81MM to celebrate Niki Lauda with track demonstration

20th February 2024
Ben Miles

Niki Lauda won his first F1 Grand Prix 50 years ago at the 1974 Spanish Grand Prix. Forty years ago in 1984 he won his third and final Formula 1 drivers’ championship. So this year the 81st Goodwood Members’ Meeting will celebrate the life and incredible career of the three-time World Champion.


Tomorrow (22nd February) would have been Lauda’s 75th birthday, the perfect time to announce our on-track celebration of the Austrian maestro. This will see a single McLaren MP4/2B pounding round the Goodwood Motor Circuit, paying homage to its illustrious former driver.

Lauda remains the only driver to have won the title with both Ferrari and McLaren (something Lewis Hamilton will hope to emulate in the coming seasons). His first championship came in 1975 with the Scuderia and he followed up with a second in 1977. Retirement followed at the end of 1979, but Lauda was coaxed back for another crack at F1 in 1982.


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He proved almost immediately that he still had it, winning his third race after returning and a third championship followed when McLaren introduced its turbocharged MP4/2 in 1984. The MP4/2B was Lauda’s final F1 car, in which he took his final grand prix win, at the Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort in 1985.

Despite all of his championship successes Lauda was perhaps just as famous for his single-season F1 rivalry with James Hunt and his incident at the Nürburgring. Lauda and Hunt went head-to-Head during the 1976 season, during which Niki suffered his famous crash at the Nürburgring.

In perhaps the most heroic showcase of motorsport bravery ever seen, Lauda refused to let the horrific burns to his head and hands stop him. Just six weeks later, his burns still covered in bandages, Lauda returned to the cockpit at the Italian Grand Prix, where he finished an astonishing fourth. Despite not winning the championship, in part due to the races he was forced to miss, Lauda’s 1976 season will go down in history as one of the most incredible yet seen.


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Lauda was just as driven away from the circuit as he was on it. Between his stints in F1 he founded his own airline Lauda Air, after he retired for a second time he became a consultant for Ferrari before running Jaguar’s F1 team from 2001 to 2002. In 2012 he became non-executive chairman of Mercedes' F1 efforts, spearheading the team’s signing of Lewis Hamilton. He was part of the team until he passed away in 2019.

Speaking about the announcement the Duke of Richmond said: “It’s a privilege to be honouring Niki Lauda at this year’s Members’ Meeting and Festival of Speed.

"The word ‘Icon’ is overused, but Niki was certainly that. He achieved incredible success in everything he did, from driving to team management, and even running an airline, and always on his own terms.

"It was a pleasure to welcome him to Goodwood, including the final time in 2017, when he joined us for our tribute to his friend Bernie Ecclestone. He was straight talking and irreverent, but also intelligent, charming and funny, and is much-missed by all who knew him.

"This year’s special moments will pay tribute to his outstanding racing career and celebrate his influence and enduring legacy across the world of motorsport.”

Images courtesy of Motorsport Images.

  • 81MM

  • Members' Meeting

  • Niki Lauda

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    Members' Meeting

    Remembering Niki Lauda in the best possible way at 81MM

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    Members' Meeting

    81MM timetable

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    Members' Meeting

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