27 Facts About James Hunt You Should Know

James Hunt was a British F1 driver who competed in the sport from 1973 to 1979. He is best known for winning the 1976 Formula One World Championship for the McLaren team, later recreated in the movie Rush

Hunt was famous for his charismatic personality and lifestyle, unique to F1 drivers of the time period. We take a look at some more interesting facts about James Hunt below.

James Hunt's number 11 McLaren M23 being driven on track in Madrid, Facts About James Hunt You Should Know

1. When Was James Hunt Born?

James Hunt was born on August 29th, 1947. James was born in the London neighborhood of Belmont, located in the borough of Sutton. James was part of a family of 2 sisters and 3 brothers.

2. Where Did James Hunt Go To School?

James Hunt attended Westerleigh school in Hastings, East Sussex, from 1955. At the age of 13, he moved to study at Wellington College in Crowthorne, Berkshire, where he went to boarding school. James excelled in sports such as tennis and squash during his school years.

3. What Was James Hunt’s Racing Number?

James Hunt most frequently raced with the number 11 on his F1 car. The number was initially assigned to him by the FIA, but James won the 1976 championship using this number which caused it to become synonymous with his legacy in the sport.

4. James Hunt Height & Weight

James Hunt was approximately 6’ 1” (185 centimeters). This is relatively tall for a Formula 1 driver, but the cars’ cockpits were much more open back then, allowing for taller drivers. James weighed around 75 kilograms (165 lbs), which is an average weight for Formula 1 drivers.

5. Was James Hunt Left Handed?

James Hunt was right handed. He would always sign autographs using his right hand, and he was never seen using his left hand to write. 

6. How Many Languages Did James Hunt Speak?

It’s unclear how many languages James Hunt spoke. However, as a Brit, he was fluent in English and may have been proficient in other languages, but this has not been confirmed.

7. When Did James Hunt Start Racing?

James Hunt started his racing career with Mini Coopers in the UK. In 1968 he moved onto Formula Ford and started his single seater racing career. Following some success in the junior series, in 1969 he moved on to the bigger and faster cars offered by Formula 3.

8. When Did James Hunt Join F1?

James Hunt made his Formula 1 debut in 1973. Hesketh purchased a Formula 1 chassis and entered into the sport, but they were not taken seriously by their rivals. The team proved to be fast though, and scored a second place finish at the US Grand Prix.

9. What Teams Did James Hunt Race For?

James Hunt drove for three teams throughout the course of his Formula 1 career. He started off with Hesketh, where he was reasonably fast and successful, including getting his first victory in 1975. He joined McLaren in 1976 where he won the championship. He ended his career with Walter Wolf Racing in 1979.

10. Did James Hunt Drive For Ferrari?

Ferrari did offer James Hunt a race seat in 1979, but the Brit chose to race for Walter Wolf Racing instead. The latter team was similar to his Hesketh days, with a single car running in the team, and James preferred this over the ever-political Italian team.

11. Was James Hunt A Good Driver?

James Hunt was an excellent racing driver. James was one of the best F1 drivers in the history of the sport in terms of ability and raw pace. Although he lacked in areas such as discipline and fitness, James was fearless and had an incredible natural talent when it came to driving a car as fast as possible.

12. How Many Seasons Did James Hunt Race?

James Hunt only raced in Formula One for 7 seasons. He entered the sport in 1973 and retired after the 1979 season. His final season with Walter Wolf Racing was riddled with problems including car reliability and poor performance, which ultimately made him fall out of love with the sport.

13. Did James Hunt Win In Monaco?

James Hunt did not win the Monaco Grand Prix. Monaco is considered to be one of the most challenging circuits on the F1 calendar, even when the cars were smaller and nimbler. James suffered a lot of back luck with reliability at Monaco throughout his career, retiring in 6 out of 7 races.

14. How Many Races Did James Hunt Win?

James Hunt won 10 races in total throughout his Formula 1 career. Nine of his victories came with McLaren, while one of them came with Hesketh in 1975, which was also his first ever Grand Prix victory. His final race win was at the 1977 Japanese Grand Prix.

15. How Many Championships Did James Hunt Win?

James Hunt only won 1 championship during his career in Formula 1. Despite being an incredibly fast driver, he had several obstacles in his way during his career. He was less focused than other drivers such as Niki Lauda, and he often struggled with reliability issues and controversy during his career.

16. What Was James Hunt’s Salary?

There is very little information out there about James Hunt’s salary. It’s worth noting that the salaries earned by F1 drivers in the 1970s were much lower than they are today, but drivers still made money through sponsorships.

17. How Much Did James Hunt Earn In 1976?

There is very little information about how much James Hunt earned during his most famous season. He has been quoted as being happy to “earn $20,000” after his British Grand Prix win. Aside from winnings, James would have earned a salary from McLaren and other sponsorship earnings too.

18. How Much Was James Hunt Worth?

James Hunt’s net worth had not been publicly released at the time of his death in 1993. However, it has been estimated that his total net worth was around $40 million. This would have been amassed through his time in Formula 1, his career as a commentator, and other sponsorship deals.

19. How Did James Hunt Die?

James Hunt died on the 15th of June, 1993, at the age of 45. He suffered a heart attack and passed away in London, England. James is remembered as one of the greatest drivers of his generation, and his death came as a shock to the entire racing community.

20. How Did James Hunt Lose His Money?

James Hunt had earned a lot of money during his racing career, but at the time of his death it was reported that he was in some financial trouble. This is due to some poor investments and bad business deals, reportedly including the Lloyd’s of London’s financial losses.

21. Was James Hunt The Best F1 Driver?

James Hunt was a great Formula 1 driver, but he was not the best to ever be on the grid. James might have been fearless and incredibly fast, but he lacked the complete package that makes a Formula 1 driver the best in the history of the sport. James lacked discipline and focus in his career.

22. Who Was Better: James Hunt Or Niki Lauda?

Both James Hunt and Niki Lauda were incredible racing drivers. However, Niki was the better of the two drivers as he won more races and championships than James did. Niki also had a much longer career in Formula 1, while James dropped out of the sport after just 7 years.

23. How Many Times Did James Hunt Beat Niki Lauda?

James Hunt only beat Niki Lauda twice (in points) in the 7 seasons that they competed against each other in Formula 1. In terms of race classification, Niki beats James by 49 to 37. However, it’s much closer in races where both of them finished the race, with Niki only beating James by 14 to 13.

24. Who Won More: James Hunt Or Niki Lauda?

In seasons where both James Hunt and Niki Lauda competed against one another, Niki won more races and championships. Niki won a total of 17 Grands Prix during the seven seasons while James only won 10. Niki won two World Championships compared to Hunt’s one championship.

25. Were James Hunt & Niki Lauda Friends?

James Hunt and Niki Lauda had been friends since before Niki Lauda’s Nürburgring crash (contrary to what was portrayed in the movie Rush). Niki was quoted as saying that they were close friends and had met in Formula 3 before they had become Formula 1 drivers.

26. Did Niki Lauda Let James Hunt Win?

Niki Lauda withdrew from the final Grand Prix in 1976, allowing James Hunt to win the title. Niki withdrew from the race for safety reasons rather than letting James win. Niki has been quoted saying he would make the same decision again.

27. Why Was James Hunt Called The Shunt?

James Hunt was often seen as a reckless and fearless driver. ‘Shunt’ is racing terminology for a crash, and it was used to refer to his “do or die” attitude when it comes to racing. He would often use brute force to make his way past opponents, even if it meant crashing into them or forcing them off the track.

Final Thoughts

There is no doubt that James Hunt was one of the best F1 drivers the sport has ever seen, but he didn’t have the longest of careers. In the 7 years he raced in F1, he amassed 10 Grand Prix wins and one Worlds Drivers’ Championship.