Tag Archives: Hesketh

Aeon Springs – Hesketh 308C #308C/1

For most of the 1975 season the dream of Lord Hesketh to run an independently funded Grand Prix team from the stables at his family pile, Easton Neston, Towcester, in Northamptonshire looked to be paying dividends which culminated with a win in the 1975 Dutch Grand Prix for James Hunt driving a Hesketh 308B.

Even as James was crossing the finishing line in Holland the finishing touches were being added to, what I believe is, today’s featured Hesketh 308C chassis #308C/1 that was built to conform to new regulations that were to be mandated from the 1976 Spanish Grand Prix onward.

Hesketh 308C, Silverstone Classic,

As well as having the increasingly popular low monocoque, a mandatory front cockpit roll over protection the 308C, conceived by Dr Harvey Postlethwaite, was notable for dispensing the the traditional springs and shock absorbers in favour of Aeon hollow rubber springs as first tried on the 308B.

James Hunt drove 308C/1 on three occasions finishing 8th from 11th on the grid in the non Championship Swiss Grand Prix, 5th form 8th on the grid in Italy and 4th from 15th on the grid at Watkins Glen in the US.

Hesketh 308C, Silverstone Classic,

A second 308C chassis was completed but during the off season Lord Hesketh had to call time and sold both 308C’s and the rights to Frank Williams who, with new backing from naturalised Canadian oil tycoon Walter Wolf, also picked up the temporarily out of work Dr Harvey Postlethwaite.

The Lord handed over the remains of his own team to his team manager Bubbles Horsley who continued running Hesketh until it folded for good in 1978 while James Hunt moved to McLaren where he achieved his ambition.

Hesketh 308C, Derek Jones, Silverstone Classic,

Despite starting the 1976 season with proven Formula One winner Jacky Ickx to drive the renamed FW05 with rookie Michele Leclere in the second car the FW05’s did not shine.

After Jacky posted a best 3rd, driving 308C/1 – FW05/1, in the non championship race of Champions and failed to qualify for four championship races he parted company with the team, who had already released Michele, after the British Grand Prix.

Hesketh 308C, Silverstone Classic,

For a few races Wolf Williams soldiered on with a solo effort for Art Mezario who failed to finish any of his six starts in the car. while

Second drivers Chris Amon, who wrote off the second 308C chassis in practice in his final Formula One appearance, Warwick Brown and Hans Binder all failed to impress in the last three races of the season.

Hesketh 308C, Derek Jones, Silverstone Classic,

At the end of 1976 Frank Williams and Walter Wolf parted ways, Frank went on to run a second hand March for Patrick Neve engineered by former Wolf man Patrick Head at Williams Grand Prix Engineering.

While Walter retained Dr Postlethwaite and hired Jody Scheckter to form Walter Wolf Racing who hit the ground running at the start of the 1977 season.

Hesketh 308C, Silverstone Classic,

#308C/1 went on to make an appearance at Brands Hatch in the 1978 Aurora AFX Series driven by John Cooper who finished 8th.

American Derek Jones, seen driving the 308C above at Silverstone, tweeted that this car was run by Simon Hadfield, who is said to have taken #308C/1 to Monaco for the Historic event earlier last year by formulajunior.com.

If you know different please do not hesitate to chip in below.

Thanks for joining me on this “Aeon Springs” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again for Maserati Monday tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


Conquering Europe :- ERA R3A

In 1933 Raymond Mays the leading founder of ERA (English Racing Automobiles), set out to manufacture racing cars capable of upholding British prestige in Continental European races.

ERA R3A, Mark Giles, VSCC Spring Start, Silverstone.

In 1934 ERA completed three vehicles and ERA R3A seen here was the third and first ERA to be built with a 2 litre / 122 cui motor.

ERA R3A, Mark Giles, Spring Start, Silverstone.

Raymond Mays drove R3A until it was sold at the end of 1935 and counted among his successes in the car an outright standing start world 1km record and more importantly the marques first victory in Europe.

ERA R3A, Goodwood Revival.

For the 1935 Eifelrennen meeting at the Nurburgring a 1.5 litre / 91.5 cui six cylinder voiturette class motor and Raymond drove the car to victory in the Voiturette Race beating the Maserati of Hans Reusch.

ERA R3A, VSCC Spring Start, Silverstone.

R3A remained a voiturette when it was sold in 1936. In 1937 Charlie Martin recorded another win in the Voiturette event supporting the German Grand Prix at Avus .

ERA R3A, VSCC Spring Start, Silverstone.

In 1938 Roy Hesketh bought R3A and took it home to South Africa where it remained until at least 1957. Current owner RT Skipworth is a second time custodian of R3A having first owned it 1998 to 2003 and then again since the start of 2014.

ERA R3A, VSCC Spring Start, Silverstone.

R3A was fitted with an original spec 2 litre motor in 1976 and it is in this form that Mark Gillies can be seen driving the to victory in the 80th ERA Anniversary race during the VSCC Spring Start meeting at Silverstone earlier this year.

Thanks for joining me on this “Conquering Europe” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again for Maserati Monday tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


Super Saturday Part 1/2 – Silverstone Classic

Artist Gerhard Richter once observed something akin to ‘that so long as one still has an object from the past it remains contemporary’, at Silverstone Classic on Super Saturday, the world’s biggest classic car show, there were many objects from man’s not so long past and many came to life in a vibrant crescendo of the twelve races which I was privileged to witness.

de Tomaso ISIS, Gregory, Silverstone Classic

For some time I have been on the look out for a Formula Junior de Tomaso. The 1959 FIAT powered ISIS example driven by Mike Gregory was one of two different de Tomaso models in the opening Peter Arundell Trophy Formula Junior race of the day which was won by Sam Wilson driving a Lotus after his main challenger David Methley spun out in his evil handling Brabham.

March 783, Padmore, Silverstone Classic

Silverstone Classic are great at introducing new events to their crowded schedule and one of the debutant events on this years schedule was the Brian Henton Trophy for classic Formula 3 cars of the type that helped launch the careers of Tony Brise, Tom Pryce, Gunnar Nilsson and Stephen South not to mention Nelson Piquet, Derek Warwick, and a chap called Ayrton da Silva who changed his name to something more snappy. Above Nick Pardmore guides his 1978 March 783, with ’79 side pods, through Stowe Corner on his way to victory.

Ford Cortinas, Shedden, Meaden, Silverstone Classic

For the best part of half an hour British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) regular Gordon Shedden and Richard Meaden kept us entertained with door handle to door handle racing at the front of the Sir John Whitmore Trophy race for under 2 litre / 122 cui saloon cars. Unfortunately when Gordon, seen leading above, came in for his mandatory pit stop his Lotus Cortina expired with an over heating issue before BTCC veteran Matt Neale could take over leaving Richard and Grant Tromans to take a well earned win.

Lister Costin Jaguar, Ward, Silverstone Classic

Chris Ward driving the Costin bodied Lister Jaguar above twice held the lead in the Stirling Moss Trophy for pre ’61 Sports Cars but he could not hold off the winning Knobbly bodied Lister Jaguar driven by Jon Minshaw/Phil Keen.

Hesketh 308C, Jones, Silverstone Classic

In 1975 it was announced that the hitherto enormous air boxes that had become an aesthetic blight on Formula One were to be banned along with various other changes. The first car to be built to the new regulations was the Hesketh 308C which was designed by Harvey Postlethwaite for James Hunt to drive. Above Derek Jones is seen driving a 308C in the FIA Masters Formula One race which was won by Ollie Hancock in a ’78 Fittipaldi F5A, after the race was stopped to allow the extraction of Sidney Hoole from what remained of the fabulous Ensign N173. Sidney was taken to hospital with a leg injury described as not ‘thought to be serious’.

Opel Belmont (sic), Wolfe, Silverstone Classic

The sixth event of the Silverstone Classic ‘Super Saturday’ was the Jet Super Touring Car Trophy for a variety of Touring cars from the Early 70’s to the turn of the Millennium. The close fought race was won by James Dodd from Stewart Whyte both driving Honda Accords. Andy Wolfe is seen driving a 1993 Jet sponsored Opel Astra, listed incorrectly in the programme as an Opel Belmont, which won it’s class in the 1993 Nurburgring 24 hours.

Thanks for joining me on this ‘Super Saturday Part 1/2′ edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll continue with the second half of the Super Saturday race programme. Don’t forget to come back now !


60th Anniversary – Oulton Park Gold Cup

On Bank Holiday Monday a couple of weeks ago I picked up GALPOT contributor Tim Murray and headed 175 miles north to Oulton Park for the second day of the Gold Cup meeting which marked the circuits 60th Anniversay. When we got there we met friends Simon and Phil from The Nostalgia Forum who directed us toward the control Tower where Steve Jones invited us to a cup of coffee and we met Alan Cox who also puts in a regular appearance on these pages.

March 761, Gold Cup, Oulton Park

Afterwards Tim and I had a wonder around the paddock where we found Greg Thornton’s Formula One March 761 resplendent in the colours of Sweden as would have been seen in the hands of Ronnie Peterson. Greg was declared the winner of the opening Derek Bell Trophy race of the day after Micheal Lyons experienced a pinion failure in his Lola T400 Formula 5000 car and an accident in which no one was hurt blocked the track.

Dodd, Chevron B31, Gold Cup, Oulton Park

Despite a sagging rear wing James Dodd driving his, non period, Martini liveried 1976 Chevron B36 appropriately won the Martini Trophy for 2 litre / 122 cui sports cars.

Watts, Peugeot 406, Gold Cup, Oulton Park

I only ever saw Patrick Watts 1998 British Touring Car Championship Peugeot 406 racing on the television but I spent many hundreds of happy hours driving one just like it in a Play Station game called TOCA 2, Patrick found his old car in Australia. Unfortunately he did not finish the Super Touring Trophy which was won by the versatile James Dodd who didn’t have time to celebrate his Martini Trophy win in the Chevron B36 before jumping into his Honda Accord.

Mitchell, Merlin Mk20, Grant, Merlyn Mk20a, Gold Cup, Oulton Park

The Historic Formula Fords can always be relied on to provide entertaining racing, Sam Mitchell and Callum Grant in their #40 and #1 Merlyn MK 20’s were never much further apart than this through out the 20 min race. Callum eventually got the better of Sam to take the chequered flag.

Smith, Delta T81, Gold Cup, Oulton Park

Nelson Rowe won the Amitstead Barnett Financial Services Formula Ford 2000 race and sowed up the Historic Formula Ford 2000 championship with a fine win in his Reynard SF79, the #10 Delta T81 of Derek Smith above has a chassis design going back to 1978 which was penned by none other than Patrick Head went on to form a formidable partnership with Frank Williams.

Historic Touring Cars, Gold Cup, Oulton Park

The Historic Touring Cars also provided a hugely entertaining spectacle above the #14 Alfa Romeo Giulia Super of Bob Schukburgh takes the bumpy route as he tries to pass a couple Hillman Imps, the #4 Mini was driven by British Olympic Cycling legend Sir Chris Hoy. Richard Dutton in the red and gold #35 Ford Mustang worked his way up from the back of the grid to 5th place in the race which was won by Mark Jones in a Ford Lotus Cortina.

Oosterbaan, Alton Holden AR2 , Gold Cup, Oulton Park

A welcome Antipodean novelty in the Libre race for Classic Racing Cars was the Alton AR2 powered by a Holden straight six driven by Henry Ooterbaan, the race was won by Andy Jones driving his father Ian’s Lotus 59.

Thornton, March, Glover, Lola, Lyons, Hesketh, Gold Cup, Oulton Park

If the first Derek Bell Trophy race disappointed because of it’s premature end, the second made up for it by the bucket load. With Micheal Lyons Lola rendered hors d’combat by it’s gearbox Micheal’s father Frank stepped aside to let his son race the family Hesketh 308E with which he started from the back of the grid. For the first 5 laps Neil Glover driving the #10 Lola T300/332 kept Greg Thornton in the #32 March 761 at bay by which time Micheal Lyons joined the fun. Greg on the left is seen above about to over take Neil in the Lola while Micheal on the right is about to pass on the outside on lap six. On the following lap Micheal got past Greg to take a comfortable win. Afterwards I was left wondering what Micheal might have achieved in his Mum Judy’s Surtees TS9.

Challis, Petty, de la Roche, Smith Buckler, Monro, Cooper, Gold Cup, Oulton Park

Steve Jones won the 500cc / 30.5 cui Formula 3 race in his Cooper, above the #7 Petty of Nigel Challis leads the #65 Smith Buckler of Richard de la Roche and #89 Cooper Mk 4 of Shirley Monro in the squable for 10th place, Challis finished the race ahead of Monro and de la Roche.

Yarwood Ladybird Mk6B,  Gold Cup, Oulton Park

John Harrison led the Classic Clubmans race from lights to flag, above the #77 Ladybird Mk6B driven by Bob Yarwood was built by Oulton Park legend Derek Walker, who is credited with winning more races than anyone else at Oulton Park. Derek received a special award for his achievement during the meeting.

Arculus, Lotus Elite, Gold Cup, Oulton Park

As the sun atarted to set the final race of the day was FISCAR Team Handicap race for sports cars built in the 1950’s was won by Brian Arculus in the #71 Lotus Elite.

After a quick sausage and chips washed down by a strong cup of tea it was time to head the 175 miles into the evening with the heavy bank holiday weekend traffic listening to Radio 2 which was celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the release of Dark Side Of The Moon.

Thanks for joining me on this “60th Anniversary” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres”, I hope you will join me again for Americana Thursday tomorrow when I’ll be looking at a 1958 racing Corvette. Don’t forget to come back now !


Hard Day’s Night – Silverstone Classic

On Saturday I got up at 5am in order to get to the start of proceedings for at the Silverstone Classic meeting. After a scenic drive through Gloucestershire with a little early morning fog along the A40 I arrived in good time.

Cooper T59, Silverstone Classic

Jon Milicevic, driving a Cooper T59 comfortably won the days opening Formula Junior race, for cars built between 1959 and 1963, from another Cooper T59 driven by Sam Wilson.

Trojan T101, Silverstone Classic

Simon Hadfield and Micheal Lyons provided the early entertainment in the Peter Gethin Trophy race for stock block open wheelers, Simon’s F5000 Trojan T101 set up for good performance through the corners can be seen being hounded by Micheal Lyons F5000 Lola T400 which was set up for better straight line performance. Unfortunately Simon who started from third lost it after 6 laps handing pole man Micheal a narrow victory over Mark Stretton driving a much smaller capacity Formula 2 March. Simon recovered to take third.

F5000 Thunder, Silverstone Classic

During the lunch break I caught up with several members of the TNF Forum including John who makes the annual pilgrimage from Australia, on this occasion he brought a pre production copy of F5000 Thunder the Titans of Australian Road Racing 1970 – 1982 co authored by Ray Bell and Tony Loxley, if your a fan of Formula 5000 I guarantee you will enjoy the many stories in this 406 page book with over 800 photographs which ever part of the world you happen to live in.

BMW 1800 TiSA, Silverstone Classic

The Alan Mann Trophy for under 2 litre / 122 cui touring cars looked to be a walk over for the #51 ALFA Romeo driven by Alex Furiani despite the best efforts of Jackie Oliver, who will be celebrating his seventieth birthday in a couple of weeks, driving the #100 BMW 1800 TiSA seen here sliding through Maggotts in third place. An incident requiring the safety car disrupted the event which was won by Sean McInerney driving the #67 Lotus Cortina who started from 38th on the grid ! Simon Hadfield did well to recover from a stop go penalty to bag second place on the last lap to finish less than two seconds behind McIerney in the #1 Lotus Cortina co driven by Leo Voyazides which had started on pole.

Pre '61 Sportscars, Silverstone Classic

Alex Buncombe made the most of pole position in the Stirling Moss Trophy driving the #46 Costin bodied Lister Jaguar he was sharing with Andrew Smith which was never lost it’s lead on it’s way to victory. Second place was initially disputed by the #33 Knobbly Lister Jaguar, of Jon Minshaw and Martin Stretton which made a great start from 6th on the grid, the #61 Birdcage Maserati of Jason Minshaw and the McIntyres #15 Lotus seen above. The #33 Lister failed to finish while the McIntyre Lotus 15 and Jason’s Birdcage finished 3rd and 4th respectively behind the Dodds Cooper Monaco T49.

Grand Prix Masters, Silverstone Classic

Two races for Formula One cars were next up after lunch, The Daily Express Trophy for 1970 to 1983 cars was led by Micheal Lyons in the #24 Hesketh 308E who unfortunately could not get his car to complete lap nine after slowing for an incident between two cars which were stopped on the track. A lucky victory therefore
handed to Bill Coombs in the #33 Tyrrell 009 when the race was called early to clear up the mess. Steve Hartley in the #31 Arrows A4 was classified 2nd with Micheal Fitzgerald seen above in 8th place came through to claim 3rd in his #28 Williams FW08.

The pre ’66 rear engined Grand Prix cars race was won by Jason Minshaw from John Harper both driving Brabham BT4’s above 8th place Roger Willis, driving his #48 Cooper T51, is seen leading a pack through the ‘Arena’.

GUY Arab Mk 5, Silverstone Classic

As the Gentleman Drivers Pre ’66 bus got underway I made my way over to the “Wing” pits complex on an open top Leyland Bus, coming the other way we encountered this 1963 GUY Arab Mk 5. Soon after the Mk 5 was built GUY was taken over by Jaguar.

TVR Griffith, Silverstone Classic

During the Silverstone Classic meeting pits access is unrestricted as evidenced by this photo of Mike Whitaker Snr’s pit stop. I am sure back in the day brake coolers were not ‘de rigueur’ when his 1965 4.7 litre / 286 cui V8 powered TVR Griffith was built. Mike retired shortly after this photo was taken, the race was won by Jon Minshaw and Mike Stretton driving an E-Type Jaguar.

Renault Williams Laguna, Silverstone Classic

This mid 1990’s Renault Williams Laguna Touring Car is probably legible, for but was not entered in the Fujifilm Touring Car Trophy, it reminded me of the time in late 1998 when I seriously under estimated the power of Play Station and found myself engrossed in a game called TOCA 2 featuring a similar Laguna and seven other vehicles from the same era.

Brian Johnson, Silverstone Classic

As I got to the end of my pits walkabout, which included a spell on the pit wall during the Gentleman’s race, I stumbled across a hive of activity as the Morgan ‘celebrity” drivers prepared to qualify for their race. Above well known racer and AC/DC vocalist Brian Johnson signs an autograph before qualifying third ahead of fellow musician Jay Kaye. Qualifying and the race was won by TV star Kelvin Fletcher who regular readers may remember I saw a couple of months ago driving a #17 Mini at Castle Combe. Brian and Jay came second and third respectively in the race.

Jaguar XJR 5, Silverstone Classic

I returned to the car after my pit visit for a cat nap which lasted a little longer than intended so I unintentionally missed a couple of races however fortunately I woke up in time to catch the finale of the day for Group C Endurance cars, Gareth Evans won the race despite a late spin relatively easily from Roger Willis in his Lancia LC2. Above the race was not the most entertaining but for my money seeing the Group C cars race in the early evening was worth the price of entry on it’s own. Above one car I did not get to see race in period was the 6 litre / 366 cui IMSA GTP Jaguar XJR 5 seen here with Don Miles at the wheel, after qualifying last from 21 Don finished 12th from 16 finishers. Absolutely cream crackered after a Hard Day’s Night I got home just after midnight and slept like a log.

Thanks for joining on this “Hard Day’s Night” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres”, I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


Happy Days – ‘Rush’ Snetterton Set

A little departure from the usual Ferrari Friday blog to day but I as you will see not completely un Ferrari related. The last time I visited the former home of the 96th Bombardment Group (H) 8th USAAF was to test my 27hp 2 CV on the Snetterton Circuit in preparation for a 24 hour event in Ireland.


On Tuesday evening I saw a twitter post from the @RealRonHoward to go and visit the set of his current project called ‘Rush’ which is all about the relationship between off track friends and on track rivals James Hunt and Niki Lauda which culminated in the tumultuous 1976 season which I have retold from Ferrari and McLaren perspectives in past blogs.

Rush Set - Snetterton

Setting off at 2am I arrived at Snetterton just after 7am to find not very much happening, I even got inadvertently got ushered into the pit area where the crew were grabbing breakfast and sorting themselves out for a tough days shooting. I then made my way to the Bombhole, a corner with a nasty dip marking the apex where I found preparations underway for several scene’s which were to represent the controversial ‘wide vehicle’ 1976 Spanish Grand Prix.

Rush Set - Snetterton

After watching the driver representing John Watson getting in and out of his car numerous times as he retired with a blown motor several cars came round together representing James Hunt in the #11 ‘wide vehicle’ McLaren M23, Jaques Laffite in the #26 Ligier JS5 and Niki Lauda in the #1 Ferrari 312 T2 on the right John Watson’s double can be seen having exited the smokey #28 Penske PC3 for the millionth time that morning.

Rush Set - Snetterton

Among my fellow extra’s I met Jess who thoughtfully brought his copy of the 1976 – 77 Autocourse Annual to make sure Ron was keeping his legendary reputation for details correct.

Rush Set - Snetterton

I was not exactly sure which, from a choice of two, style AGV helmet wore for 1976 Spanish GP,

Rush Set - Snetterton

Looking at Autocourse it was immediately clear Ron was on the button with that particular detail.

Ron Howard, Rush, Snetterton

Somewhere around mid day Ron came over to thank the by now 50 enthusiasts who had managed to come along and soon after we were invited over to the other side of the circuit to watch what was going on in the pits for the next batch of takes representing the 1976 German Grand Prix the one race of the 1976 season where I was present !

Rush Set, Snetterton

Above a shoot is prepared with Guy Edwards #25 Hesketh 308 on rain tyres with Laffites Ligier on slicks as unseen in the pit lane Niki Lauda is about to come out on slicks prior to his near fatal crash on the drying Nurburgring that would take a hefty points advantage out of Lauda’s 1976 season but still left him in with a fighting chance at the 1976 seasons finale.

Rush Set, Snetterton

Ron can be seen above in the passenger seat of the Mitsubishi Evo Camera Car that was probably the best sounding car at Snetterton on Wednesday.

Rush Set, Snetterton

Left to right the Hunt, Laffite and Lauda stand in drivers have a quick break between shoots.

Rush Set, Snetterton

As one wag amongst the enthusiasts noted the Renault Traffic took the wrong option tyres before getting chased down by Niki Lauda in the 1975 Ferrari 312 T, not sure why this car and it’s sister with Clay Regazzoni at the wheel were bereft of any sign writing or sponsors logo’s, perhaps a test session was being reenacted. The cars we saw on Wednesday were all £50,000 50 foot specials designed to look right at a distance at a fraction of the cost of insuring let alone hiring the real cars of the period, many of which still exist and indeed are still raced. Some of the real cars are and have been used for close ups and to get the sound track right.

Rush Set, Snetterton

I was curious as to why the Penske PC3 was selected and not the much sharper and race winning Penske PC4, turns out that John Watson drove the PC 3 for the nearly the entire first half of the 1976 season, another detail the legendary Ron Howard got right for the Spanish Grand Prix sequences.

I understand that Rob Austin was responsible for building the Ferrari 312 T and T2 vehicles, WGK Motorsport the McLaren M23 and Hesketh 308D vehicles and Mirage Motorsport the Ligier JS5 and Penske PC3 vehicles which I believe are powered by Rover V8 motors and were built in just 3 months.

After watching seven hours of watching the set action I reluctantly headed for home, with a renewed appreciation for all the work that goes into making a film on my favorite subject.

Thanks for joining me on this Happy Days edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres, I hope you will join me again tomorrow for a look at a Lotus Europa Special. Don’t forget to come back now !


A Noble Effort – Hesketh Ford 308B # 308-2

Mid way through 1972 James ‘Hunt The Shunt’ got fired by the STP March Formula 3 team for taking over a vacant seat with a rival team at Monaco after his own car had broken down and been hit by another car.

Hesketh Ford 308B, Silverstone

James found himself another ride with the ambitious Hesketh Team founded by Thomas ‘Alexander’ Fermor-Hesketh, 3rd Baron Hesketh, who inherited his title aged just four.

The Hesketh team were not experiencing much joy in the 2nd tier European Formula 2 championship and in a double or quits move Lord Hesketh decided that he may as well be loosing his fortune in the top tier Grand Prix Championship for the 1973 Season.

Hesketh Ford 308B, Silverstone

Things picked up rapidly as James quicky found his feet in Grand Prix racing, notably finishing second in the season ending US Grand Prix running Hesketh’s March 731 engineered through the season by Dr Harvey Postlethwaite. The Hesketh team also brought a legendary ‘ joie de vivre’ to the Grand Prix paddock.

Hesketh Ford 308B, Silverstone

In 1974 Dr. Postlethwaite designed a new car based heavily on the March 731 from the year before. James in the new Hesketh 308 scored a debut pole position at the non championship 1974 Race of Champions ahead of the Ferrari’s of Clay Regazzoni and Niki Lauda, and then came home first from pole in the non championship International Trophy at Silverstone.

For the rest of the 1974 season the teams effort suffered from poor reliability mixed with a couple of podium finishes enough for Hesketh to finish a credible 6th in the manufacturers championship and James 8th in the drivers championship.

Hesketh Ford 308B, Silverstone

Lord Hesketh was adamant about not accepting sponsorship for his team and the cars were upgraded to ‘B’ spec for 1975, the front radiator was replaced by radiators mounted beneath the rear wing. The cars reliability was still less than stellar but when he could get across the finish line James always scored points and often podiums.

On the 22nd of June 1975 the team finally came good at the Dutch Grand Prix held on the drying Zandvoort circuit, after making an early pit stop for dry tyres James was able to leap frog leader Niki Lauda when he made his pit stop and held on to take the Hesketh teams only victory, the last ever by an unsponsored team.

Hesketh Ford 308B, Silverston

James finished an impressive 4th in the 1975 drivers championship and Hesketh 4th in the constructors championship. Alas the good Lord had to call time on his Grand Prix party for lack of funds and sold up at the end of the season Dr. Postlethwaite and his last Hesketh design 308C joined a partnership between Walter Wolf and Frank Williams, while James Hunt went and drove for McLaren and the remains of the Hesketh team using revised 308B chassis upgraded to ‘D’ spec continued to participate in the 1976 season under the direction of Bubbles Horsely the team manager.

US readers might remember the Hesketh team going out with a front page bang, in qualifying for the the 1975 James team mate Brett Lunger was launched into flight by a chicane kerbstone and a photo of the Hesketh crashing back to earth made the front pages around the world. Brett and the car recovered to make the start of the race but retired soon after.

Hesketh Ford 308B, Silverstone

The car featured in today’s blog is the #308-2 chassis which James drove to victory in the Dutch GP. It was owned by Lord Hesketh until 2007 and was to be auctioned at the Silverstone Classic Auction next week however it has already been snapped up and sold by private treaty.

Hope you have enjoyed today’s Nobel edition of ‘Gettin’ a lil’ psycho on tyres’ and that you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be taking a look at James Hunt’s world championship winning car. Don’t forget to come back now !