Friday, November 12, 2010

This month in the world of killin’ it: James Hunt

While, we’ve had to sit a few rounds out, there was one news piece that especially stood out over the last month, which we’d like to bring to everyone’s attention.  It’s a Daily Mail piece on Formula One race car driver, James Hunt, that truly reestablishes the boundaries of killin’ it.  We feel this piece deserves a post of its own and accordingly, we’ve pulled some of the best nuggets from the article.

The James Hunt guide to preparing for the most important race in your life:

James Hunt was not known for behaving appropriately. But never was he more outrageous than in the last two weeks of October 1976, when he was in Tokyo battling Niki Lauda for the title of Formula One world motor racing champion.

His preparations were unconventional, to say the least. He had spent the two weeks leading up to the race on a round-the-clock alcohol, cannabis and cocaine binge with his friend Barry Sheene, who was world motorcycle champion that year.

While Jackie Stewart famously abstained from sex a week before a motor race, Hunt would often have sex minutes before climbing into the cockpit…

In Japan, his playground of choice was the Tokyo Hilton, where every morning British Airways stewardesses were dropped off at reception for a 24-hour stopover.

Hunt unfailingly met them as they checked in and invited them to his suite for a party — they always said yes.

It wasn’t unusual for him and Sheene to have sex with all of the women, often together…

No one watching Hunt that week in 1976 would have believed he was preparing for the race of his life.

At the circuit, he had been behaving bizarrely — at one point dropping his overalls and urinating in full view of the crowds in the grandstand.

The spectators, many of whom had powerful binoculars trained on him, applauded once he had finished.

In the end, all the sex and drugs paid off for Hunt, as he went on to win the world title and celebrated in truly excessive but entirely appropriate killin’ it fashion:

At a British Embassy reception in his honour, Hunt was so drunk that the ambassador hesitated to let him in.

The return flight on Japan Airlines had been block-booked by F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone’s travel company and was the scene for a riotous 12-hour party that drained the plane of alcohol.

When Hunt arrived back at Heathrow airport, 2,000 fans were waiting to greet him. He staggered down the steps of the aircraft, drunk, into the arms of his mother Sue and his beautiful, long- suffering girlfriend Jane Birbeck. 

Clearly Hunt wasn’t just a winner on the race course, he was also a winner with the ladies.  Over the course of his 43 year long life it’s reported that he bedded roughly 5,000 women.  

Assuming he started in his mid teens, that comes out to a new woman every other day for the remainder of his life.  When he decided to get married, he tied the knot with British model Suzy Miller:

The day of the wedding was a farce. At six o’clock that morning, Hunt poured himself the first of many beers. Before leaving for the church, he knocked back a couple of Bloody Marys. By the time he walked up the aisle, he was hopelessly intoxicated…

The following day, they left for their honeymoon in Antigua and, once more, the occasion proved to be anything but straightforward.

He had invited his newly- married best friend, the Hesketh Formula One team manager Anthony ‘Bubbles’ Horsley, to come along with his new bride.

While Suzy Miller and Bubbles’ wife had undoubtedly envisaged honeymooning alone with their husbands, the two men clearly preferred each other’s company.

‘I just couldn’t handle the whole scene, so I went out and got blind, roaring drunk.’

But when married life got a little too real for Hunt, he set his wife up with British actor Richard Burton who offered to take Suzy off his hands for the hefty sum of one million pounds.  As the article explains:

Hunt was delighted his wife had found Richard Burton. The two men immediately spoke on the telephone to arrange what they called the ‘transfer’ of Suzy.

Burton offered to pay Hunt’s divorce settlement to Suzy: $1 million. Burton couldn’t believe that Hunt was so casual about letting go of his beautiful wife.

Hunt simply said: ‘Relax, Richard. You’ve done me a wonderful turn by taking on the most alarming expense account in the country.’

Miller, effectively, had been sold to Burton by Hunt for $1 million and both were satisfied with the transaction.

For Hunt, it couldn’t have worked out better; he had got rid of the wife he never wanted and saved himself the divorce costs.

Take away: If you see someone in a three piece suit, chain smoking and cruising down the Las Vegas strip in a European sports car with a rakish glint his eye, it’s probably one of thousands of illegitimate children Hunt fathered over the course of his killin’ it filled life.


  1. I was momentarily confused by "It wasn’t unusual for him and Sheene to have sex with all of the women, often together" but dismissed it, figuring that somehow, some way, it was a misprint and he and Charlie Sheen were giving some race floozies the floppy H.

  2. I thought this was going to be an article on Mike Hunt...