Incredible handwritten notes found in cockpit of F1 icon’s McLaren car

Sam Cooper
Messages on James Hunt's McLaren.

James Hunt drove for McLaren between 1976 and 1978, winning the world title in his first year.

McLaren have shared some of the last-minute messages given to James Hunt before he took to the track.

Hunt was one of the many legendary figures to have raced for McLaren and a gold statue of him was unveiled last year at the team’s base in Woking.

The Brit drove for McLaren between 1976 and 1978, winning the world title in his first year, and it seems his engineers wanted to remind him of one thing more than most…

McLaren share historic messages given to legendary James Hunt

McLaren took to social media to share some of the messages that had been stuck to the inside of Hunt’s cockpit for him to read moments before a race.

Of the four messages shared, there was a running theme through all of them – brake pads!

“There may only be four corners here,” the message read, most likely referring to Fuji. “But you still need brakes!! New pads.”

Another message read “Have a nice day now ya hear… New pads (Christ not again!!!)”

“Due to the lack of display space on this model,” one message said as it was stuck to the very small windscreen. “This message will be short and sweet…pads!”

The last-minute messages were clearly encouraging Hunt, who built a reputation for his crashes and earned the nickname Hunt the Shunt, to warm up his new brake pads first before going full throttle.

The only message that did not mention pads instead came with a note most likely his son Tom.

“Dear James – you’ll be happy to know nothing is new – go to it Dad!!” recommends

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Hunt is one of four drivers honoured with a statue at the MTC including founder Bruce McLaren, Ayrton Senna and Hunt’s friend and rival Niki Lauda.

Even if their rivalry was fierce on the track, they were good friends off it as confirmed by Hunt’s son Freddie following Lauda’s death in 2019.

“The reality was they were far closer friends than what was portrayed in the movie [Rush],” Hunt told Sky Sports.

“They were very good friends – I think they even shared a flat together at one point during their F3 days. They were two young guys growing up through the racing ranks together.

“They maintained their friendship for the rest of my father’s life.

“What I’ve known of Niki – he’s always been very supportive and given me great advice, and a lot of constructive criticism which is good.

“It’s very sad to lose him, very sad indeed.”

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