The Royal Automobile Club is celebrating the 40th anniversary in 2016 of Club member, James Hunt, winning the Formula One World Championship.
On Tuesday 14 June 2016, James’s sons, Tom and Freddie Hunt, joined Club members and special guests from James’s life and career, in celebration of that 1976 victory.
The car that steered James to the title was a McLaren M23, designed by Gordon Coppuck. It was a development of McLaren’s M16 Indianapolis 500 car, created with the help of John Barnard, who would himself go on to design some of the great innovations in Formula One over the next generation.
The chassis was made of aluminium, a standard material in that era of Formula One, with double-wishbone suspension at front and rear. The engine was the much-used 3.0-litre Cosworth DFV V8, attached to a Hewland transmission. Manual of course.
The M23 was entered into the Formula One World Championship by McLaren between 1973 and 1978 and, during that time its drivers included, among others, Denny Hulme, Peter Revson, Jody Scheckter, Emerson Fittipaldi and Jochen Mass.
The car was also what Gilles Villeneuve made his Grand Prix debut in, at Silverstone in 1977. But, crucially, it was the car that James Hunt used to race to six Grands Prix victories during the 1976 season, claiming the Championship at the last race in Fuji.
Car displayed courtesy of Hall & Hall
Photography by Martyn Goddard