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  Hesketh 308 Cosworth
 

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Country of origin:Great Britain
Produced from:1974 - 1975
Numbers built:4
Designed by:Harvey Postlethwaite
Successor:Hesketh 308C Cosworth
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:May 04, 2009
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Click here to download printer friendly versionLord Alexander Hesketh was barely 22 years old when he founded Hesketh Racing in 1972. The young Lord was full of ambition and within a year climbed the ranks from Formula 3 into Formula 1. His principle driver was James Hunt, who was both hugely talented and an equally flamboyant character as his employer. As his technical man, Lord Hesketh hired a promising, young engineer named Harvey Postlethwaite. The three men's first foray into Grand Prix racing was with a March 731 improved by 'Doc' Postlethwaite. Hunt scored an impressive 14 World Championship points and finished on the podium twice in his and the team's debut season.

For 1974 Postlethwaite was commissioned to develop a brand new Formula 1 racer. Being his first ground-up design, it was not surprising that his design followed very conventional lines. The 'Hesketh 308' featured an aluminium monocoque chassis. Like many of the competitors it used a 'coke-bottle' shape. Unlike most of the 1974 Formula 1 cars, the new Hesketh still sported a nose mounted radiator. Power came from the obligatory Cosworth DFV V8 engine, which was used by all top runners except for Ferrari. Probably the most striking design feature of the 308 was the massive airbox, which was also part of Postlethwaite's modifications for the 1973 March.

There was little conventional about the Hesketh team's approach to racing. Lord Hesketh was not just very flamboyant, he was also a pure romantic, relishing the old days when the cars sported their national colours. Accordingly his car featured no sponsor names and was painted in the English colours of white with a blue and red band across the flank. With his playboy lifestyle, Hunt fitted perfectly in the picture of the young Lord. The two men were an odd couple in a world that had rapidly turned 'corporate' since the introduction of big brand sponsors in the late 1960s. And it was not just a big show, because as soon as the flag dropped Hunt and his March and later Hesketh put in stunning performances, at times challenging the well established teams.

With the first Hesketh still under construction, Hunt used the old March in the first two races of the season. The Hesketh 308 eventually debuted in March of 1974 during the Race of Champions at Brands Hatch. Hunt retired from the race and did so again a fortnight later at the car's Grand Prix debut in South Africa. Success came a week later when Hunt drove the 308 to victory in the non-championship International Trophy race at Silverstone. In the season's Grands Prix, Hunt could not challenge seasoned teams like Tyrrell, Lotus, Ferrari and McLaren for outright pace. Thanks to his steady driving and the ever improving Hesketh, he found himself on the podium three times towards the end of the season.

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  Article Image gallery (24) Chassis (2) Specifications User Comments (1)