Czech art house Unique & Limited create ‘Hunting for Victory’ to celebrate James Hunt ‘s 1976 F1 title win at Fuji. New McLaren video goes behind the scenes
September 1976. Niki Lauda crosses the line to finish the Italian Grand Prix in fourth place, a drive that remains among the most heroic the sport has ever seen. Two races, and only six weeks earlier, the Austrian had crashed on lap two of the German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring, the resulting injuries from his fiery exit leaving him close to death, and surely, his Grand Prix career over. James Hunt, already 36 points behind, now seemed a shoe-in for the championship, a dominant win at the Dutch Grand Prix making him a bookie’s favourite.
At Monza however, as a stoic, heavily bandaged Lauda took his well-deserved plaudits, Hunt watched the celebrations on TV, having spun his McLaren M23 out of the race on lap 26. Ultimately, with the Briton bouncing back to win in Canada and the United States, the championship would come down to THAT sodden race at Fuji, the plucky playboy proving his mettle in perhaps his greatest F1 outing as a no-less heroic Lauda, still driving in great pain, bravely decided against competing in the treacherous conditions. It’s a race, and a season, filled with drama and intrigue, and one that continues to represent Formula 1 40 years on.
No real surprise that, to celebrate four decades since arguably F1’s most famous season, McLaren commissioned a celebratory artwork of the M23 single seater Hunt drove to third place to secure the 1976 F1 championship. Entitled ‘ Hunting for Victory ’ and created by Czech design company Unique & Limited, the piece is a combination of hand-drawn designs and computer generated imagery to create among the most authentic pieces ever created.
Seriously, the attention to detail is ridiculous. Rain droplets on Hunt’s helmet have been conceptually added as they would appear in the slipstream of a Formula 1 car. A scale model of the MP23 was taken apart piece-by-piece to make sure every detail was replicated perfectly. Even Hunt’s son Freddie spent time in front of the camera – playing his father – in replica race overalls for the ‘movie-style shoot’. 1600 man-hours were spent to bring the art to fruition, with three months alone being spent on the car, the story of which you can read about in the Making of video above.
Fans of the piece may want to move quickly though with wallets in-hand, since the limited edition piece is available in three different formats. 400 20 x 8in pieces will be printed for $225, 40 43.3 x 18.5in pieces will be produced for $1400 apiece, and only four of the 86.6 x 37in prints will be available at $6000.