Saturday, March 09, 2013
Reel People: Chris Hemsworth is James Hunt
James Hunt was born in Surrey, England on August 29, 1947. Born to Sue and Wallis Hunt, he was the second of six children. He attended prestigious schools and engaged in a number of sports as a child such as cricket, soccer, skiing and tennis. He is said to had an angry temper as a child, and had frequent run ins with his parents.
When he was eighteen his tennis doubles partner Chris Ridge took him to a car race and he was hooked. He would go onto race British Motor Corporation Minis until being picked up to race Formula Ford in 1968, and then onto Formula 3 in 1969. Hunt had some success in Formula 3 as well as controversy after a crash with Dave Morgan that resulted in Morgan receiving a 12 month suspension.
Hunt during his time with Formula 3 was developing a reputation for being reckless and causing cars to be totaled, adding cost to to the team and investors.
Hunt was also known for a reckless behavior off the course as well such as doing drugs and having sex with women before races.
In 1972 Hunt was dropped form his team, and would eventually be picked up by the eccentric Lord Alexander Hasketh who was starting a team, and decided to take a risk at starting a Formula 1 team in 1973 on account that the cost for Formula 1 was not significantly higher than Formula 2 and the Formula 3 cars had been ruined.
The Hesketh Racing team began Formula 1 in 1973 with a party-boy style of fancy cars, celebration, and and fine accommodations. Hasketh's team image matched Hunt's lifestyle. The team would go on to place 2nd in the 1973 Grand Prix in Watkins Glen, New York. James Hunt had the fastest lap of that race.
In 1974 Hunt would meet Suzy Miller in Spain, after few weeks after meeting Hunt would propose. Suzy Miller would become Hunt's first wife whom he would marry that same year. Suzy Miller would leave James Hunt a year later for Richard Burton. Burton would pay the $1 million dollar divoce settlement
In 1975, Hunt had a huge win in the 1975 Dutch Grand Prix in which he would beat Niki Lauda, a good friend of his off the track.
In 1976, Hunt would leave Hesketh Racing when he became the lead driver for McLaren, particularly as Hesketh's team was low on funding. Hunt's contract was lower than many other lead drivers and he created a stir when he didn't want to sign a clause requiring him to wear his racing suit to sponsored functions, preferring to arrive to functions often in jeans and barefooted.
1976 was Hunt's best year having six grand prix wins racing for McLaren. In addition to those wins, he also came in first in the 1976 British Grand Prix but his win was disqualified. In the first turn of the first lap, Hunt had an accident with Niki Lauda and Hunt would go onto win with a space car. Yet Ferrari (Luada's sponsor) contested the win and two month's later the win was given to Niki Lauda instead, creating much frustration for British race fans.
In race which followed the British Grand Prix, was the 1976 German Grand Prix in which Niki Lauda had a near fatal crash and Hunt was won the Grand Prix. Lauda would be out of subsequent races for which helped remove his biggest competitor for some future races. In the last race of the 1976 season James Hunt would came in third place in the Japanese Grand Prix which gave Hunt just enough points to win the World Championship in Formula 1 Racing for 1976.
The next two years Hunt would race for McLaren again and finished those seasons in 5th and 13th place overall. Part of his decline was due to technological advances that his team did not have, as well as a fetal accident of fellow race driver Ronnie Peterson in 1978.
In 1979 he switched to Wolf Racing team but after a number of technical difficulties and accidents, he made a statement retiring at the 1979 Monaco Grand Prix.
Hunt was going to re-enter the 1980 season at the US Grand Prix, but after a skiing industry did not re-enter Formula One racing. He instead relaunched his career as a commentator for BBC sports, commentating alongside Murray Walker on BBC2 Formula One racing program Grand Prix.
In 1982 Hunt would meet his second wife Sarah Lomax in Spain with friends. James and Sarah would be married December 17, 1983. They had two kids Tom and Freddie. They would seperate in 1988 but continue to live together for the interest of their children, and were diveroced in 1989 on the grounds of adultery committed by Hunt.
In 1989 he would meet Helen Dyson a younger waitress whom was credited for helping James clean up his life. He would propose to her on June 14, 1993. The following day (June 15, 1993) he died of a heart attack at the age of 45 at his home in Wimbledon.
The film Rush focuses on the 1976 Formula One Racing season, particularly the rivalry between Niki Lauda and James Hunt and the final race of the season in Japan.
In addition to Chris Hemsworth playing the part of James Hunt, the film also features Daniel Bruhl as Niki Lauda, Olivia Wilde as Suzy Miller, and Christian McKay as Lord Hasketh.
Will Chris Hemsworth receive awards attention, maybe even an Oscar nomination for portraying this Reel (Real) Person?