FREDDIE HUNT TO PRESENT JAMES HUNT TROPHY, HONOURING HIS FATHER, AT SILVERSTONE CLASSIC
Freddie Hunt, son of FORMULA 1 World Champion and racing legend James Hunt, wound the clock back 31 years when, wearing his father's original race overalls and carrying James Hunt's iconic helmet, he got behind the wheel of his father's 1976 World Championship-winning McLaren M23. Freddie Hunt, in his father's race overalls and carrying James Hunt's iconic helmet, is united with Hunt Snr's 1976 World Championship-winning McLaren M23.
Freddie Hunt was united with his father's car as part of a preview to this weekend's Silverstone Classic, in association with Bonhams (on July 27-29). Freddie will be on hand at the prestigious event to present the James Hunt Trophy, which honours his father, to the winner of Saturday afternoon's race for Invitation Formula 1 cars with Grand Prix Masters. The full field of 1970s F1 cars will also race in Sunday's Daily Express Silverstone International Trophy. One of the young up-and-coming drivers in the British Formula Ford Championship, Hunt has also gained an interest in historic racing.
"This McLaren looks exactly how it was, which is great," he said. "I've been to some historic meetings recently. I tried to get to see the Grand Prix Masters cars at Brands Hatch, but their race was rained off. That was a shame, but I saw the old Ford Mustangs racing and that was pretty cool. "I love these old Formula 1 cars. I wouldn't like to race one myself because a) I can't afford it, and b) they look bloody dangerous! But I'd love to have a proper day of testing in one."
Freddie met up with the McLaren at the Lincolnshire base of Hall & Hall, the leading historic race car preparation experts. The M23 is the car in which the late James Hunt won the 1976 British Grand Prix, only to be excluded two months later. Hunt Sr also won the French and German Grands Prix, which ran either side of the British GP, in this car, on his way to the World Championship title. The car is now owned by Italian Andrea Burani, who will drive the M23 several times in 2007 and kindly made the car available for the photo shoot.
While this M23 will not be racing at this year's Classic, there will be other examples of the model. Other cars in the race with 'Hunt' history include versions of both the McLaren M26 and the Hesketh 308. It is planned that arch-historic racing fan Frank Sytner will race the 308 that Hunt took to victory in the 1975 Dutch Grand Prix. Freddie is then expected to jump behind the wheel of his father's old F1 car, now owned by Sytner, for a couple of demonstration laps at the Silverstone Classic.
"It's the Hesketh that won at Zandvoort and I'm looking forward to driving it," said Hunt Jr. "It's funny - before I started racing I'd hardly heard about historic racing. Now I know more about it I think people should appreciate it more. Some of the drivers are really going for it, racing these beautiful old cars as they would have been driven in their heyday.
"It was nice to get into the McLaren, although it felt weird wearing dad's overalls! But I'm really looking forward to the Silverstone Classic - it should be a great weekend."
Tickets for this weekend's Silverstone Classic, in association with Bonhams, are priced at an £15 for the Friday and £20 for the Saturday or Sunday if booked in advance (£20 on the Friday and £25 on the Saturday or Sunday if purchased on the day). Special Event Tickets represent fantastic value at £35 for all three days. Parking, roving grandstand seating, paddock access and centre transfer are all also included in these special prices. Children aged 15 years and under, accompanied by an adult, go free. To purchase tickets, or for further information on the 2007 Silverstone Classic, in association with Bonhams, visit www.silverstone.co.uk, or call 08704 588 260.