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James Hunt : Early career

Early career

The son of a successful stockbroker, James Hunt was born in Belmont, Sutton, Surrey and educated firstly at Westerleigh School in Hastings, East Sussex and later Wellington College in Crowthorne, Berkshire, and originally studied to be a doctor. But just before his 18th birthday he was taken by a friend to see a motor race and Hunt was instantly hooked.
James Hunt driving a Brabham BT21 in the Guards Trophy F3 race at Brands Hatch, 1969.
Hunt's own racing career started off in a racing Mini, before graduating to Formula Ford and Formula Three. Hunt was noticed as a fast driver with an aggressive, tail-happy driving style, but one prone to spectacular accidents, hence his well-earned nickname of Hunt The Shunt. Hunt was involved in a controversial incident with Dave Morgan during a battle for second position in the Formula Three Daily Express Trophy race at Crystal Palace on 3 October 1970. Having banged wheels earlier in a very closely fought race, Morgan attempted to pass Hunt on the outside of South Tower Corner on the final lap, but instead the cars collided and crashed out of the race. Hunt's car came to rest in the middle of the track, minus two wheels. Hunt got out, ran over to Morgan and furiously pushed him to the ground, which earned him severe official disapproval.
Hunt's career continued in the works March team, but in May 1972 it was announced by the team that he had been dropped from the STP-March Formula 3 team and replaced by Jochen Mass. This followed a period characterized by a series of mechanical failures, and which culminated in a decision by Hunt, against the express instructions of March director Max Mosley, to race at Monaco in a March from a different team, unexpectedly vacated by driver Jean-Claude Alzerat, after Hunt's own March had first broken down and then been hit by another competitor in a practice lap.
After the termination of his racing relationship with STP-March, Hunt joined the Hesketh team, where he was seen as a kindred spirit. The team initially entered Hunt in Formula Two with little success but Lord Hesketh announced that they might as well fail in F1 as in F2, as it wasn't significantly more expensive.

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