Freddie makes sure James Hunt’s racing legacy goes on

Freddie Hunt at Silverstone / Picture by Jakob Ekery
Freddie Hunt at Silverstone / Picture by Jakob Ekery
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Freddie Hunt admits he could not think of a better place to mark the 40th anniversary of his late father’s Formula 1 than at the home of British motor-racing at this year’s Silverstone Classic.

Four decades have passed since charismatic racing legend James Hunt beat rival Niki Lauda to the Championship title – a feat brought to the big screen in 2013 with the film Rush.

Hunt senior passed away in 1993 aged just 45, but in son and professional racing driver Freddie the motor-racing story has continued.

And the latest chapter will see Freddie, who lives in Midhurst, help celebrate his father’s achievements at the world’s biggest historic motor racing festival at Silverstone from July 29 to 31.

Displays will include a number of Hunt’s most notable road and racing cars plus rarely seen trophies and memorabilia from the Englishman’s title-winning 1976 season.

Hunt junior will also be competing over the course of the three-day event and admitted marking his father’s championship title at the track where he savoured more Formula 1 successes than at any other circuit worldwide, was a fitting tribute.

The Silverstone Classic was the first race meeting I went to after my father died so it’s quite a special one for me. I’ve come back here every year since.

James Hunt

“We’re celebrating the 40th anniversary of my father’s world title win, where he beat Niki Lauda in the final race by a single point,” he said. “The Silverstone Classic is probably the biggest car show of the year globally so we thought, where better to do it?

“We’re ever so proud of what he achieved and we want to do him justice because he does deserve a celebration.

“We’re going to have lot of dad’s cars here. Unfortunately I’m not going to be racing one of them which is a bit of shame but perhaps next year I might be able to. But I’ll be having a go a tin top mini myself.

“The Silverstone Classic was the first race meeting I went to after my father died so it’s quite a special one for me. I’ve come back here every year since.

“There are so many different types of cars. For any car fans, I would say this is the number one event of the year, certainly in the UK and if not globally, especially if you like your historical stuff.”

A must-do event for classic car enthusiasts and their families, the Silverstone Classic attracts more than 1,100 race entries and drew a record crowd of more than 100,000 in 2015.

The three-day festival will feature the very best of historic racing covering more than eight decades of motor sport, as well as live music from the likes of the Stranglers, Reed and The Boomtown Rats and a wealth of family entertainment.

And Hunt junior will be hoping to star prominently after beginning his own season recently.

“I’m racing the European NASCAR series this year and I’m also doing a couple of classic races as well. We had a race in Valencia which was the opening race of the NASCAR season.

“The next race is in Holland in a couple of weeks. It’s very much a learning year and then next year I’ll have more chance of going for the Championship outright. Le Mans is a possibility, I like to do endurance racing .

“I never saw my father race. I can’t directly compare it and it’s only what people see but apparently I have a very similar driving style to my dad which is very much flat out, a little bit erratic, a little bit aggressive – through it in the corner and see if it’s sticks rather than build up to it slowly.”

* Impressive track parades, infield displays from over 100 car clubs, plus interactive driving activities and dynamic demonstrations. Entry is advanced ticket only and for full details – as well as hospitality packages and weekend festival camping – visit www.silverstoneclassic.com

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