1978 BELGIAN GRAND PRIX
Brett Lunger, posing with Marie-Jeanne.
Eleuthere du Pont de Nemours left France after the Revolution and established a gunpowder factory in Wilmington, Delaware in 1802. The business developed into a vast and enormously wealthy chemical conglomerate, supplying, for example, 40% of all explosives used by Allied forces during World War I. Brett Lunger was born into the family at the end of World War II and by the time he was 20 he has developed a passion for racing cars, beginning with Chevrolet Corvettes in sportscar events on the East Coast of the United States.
He moved on to single-seater racing but then had to stop his racing career to do his American military service. After basic training he joined the US Marine Corps and became a member of one of the elite reconnaissance platoons. In 1968 he was sent to Vietnam were he was involved in dangerous jungle reconnaissance missions against the Viet Cong forces. After 13 months in action he went back to the US and was demobilized and he immediately went back to racing in CanAm sportscars and then in the Formula 5000 single-seater series.
Having enjoyed some success in the United States he decided to go to Europe in 1972 and try his hand at Formula 2 racing and in 1975 he made his Formula 1 debut as James Hunt's teammate with Hesketh.
In 1976 he raced for Team Surtees and then set up his own team to run a privately-entered McLaren in the 1977 and 1978 seasons. He raced in 34 Grands Prix but is probably best remembered for the role he played in rescuing Niki Lauda from his burning Ferrari at the Nurburgring in 1976. A highly-competitive individual Lunger still competes in marathons and bicycle races although he is now in his fifties.