DOES ‘RUSH’ REFERENCE THE BLACK SPIDER THAT FATALLY STRUCK SEBRING BACK IN 1957?

Formula One World Championship
“Niki Lauda had raised concerns about the safety of the track at the German Grand Prix at Nürburgring, but couldn’t convince other drivers to join him in protest. Due to a reported rear suspension failure, coupled with a wet track, his car swerved off course, hit an embankment, and burst into flames. Trapped inside the car, Lauda inhaled toxic gases and suffered severe burns to his entire head, including his scalp and eyelids. Lauda lapsed into a coma and nearly died. Yet just six weeks later, he was back on the track—and on James Hunt’s tail.” via
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This past week, Lee Raskin (motorsports historian, author, and vintage racer) wrote and said he’d recently gotten some racing friends together for a Rush viewing night in Baltimore. He shared his educated theory on a deeply intriguing scene that seems to nod to an old school racing superstition. So with all due respect, esteemed Director Ron Howard, there’s a question that begs to be asked here…
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JAMES HUNT | WHEN PLAYBOYS RULED THE WORLD AND THE RACETRACK WITH A RUSH

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James Hunt on the winner’s podium (L to R): Patrick Depailler (FRA) Tyrrell, second; race winner James Hunt (GBR) McLaren; John Watson (GBR) Penske, third. French Grand Prix, 1976. — Image © Phipps / Sutton Images / Corbis

I’m stoked to see Rush this weekend– the much anticipated film by Ron Howard on one of Formula One’s most talented and notorious drivers ever, James “The Shunt” Hunt. The seemingly insatiable ladies’ man was estimated to have had 5,000 trysts in his lifetime. History tells of a wicked weekend where buddy and fellow (motorcycle) racing legend Barry Sheene tallied 33 BA stewardesses lined-up at the door of their Tokyo Hilton suite. It’ll be interesting to see if Chris Hemsworth is able to capture his wit and charm, and if he can keep his muscles from overshadowing the memory of Hunt’s lean, lanky frame hard-earned by a physical exercise regiment consisting largely of driving, and shagging. The perfect primer for Rush is the documentary When Playboy’s ruled the World which accurately and colorfully takes you back to the glory days of Hunt & Sheene when driving was dangerous, and sex was safe. More epic photos of James Hunt in action after the video…

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SCUDERIA FERRARI FROM SILVERSTONE TO MONACO | LIFE MAGAZINE, MAY 1956

The 1956 Formula One Ferrari’s were truly modified Lancia D50’s.  The D50 debuted at the tail-end of the ’54 Formula One season, placed in the capable hands of Italy’s two-time and reigning World Champion, Alberto Ascari. He took both pole position in qualifying and fastest race lap in the D50’s very first event. On May 26th, 1955, Alberto Ascari was in Monza to watch friend and fellow driver Eugenio Castellotti test out the Ferrari 750 Monza, which they were to race together in the Supercortemaggiore 1000. About to go home for lunch with his wife, and dressed only in a simple shirt and trousers, Ascari decided to throw on Castellotti’s helmet and try out the new Ferrari. While coming out of a curve on the third lap he lost control– the Monza violently skidded, turned on its nose and somersaulted into the air. Ascari was ejected and thrown onto the track and died on the scene. After the death of their star driver, Lancia fell on hard times and sold to Scuderia Ferrari. Ferrari modified the D50, removing many of designer Vittorio Jano’s innovations. It was rebadged as the Lancia-Ferrari D50, and then simply the Ferrari D50. Juan Manuel Fangio won the 1956 World Championship of Drivers with the Ferrari modified D50. During its competitive run, the D50 raced in 14 Formula One Grands Prix, winning five of them.

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“BIG JOHN” SURTEES | THE LONE RACER MOTORCYCLE & F1 WORLD CHAMPION

In all of history it has happened only once. Only one man has ever won the World Championship in both motorcycle and auto racing– John Surtees. In 1956, at the wee age of 22 yrs old, he became the 500cc motorcycle World Champion. Then in 1960, he switched full-time to auto racing, and was crowned Formula One World Champion in 1964. At 26 yrs of age, he’d become the only man ever to win a World Championship on two wheels and four. There has been no one since, and perhaps nevermore.

Grand Prix motorcycle racing career
Active years 1952 – 1960
Teams Norton, MV Agusta
Grands Prix 49
Championships 350cc – 1958, 1959, 1960
500cc- 1956, 1958, 1959, 1960
Wins 38
Podium finishes 45
Pole positions N/A
Fastest laps 34
First Grand Prix 1952 500cc Ulster Grand Prix
First win 1955 250cc Ulster Grand Prix
Last win 1960 500cc Nations Grand Prix
Last Grand Prix 1960 500cc Nations Grand Prix

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May 10, 1964 — Ferrari designer Mauro Forghieri (ITA) manages a yawn as driver John Surtees (GBR) prepares for practice to begin in the pits. Monaco Grand Prix, Monte Carlo — Image by © Phipps/Sutton Images/Corbis

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Formula One World Championship career
Active years 1960 – 1972
Teams Lotus, Cooper, Lola, Ferrari,Honda, BRM, McLaren, Surtees
Races 113 (111 starts)
Championships 1 (1964)
Wins 6
Podiums 24
Career points 180
Pole positions 8
Fastest laps 10
First race 1960 Monaco Grand Prix
First win 1963 German Grand Prix
Last win 1967 Italian Grand Prix
Last race 1972 Italian Grand Prix

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