Heritage

AFTER INHERITING HIS FAMILY FORTUNE AT THE AGE OF 21, THE ECCENTRIC ARISTOCRAT AND RACING ENTHUSIAST, LORD THOMAS ALEXANDER FERMOR-HESKETH SET OUT TO BE ONE OF THE MOST FLAMBOYANT RACING TEAM OWNERS IN FORMULA 1 HISTORY. IN 1972, THE LORD AND HIS FRIEND BUBBLES HORSLEY STARTED IN SEVERAL FORMULA THREE EVENTS AROUND EUROPE, WITH THE OBJECTIVE TO HAVE AS MUCH FUN AS POSSIBLE. SINCE BOTH OF THEM WERE LACKING TALENT AND EXPERIENCE, THEY HIRED JAMES HUNT AS THEIR DRIVER WHO HAD BEEN FIRED FROM THE MARCH F3 TEAM DUE TO CRASHING SEVERAL CARS.


HUNT'S LIFESTYLE WAS AS CONTROVERSIAL AS SOME OF THE EVENTS ON TRACK. HE WAS ASSOCIATED WITH A SUCCESSION OF BEAUTIFUL WOMEN, HE PREFERRED TO TURN UP TO FORMAL FUNCTIONS IN BARE FEET AND JEANS, HE WAS A CASUAL USER OF MARIJUANA AND HE LIVED AN INFORMAL LIFE NEAR THE BEACH IN MARBELLA. HE WAS REGULARLY SEEN ATTENDING NIGHTCLUBS AND DISCOS AND WAS GENERALLY THE LIFE AND SOUL OF THE PARTY. HE FAMOUSLY WORE BADGES ON HIS RACING OVERALLS THAT READ; “SEX - BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS”, OR “SEX IS A HIGH PERFORMANCE THING”.


ONCE HUNT WAS ON BOARD AND BOTH FORMULA 3 CARS WERE CRASHED, THE LORD DECIDED TO MOVE TO FORMULA 2, AND BOUGHT HUNT A SURTEES F2. HUNT THEN PROMPTLY CRASHED THE CAR AT THE PAU GRAND PRIX IN TYPICAL STYLE; HESKETH WAS FRUSTRATED IN F2 SO HE JUST DECIDED TO SWITCH TO FORMULA 1. HESKETH’S TEAM REFERRED TO HIM AS “LE PATRON”, THE NOM DE GUERRE ADORNING HIS HESKETH RACING TOGS; HUNT CALLED HIM “THE GOOD LORD”, THE F1 ESTABLISHMENT CALLED HIM AN ASSHOLE.

THE TEAM SET OUT TO ANNOY THE MOTOR RACING FRATERNITY WITH ITS GAUDY UNIFORMS AND EXCESSIVE SPENDING. THE CARS WERE RUN IN RED, WHITE AND BLUE COLOURS, HESKETH REFUSING TO RUN WITH SPONSORSHIP. THE HESKETH TEAM HAD A GROWING REPUTATION FOR THEIR PLAYBOY STYLE, ARRIVING AT RACES IN HELICOPTERS, ROLLS-ROYCE AND PORSCHE CARRERAS, DRINKING CHAMPAGNE REGARDLESS OF THEIR RESULTS AND CHECKING THE ENTIRE TEAM INTO FIVE-STAR HOTELS. FOR THE FIRST RACE IN F1, THE HESKETH TEAM ROLLED IN THE MOTE-CARLO HARBOUR IN TWO PRIVATE YACHTS ACCOMPANIED BY A LARGE FEMALE ENTOURAGE CELEBRATING THEIR F1 DEBUT.


HUNT FINISHED THE FIRST RACE 7TH AND HUNG-OVER. THE FIRST WIN FOR THE TEAM WAS IN THE NETHERLANDS AND LORD HESKETH VAGUELY REMEMBERS “THE PARTY STARTED BEFORE THE RACE AND ENDED IN A LAKE NEAR EASTON NESTON, THE NEXT DAY!”. IN ITS FIRST F1 SEASON, HESKETH RACING RAN SEVEN GRAND PRIX, GATHERED IN FOURTEEN CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS, AND HAD TWO PODIUM (TOP THREE) FINISHES. IN 1975 THE TEAM EARNED THIRTY-THREE POINTS AND FINISHED FOURTH IN THE CHAMPIONSHIP WITH FOUR PODIUM FINISHES. IN ITS FIRST THREE YEARS, HESKETH RACING HAD RACKED UP ONE GRAND PRIX WIN, NINE PODIUM APPEARANCES, AND SIXTY-TWO CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS. AT THE AGE OF 24 LORD HESKETH RELEASED AN ONE HOUR AUTOBIOGRAPHY PORTRAYING HIS LIFE.