JAN 16th 2015

Video: 'Flat‑out and Fearless' – James Hunt at Mount Fuji '76

When we decided to celebrate the 2015 Festival of Speed theme: ‘Flat-out and Fearless: Racing on the Edge, there were a few videos that were shoo-ins. One was Senna at Donington in 1993 and another was James Hunt’s triumph at Mount Fuji in 1976. 

Although the film Rush did a fine job of portraying the rollercoaster 1976 season, this BBC footage shows the horror of the abject weather conditions at Fuji that day when Hunt finally triumphed. Looking at the state of the surface, it’s hard to imagine a modern Grand Prix taking place, so poor was the visibility. Yet take place it did.

The story of the race has been told so many times that there seems little point in reminding you of the plot, partially because you ideally need to be familiar with the story of the entire season in order to understand the context of this, the final round. But to sum things up briefly; despite being close to death after his accident at the Nürburgring, Niki Lauda held a three-point lead over Hunt going into this race. Mario Andretti was on pole, followed by Hunt and Lauda. Hunt took the lead at the start, but on lap two Lauda retired his Ferrari on the grounds that the race was unsafe. It’s worth noting that Larry Perkins, Carlos Pace and Emerson Fittipaldi also came to the same conclusion.  

But even though Hunt then found himself leading and with his only rival out of the race, things weren’t to be quite so simple. This seems like a good point to stop bean-spilling and leave this epic footage to transport you back to a saturated mountain circuit in 1976 and the thrilling conclusion to the race and the championship.

Share this