Article written by Stuart McKay of The BHP Project
There have been many incredible battles and rivalries through the history of the Formula 1 racing series. With the only possible exception of Senna vs Prost, Niki Lauda vs James Hunt in the 1976 season is one of the most well documented and incredible rivalries to ever grace the F1 circuit.
Never before that season had anyone seen their sort of intense determination and will to beat a rival, which is quite surprising, given the two extremely different personalities involved. Niki Lauda was an intense character. He only ever drove to win, anything less was never good enough. He would arrive at the track at 5 am and not leave until the early hours of the next morning to make sure that no stone was left unturned.
James Hunt, on the other hand was a playboy. Throughout his time with Hesketh, his race suit adorned the logo “Sex, the breakfast of Champions,” and that is very much how he lived his life. Whereas Niki could be found arriving at a race track in the early hours, James was more often than not arriving at his hotel room with women.
This intense battle caught the imagination of Hollywood director Ron Howard, who, in turn, created the movie “RUSH.” With the story basically already written, Ron set about creating a cinematic masterpiece. Given the value of the authentic race cars, they clearly couldn’t use the original McLaren and Ferrari in the racing footage. Although other originals were used during filming, they set about making their own versions of Lauda and Hunt’s cars. The craftsmanship involved was so incredible that not even the original mechanics could tell the difference between vintage and replica.
The tracks and races were filmed using a hybrid combination of live action and CG. According to a Sept. 13, 2013 interview conducted by F1fanatic.co.uk with Howard, “If they were going to be destroyed we’d start with a replica and then destruction would be [computer-generated] elements or something added to it,” explained Howard, “but everybody involved in the movie knew the cars, the replicas being built, would have to sit side-by-side with the real thing.”
(See also: 1987 Lamborghini Countach 5000 QV for Sale)
Given the value of the original cars, the chances of someone owning one are pretty slim. However, those chances are ever-so slightly improved, thanks to this film.
The guys over at The Prop Store have more than 50 items from the film available for auction throughout the year, but probably the most exciting of all is the replica version of Niki Lauda’s Ferrari 312T.
The 312T was the car in which Niki won the ’75 championship. This is the ‘tall air box’ incarnation. After only a few races in the ’76 season, the teams were forced to remove the popular tall air boxes for low ones, then dubbed the 312T2. Niki’s horrific crash came at the 76 Nurburgring GP in the 312T2.
The car is in full working order, full spec details can be found below, and hopefully the new owner might be kind enough to let The BHP Project review the car at a track day sometime in the future.
Full details of how to register to bid can be found here: http://www.propstore.com/auction.
Ferrari 312T Replica ‘Niki Lauda’
Overall length 4600m
Max height at roll hoop 1200mm
Max height at top of air intake 1300mm
Max width rear wheels 2000mm
Max width front wheels 1750mm
Wheelbase centre front to rear wheels 2750mm
Empty of fuel and dry tank
Chassis: Mygale chassis circa 2002 – they supply cars for Formula Ford, Renault and Three. This is believed to be a Formula Ford chassis.
Engine: 2litre Duratec Ford. Dry sump lubrication system
Gearbox: Hewland FT200 H pattern change.