World Champion racing
drivers Niki Lauda and James Hunt went
head-to-head in the crazy, adrenaline-
Formula 1 season
exciting, dangerous and dramatic time
for motor racing and perfectly revisited
in Hunt vs Lauda: Grand Prixs
Racing Rivals, The True Story...
FOCUSING ON THE 1976 FORMULA 1 SEASON during which James Hunt became
a contender for seemingly-unstoppable World Champion Niki Lauda's crown
Hunt vs Lauda: Grand Prix's Greatest Racing Rivals explores the relationship
between these two titans and their mutual admiration and respectful rivalry.
Driving for top team Ferrari, in 1975 Austrian Niki Lauda is the undisputed
Formula 1 Champion of the World. Mentally and physically fit, it seems nobody
can touch him. But a new potential champion is to emerge in the form of a good-looking,
charismatic and talented Briton who parties as hard as he fights for the title
for team McLaren.
Grand Prixs Greatest
dramatic, and evocative
of an exciting, yet
poignant and almost
for Formula 1...
Hunt has been hailed as one of the greatest motor racing drivers ever. His reputation
as 'Hunt the Shunt' was due to his press-on determination to win. Hunt vs
Lauda follows the drama and thrills of the race as the two top and highly-talented
racing drivers, facing sixteen gruelling races over ten months at locations
all over the world, battle it out for the supreme victory of the 1976 Season.
Unfortunately for Niki Lauda, it is a season beset with problems. Working for
the single-minded Enzo Ferrari, for whom the word 'can't' does not exist, Niki
is determined not to let the side down in Spain, the fourth round. Despite having
suffered broken ribs from a gardening accident, he decides to drive. In spite
of his best efforts, James Hunt wins the race; celebrating in his usual style
partying into the night.
As the true showman he is, when asked about the later disqualification following
a complaint about modifications to the car, James shrugs: "I just drive the
damned thing". And with Niki's points almost double that of James, it looks
to be a done deal. But fate is about to intervene.
Driving on his own soil at Brand's Hatch for the British Grand Prix, following
an accident that caused the race to be restarted, James drives to victory in
front of an ecstatic crowd. Again the decision is challenged due to a technicality
and there is a lengthy wait to find out if it is overturned.
But disaster is to strike. At the notoriously challenging and dangerous Nurburgring
track, Niki is beginning to have doubts. He talks to the other drivers about
his observations, but on the day despite torrential rain that
has left some areas of the track wet and, because of its length, some dry
the race is run.
Niki crashes and his car is engulfed in flames. He suffers serious burns to
his face and scalp and has inhaled poisonous fumes from the inferno. His life
hanging in the balance, Niki's mother speaks to a sympathetic interviewer in
a brave and poignant telephone conversation. The world waits.
Perhaps because of his steely resolve against all the odds, family man Niki
survives and his recovery is so good that he is back driving with
his wife Marlene's unwavering support after just five weeks. But
his brush with death would have affected them both badly. With the championship
at stake, Niki bravely prepares to do battle.
Hunt vs Lauda: Grand Prix's Greatest Racing Rivals is told through never-before-seen
footage and exclusive interviews with Niki Lauda, team managers Alastair Caldwell
and Daniele Audetto, families, journalists, and friends who were at the forefront.
The film perfectly captures the heart of the 1970s and the season that was to
change Formula 1 forever. A heart-stopping, dramatic and evocative must-see
documentary of an exciting, yet poignant and almost catastrophic time for Formula
James retired from motor racing in 1979 and began broadcasting, with his spot-on
observations of the sport. He died at the early age of 45 in 1993 and is sadly
In common with top racing driver of the 1950s Mike Hawthorn, who died at the
wheel of a road car after he had retired from motor racing, and unlike the great
Ayrton Senna, it was not his risky occupation that took James Hunt's life at
a young age but a heart-attack. Niki Lauder's amazing recovery would have been,
in part, due to the kind of courage it takes to make Formula 1 your life
especially during the 1970s.
It will be that same inborn determination that can pull Michael Schumacher through
as, at the time of writing, he lies in a coma following a skiing accident. Formula
1 fans' thoughts will be with him.
powerful documentary, Hunt vs Lauda: Grand Prix's Greatest Racing Rivals
originally aired on BBC4 and is released by Delta Leisure in the UK on DVD on
27 January 2014. Running Time: 52 Minutes Approximately | Catalogue Number:
96456 | RRP: £9.99.
"Hunt vs Lauda: Grand Prix's Greatest Racing Rivals… A heart-stopping,
dramatic, and evocative must-see documentary of an exciting, yet poignant and
almost catastrophic time for Formula 1" Maggie Woods
"The stuff of which myths and movies are made" Huffington Post
"Breathtaking… brought a tear to the eye ****" Metro
"I did not want to start the race at the Nurburgring… I did so out of loyalty
towards my firm and my friends. It was not a good compromise for me" Niki Lauda
"Niki was the only bloke who could get half his face burnt off and come out
better looking" James Hunt
"We were big rivals, especially at the end of the season. But I respected him
(James Hunt) because you could drive next to him two cars, wheel-by-wheel
for 300km or more and nothing would happen. He was a real top
driver at the time" Niki Lauda in an interview with Newsweek