James Hunt warmed up to win the Formula One title by bedding 33 flight attendants in a fortnight.
The Surrey racer etched his name into F1 history by winning the 1976 world championship ahead of the great Niki Lauda. Hunt headed into the final race of the campaign in Japan with the title still firmly in the balance.
But the randy McLaren racer prepared unlike any other driver and carried on with his usual playboy antics despite facing enormous pressure.
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Hunt stayed in a Tokyo hotel used as a stopover by airline cabin crew as he prepared for the title-deciding Japanese Grand Prix, before living up to his reputation as a certified playboy.
His then-McLaren team manager Alastair Caldwell claimed it meant “every morning there was a fresh supply of females”.
He added: “James would bounce up to them in his shorts and bare feet, say, ‘Hello, I’m James Hunt,’ and take them straight upstairs for a party. This happened every day for a fortnight.’’
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Just minutes before the race, the driver was caught romping with a Japanese girl in the pit garage. But Hunt – who had “Sex, Breakfast of Champions” embroidered on his overalls – finished third to win the 1976 title.
His antics carried on post-race, with the celebrations as wild as one would have expected. The Brit’s heroics were recognised with a ceremony at the British Embassy, but Hunt was reportedly nearly refused entry due to his drunken state.
Caldwell said Hunt, who died of a heart attack aged 45 in 1993, could have found “action in a bus station in Bognor Regis on a rainy Sunday night”.
Director Ron Howard, 68, who documented his life in the film Rush, said: “I could do a three-year TV series on that ’76 F1 season. There was so much cool s**t going on.’’
Hunt is regarded as one of the top British racers to take to the track despite only driving on the F1 circuit for six years.
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