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James Hunt's Hesketh under the hammer in Monaco

Published 04 February 2014

The Hesketh 308-01 as raced by Formula 1 world driver's champion, James Hunt in the 1974 International Trophy, will be going up for auction at RM's sale, held during the Grand Prix de Monaco Historique weekend, which takes place from 9–10 May 2014. It's the only Hesketh F1 car to win a world championship race.

The car, which gave James Hunt his shot at the big time was run by one of the most interesting teams to hit the Formula 1 paddock during the 1970s. Hesketh Racing was formed in 1972 by the British Peer, Lord Alexander Hesketh. After two seasons of racing in lower formula, Hesketh commissioned Harvey Postlethwaite to design and construct an all-new, bespoke car in which Hesketh’s lead driver, James Hunt, could contest the 1974 Formula 1 World Championship. Run on a budget, and powered by the same Cosworth DFV as pretty much all the UK-based teams, most commentators predicted slim results for the Hesketh 308 in its first season.

But this view was to quickly change when Hunt took to the track at the start of the season, as Postlethwaite had designed a nimble car that could make the most of his considerable talents. Four Hesketh 308s built, of which the car being offered for sale, chassis no. 308-1, is both the first and, arguably, the most significant. Chassis 308-01 made its debut appearance at the 1974 Brands Hatch Race of Champions, where Hunt surprised the paddock by placing the car on pole position; but the race itself ended up proving less successful, as Hunt spun off and retired on lap four.

Two weeks later, 308-01 started its first grand prix in South Africa, where Hunt ran in fifth position for much of the race, until he retired with a mechanical failure. Hunt again took the car to pole position, followed by victory, at the International Trophy race at Silverstone. This was Hesketh’s first and only Formula 1 win. The car was taken to most championship rounds during the 1974 season, serving as either the race- or T-car. Chassis 308-01 is also the car in which Hunt started the British Grand Prix at Brands Hatch, before spinning out on the second lap of the race.

The car is estimated to fetch €400,000–€650,000 at RM’s 2014 Monaco sale.

 

Hesketh 308-01 Race History    
         
Date Race Drivers Entrant Result
17.3.1974 Race of Champions James Hunt Hesketh Racing DNF
30.3.1974 GP South Africa James Hunt Hesketh Racing DNF
7.4.1974 International Trophy James Hunt Hesketh Racing 1st
28.4.1974 GP Spain James Hunt Hesketh Racing T-car
12.5.1974 GP Belgium James Hunt Hesketh Racing T-car
23.6.1974 GP Netherlands   Hesketh Racing T-car
7.7.1974 GP France James Hunt Hesketh Racing T-car
20.7.1974 GP Great Britain James Hunt Hesketh Racing DNF
4.8.1974 GP Germany James Hunt Hesketh Racing T-car
18.8.1974 GP Austria Ian Scheckter Hesketh Racing DNQ
         
Date Race Drivers Entrant Result
12.1.1975 GP Argentina James Hunt Team Hesketh T-car
26.1.1975 GP Brazil James Hunt Team Hesketh T-car
13.4.1975 International Trophy Alan Jones Harry Stiller Racing 7th
27.4.1975 GP Spain Alan Jones Harry Stiller Racing DNF
11.5.1975 GP Monaco Alan Jones Harry Stiller Racing DNF
25.5.1975 GP Belgium Alan Jones Harry Stiller Racing DNF
8.6.1975 GP Sweden Alan Jones Rob Walkers Custom Made Racing 11th
3.8.1975 GP Germany Harald Ertl Team Hesketh 8th
17.8.1975 GP Austria Harald Ertl Warsteiner Brewery DNF
7.9.1975 GP Italy Harald Ertl Team Hesketh 9th

RM Auctions: Monaco classic car auction

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