Posted by Andrew Smith
1974 was not a happy year for us English.

The year was marked by the Three Day Week, two General Elections, one change of national government, major company collapses and a Miners strike.

Pay dropped, taxes rose, unemployment exploded...

...and to add insult to injury, we lost the Ashes to Australia.

In these dismal times people hankered for frivolous distraction, a champion to brighten the dispiriting gloom.
It came in quite an unexpected form.

Enter The Lord Hesketh.

There is no better example of an ‘Against all odds’ story than the 1974 Hesketh Racing Formula 1 team.

With the maverick James Hunt at the wheel of the fabled Hesketh 308 F1 car and the extravagant, 23 year old Lord Hesketh at the helm, ‘The biggest little racing team in the world’, captured the public’s imagination.


Scorned by the established teams who considered them a bunch of public school boy amateurs with no place in the sport, Hesketh Racing audaciously challenged the big boys in their own back yard.

Team Hesketh

The team arrived by Rolls-Royce, hired yachts for Monaco.....

Lord Hesketh Le Patron

.....and had a Grand Piano in the back of Pit-lane for sing songs with friends and celebrities. They partied as hard as they raced.

Champagne flowed in abundance

James Hunt Hesketh Racing Party

Lord Hesketh's long tme friend, Anthony 'Bubbles' Horsley had become a competent, efficient team manager. Under his guidance and with promising results in 1973, the team started to be taken seriously.

Hesketh Racing Workshop

The stables at Lord Hesketh's country house 'Easton Neston', built in 1702, were converted into workshops. It was here that genious designer Harvey 'Doc' Postlethwaite, who claimed he only agreed to join the team during a moment of weakness after...


...created what is now regarded as one of the most iconic Formula 1 cars of all time. The Hesketh 308.

Hesketh 308

The 308 made it's debut at the Race of Champions, Brands Hatch, 1974.
Hunt put the car on Pole but spun out in wet conditions on Lap 4.

At the Silverstone International Trophy a few weeks later, Hunt again stuck the 308 at the front of the grid and also set the fastest lap in the race. The hat trick was completed with a resounding victory, beating 2nd place Jochen Mass by 37 seconds. The 308 was quick but fragile. Three 3rds but 8 retirements during the Grand Prix season.

The 308 was upgraded to the 308B. It was stronger, it was faster and Hunt was hungry for Victory.

The Dutch Grand Prix
That marvelous day at Zandvoort

Hesketh Racing win at Zandvoort

'For once, I didn't make any mistakes' reported Hunt after holding off Niki Lauda for the last 32 laps. The crowd's favourite crossed the line a mere 1 second ahead of the rampaging Ferrari to take Hunt's first and Hesketh Racing's only victory.

But trouble was brewing


As the saying goes, ‘A candle that burns twice as bright burns for half as long’. Potential sponsors were nervous about an association with the rock ‘n’ roll, glamour team and hell-raising, pin-up driver. With finances dwindling, Lord Hesketh had no choice but to shut the operation down with immediate effect.

Lord Hesketh and Margaret Thatcher

The Lord Hesketh went into politics and held a number of offices under Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, during his Parliamentary career

James Hunt Brands Hatch

James Hunt moved to McLaren and won the Formula 1 Driver's World Championship in 1976

Hesketh 308

...and the fabulous Hesketh 308 was mothballed.

The team that offered hope and cheer, faded almost as quickly as they had arrived.

Until now! MORE COMING


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