650,000 (P39.8 million). Any takers?

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