Special James Hunt celebration adds Grand Prix glitter to the UK’s most popular motor show
It is more than 12 years since Formula One cars famously roared up and down Regent Street – but now Grand Prix racers are returning to the prestigious shopping destination right in the heart of the nation’s capital city.
Visitors to next month’s free-to-view Regent Street Motor Show (Saturday, 5 November) – a Royal Automobile Club event – will once again be treated to the sight of F1 cars in the West End.
Now firmly established as the country’s most popular automotive spectacle with 450,000 attending last November, this year’s Regent Street Motor Show will mark the 40th anniversary of James Hunt’s extraordinary World Championship winning campaign in 1976 as told in the award-winning movieRush.
Renowned for his playboy lifestyle, Hunt lived most of his life in London before his untimely death from a heart attack at home in Wimbledon at the age of just 45 in 1993. His crowning career moment came on 24 October, 1976 and that milestone will be celebrated with a special display on Regent Street.
James’ title-winning McLaren M23 will be on show and his son, Freddie – who bears a striking resemblance to his dashing father – will be present for photographs and signings of a special commemorative book during the day.
“This has been a very special year for all the Hunt family, with a number a great events honouring my dad’s remarkable achievements in overcoming Niki Lauda to win the championship 40 years ago,” said Freddie. “By all accounts, dad loved London and knew the West End and its night clubs rather well, so where better to end this salute than on Regent Street?”
The appearance of Freddie and the championship-winning McLaren will not be F1’s only presence on Regent Street. Further south and closer to Piccadilly Circus, the Silverstone Classic display will have several iconic grand prix cars from the Eighties on show. The annual event is the world’s biggest classic motor racing festival and it will be maximising its attendance at the Show by launching Early Bird ticket sales for next summer’s three-day high-octane extravaganza (21-23 July).
Adding to the experience, visitors will also be able to savour an eye-opening high-speed ride in Lewis Hamilton’s F1 car aboard the Top Gear simulator, and eyeball a contemporary Red Bull F1 car courtesy of the team’s lubricants partner Total.
With the entire length of Regent Street from Piccadilly Circus to Oxford Circus closed to traffic for the day, Formula One will not be the only show in town. The hundreds of thousands of visitors will also be treated to cars dating right back to the dawn of motoring, as well as a glimpse into the future.
No fewer than 100 pioneering machines from the pre-1905 era will be preparing for the following day’s epic journey from London to Brighton on the legendary Bonhams Veteran Car Run supported by Hiscox. Turning the clocks forward, Regent Street will also be packed with the latest pure electric and plug-in hybrid cars that could condemn today’s conventional petrol and diesel-propelled machines to their own chapter in the motoring history books.
As well as the F1 racers plus the cars of yesterday and the cars of tomorrow, crowds will be able to savour dozens of classic cars, supercars and bikes. There’s entertainment from the Steve Colley Stunt Bike display team and regular street theatre performances from the West End Kids.
And, of course, there’s plenty of opportunity to get a little early Christmas shopping done, too, in some of Regent Street’s flagship stores.