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Denny Hulme
HulmeDenis196508.jpg
Nationality New Zealand New Zealander
Formula One World Championship career
Active years 1965 - 1974
Teams Brabham, McLaren
Races 112
Championships 1 (1967)
Wins 8
Podiums 33
Career points 248
Pole positions 1
Fastest laps 9
First race 1965 Monaco Grand Prix
First win 1967 Monaco Grand Prix
Last win 1974 Argentine Grand Prix
Last race 1974 United States Grand Prix

Denis Clive "Denny" Hulme OBE (18 June 1936–4 October 1992) was a New Zealand car racer, the 1967 Formula One World Champion for the Brabham team.

Hulme later went on to race for McLaren in Formula One, the Canadian-American Challenge Cup series (for Group 7 sports cars), and at Indianapolis. He was CanAm champion in 1968 (driving the McLaren M8A) and 1970 (driving the McLaren M8D "Batmobile"). He drove the McLaren M8F in 1971; teammate Peter Revson won the CanAm championship that year. Hulme and Revson drove the McLaren M20 in the 1972 CanAm races, but the M20 was overpowered by Roger Penske's Porsche 917s (driven by Mark Donohue and George Follmer). Hulme retired from Formula One at the end of the 1974 season but continued to race Australian Touring Cars. Hulme's death, caused by a heart attack whilst driving a BMW M3 during the Bathurst 1000, made him the first former Formula One champion to die of natural causes.

Contents

Early racing career

He was born and raised on a tobacco farm belonging to his parents in Motueka in the South Island of New Zealand. His father Alfred Hulme was awarded a Victoria Cross while fighting in Crete in 1941.

Denny Hulme left school and went to work in a garage. He saved up enough money to buy an MG TF, promptly entering this in hillclimbing events. After making impressive progress he purchased a Cooper-Climax, subsequently being chosen for the New Zealand driver to Europe program. Once there, he worked as a mechanic in Jack Brabham's garage in Chessington and began to pave his way on his motor-racing path.

In 1961 he appeared at Le Mans for the Abarth team, before Ken Tyrrell invited the likable (but sometimes gruff) New Zealander to race in his Formula 2 team. After some impressive performances there, it was his old boss Jack Brabham who gave Hulme the call and he joined the Australian legend's F2 team. The pair set about dominating the Championship that year, resulting in a one–two finish in the European Championship.

Formula One career

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1965–1966

After making numerous appearances in non-championship events for Brabham, Denny finally got the call he had been waiting for, making his World Championship debut in 1965 at Monaco. Later that year, he scored his first points, for fourth position at the daunting Clermont-Ferrand (Charade) circuit in France.

1966 was Hulme's first full season of Formula One. Now, after the departure of Dan Gurney, he was the outright number two at Brabham behind Jack himself. Finishing a fine fourth that year, the highlights came. A third place at Reims in France, a second behind Brabham at Brands Hatch, and the fastest lap at Zandvoort, before ignition problems put paid to his race there.

1967

The 1967 Championship was essentially an internal affair within the Brabham team for most of the year, but the new Lotus 49 gave Jim Clark and Graham Hill the opportunity to bite back. But two wins in the 11-race Championship, at Monte Carlo and the ferocious Nürburgring (the Green Hell), and a series of strong points finishes, gave Hulme the advantage. He won the Championship by five points from Brabham, and a further five from Jim Clark. Hulme was the first (and to date, only) Formula One World Champion from New Zealand.

1968–1974

1968 USGP at Watkins Glen.
Photo by Bob Sanderson

1968 saw a move to the McLaren team, owned by fellow Kiwi Bruce McLaren. The South African race, held at the legendary Kyalami circuit, proved difficult for the team. Despite having to use the old BRM V12 engines on an old M5A chassis, Denny brought it home a creditable fifth.

By the Spanish round at Jarama, the awesome Cosworth V8 engine was installed in the brand new M7A chassis and the good times rolled. At the Spanish round Hulme picked up second before taking two more wins that year at Monza and in Canada, leaving him with an outside chance of retaining the Championship crown against Graham Hill and the young Jackie Stewart.

The finale, in Mexico City, determined the champion that year—but unfortunately for Denny he was robbed by a suspension failure on his McLaren.

1969 was a disaster for Hulme: the revised M7A chassis struggled with reliability and Hulme managed only 20 points, attaining one victory—ironically, in light of the previous season's events, at the final round in Mexico. Hulme ended the season in sixth position in the drivers' standings.

1970 brought a new decade, but Hulme's luck didn't change. Team boss and great friend Bruce McLaren was killed whilst testing the CanAm McLaren M8D, which affected Denny. Another problem occurred that year when he severely burned his hands from methanol when his car caught fire during practice for the legendary Indy 500. As a result, he missed the Dutch Grand Prix in 1970. Undeterred, he still managed a creditable fourth in the championship with 27 points.

1971 started with a bang. At Kyalami, he led dominantly—but the rising-rate suspension system forced him out, after only a few laps. The McLaren team were in disarray. Hulme set the fastest laps in Canada and the United States that year—but results were hard to come by. Denny ended up ninth in the standings for 1971.

Beauty, fragrance and men's products company Yardley took over title sponsorship of a new McLaren in 1972, and it paid dividends for Denny. Partnered with good friend Peter Revson, Denny was back on winning ways taking victory in South Africa, and a few fine podiums elsewhere, finishing 1972 in third place with 39 points.

Amazingly, Hulme scored only one pole position in his F1 career, in 1973 at Kyalami—he appeared to have a good relationship with the South African venue. However, Hulme was outshone by friend and team-mate Peter Revson in 1973, and he finished a place down on the American in sixth, 12 points adrift.

He and Revson had built up a strong friendship off the back of their F1 comraderie—they also competed together in the Can-Am series. When Revson left McLaren at the end of 1973 to join Shadow, Hulme would have been disappointed.

After the Brazilian Grand Prix in which Denny finished in twelfth place, testing at Kyalami commenced. Revson lost control of his car, veering head-on into the barriers. Hulme tried in vain to save his friend's life, but to no avail. After the accident Hulme announced that he would see out 1974 before retiring from Grand Prix racing. However, other than winning the Argentine event and coming home second in Austria, he did not make much of an impact on the season, and he retired dignified at the end of the year.

Other series

Denny Hulme in 1973.

Can-Am (1966–1972)

Hulme's debut season in the Cam-Am series heralded no points, but the year after, in the year of his F1 Championship win, he came home second in the series, behind team leader Bruce McLaren. Hulme's first Can-Am championship came his way in 1968, taking victories at Elkhart Lake, Edmonton and in Las Vegas and notching up 35 points. 1969 saw the McLaren team dominate the series; they won every race, with multiple 1–2 finishes, and even a 1–2–3 finish when Dan Gurney drove the spare M8B. Hulme scored five victories to eventually come home second again behind McLaren, this time on 160 points. In 1970, in difficult circumstances, he took his second Can-Am title, as the team mourned the loss of Bruce McLaren who had died while testing the new Can-Am car (the M8D) at Goodwood. Hulme took the championship with 132 points—more than double the number of second-placed Lothar Motschenbacher. In 1971 Hulme's teammate was his good friend Peter Revson. Revson took the Can-Am crown that year with Hulme in second. In his final Can-Am year, again teamed with Revson (both driving Mclaren M20s), he took a record 22nd series victory. Hulme ended up second in the competition with 65 points.

Indy 500

Hulme competed in the Indianapolis 500 on four occasions: 1967, 1968, 1969, and 1971. His best results in the event were in 1967 and 1968, both times finishing fourth. He did not compete in the 1970 race, due to methanol burns to the hands after a fire during practice.

After F1

After leaving the sport, Hulme led the GPDA (Grand Prix Drivers' Association) for a brief period, but the cut and thrust nature of the post was ill-suited to his gentlemanly nature and he did not fill the post for very long. He then retired to New Zealand, returning to touring cars in the early 1980s, driving for the concern of the well-travelled Scot, Tom Walkinshaw, racing for his Austin Rover team in the European Touring Car Championship.

Death

A favourite event of Hulme's was the Bathurst 1000, held at the famous Mount Panorama track in Australia. In the 1992 event he was driving a semi-works supported BMW M3 when after complaining over the car to pits radio of blurred vision (originally thought to be because of the heavy rain) Hulme suffered a massive heart attack at the wheel whilst driving along the 187 mph (301 km/h) Conrod Straight. After veering into the wall on the right side of the track at about 140 mph (230 km/h), he managed to bring the car to a relatively controlled stop sliding against the safety railing and concrete wall. When marshals reached the scene they found Hulme still strapped in. He was taken from the car straight to Bathurst Hospital where he was officially pronounced dead.

Before 1960 he was known for his preference for driving barefoot and it was not until 1960 that people convinced him to start racing with shoes on. His nickname at the time was "The Barefoot Boy From Te Puke". His nickname in his later racing life was "The Bear" due to the fact he could be irascible and even rude with those who rubbed him up the wrong way.

Awards

Formula One World Championship results

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position)

Year Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 WDC Points
1965 Brabham Racing Organisation Brabham BT7 Climax V8 RSA MON
8
BEL GER
Ret
11th 5
Brabham BT11 Climax V8 FRA
4
GBR
Ret
NED
5
ITA
Ret
USA MEX
1966 Brabham Racing Organisation Brabham BT22 Climax L4 MON
Ret
BEL
Ret
4th 18
Brabham BT20 Repco V8 FRA
3
GBR
2
NED
Ret
GER
Ret
ITA
3
USA
Ret
MEX
3
1967 Brabham Racing Organisation Brabham BT20 Repco V8 RSA
4
MON
1
NED
3
1st 51
Brabham BT19 Repco V8 BEL
Ret
Brabham BT24 Repco V8 FRA
2
GBR
2
GER
1
CAN
2
ITA
Ret
USA
3
MEX
3
1968 Bruce McLaren Motor Racing McLaren M5A BRM V12 RSA
5
3rd 33
McLaren M7A Ford V8 ESP
2
MON
5
BEL
Ret
NED
Ret
FRA
5
GBR
4
GER
7
ITA
1
CAN
1
USA
Ret
MEX
Ret
1969 Bruce McLaren Motor Racing McLaren M7A Ford V8 RSA
3
ESP
4
MON
6
NED
4
FRA
10
GBR
Ret
GER
Ret
ITA
7
CAN
Ret
USA
Ret
MEX
1
6th 20
1970 Bruce McLaren Motor Racing McLaren M14A Ford V8 RSA
2
ESP
Ret
MON
4
BEL NED FRA
4
GBR
3
GER
3
AUT
Ret
ITA
4
CAN
Ret
USA
7
MEX
3
4th 27
1971 Bruce McLaren Motor Racing McLaren M19A Ford V8 RSA
6
ESP
5
MON
4
NED
12
FRA
Ret
GBR
Ret
GER
Ret
AUT
Ret
ITA
CAN
4
USA
Ret
13th 9
1972 Yardley Team McLaren McLaren M19A Ford V8 ARG
2
RSA
1
ESP
Ret
3rd 39
McLaren M19C Ford V8 MON
15
BEL
3
FRA
7
GBR
5
GER
Ret
AUT
2
ITA
3
CAN
3
USA
3
1973 Yardley Team McLaren McLaren M19C Ford V8 ARG
5
BRA
3
6th 26
McLaren M23 Ford V8 RSA
5
ESP
6
BEL
7
MON
6
SWE
1
FRA
8
GBR
3
NED
Ret
GER
12
AUT
8
ITA
15
CAN
12
USA
4
1974 Marlboro Team Texaco McLaren M23 Ford V8 ARG
1
BRA
12
RSA
9
ESP
6
BEL
6
MON
Ret
SWE
Ret
NED
Ret
FRA
6
GBR
7
GER
Ret
AUT
2
ITA
6
CAN
6
USA
Ret
7th 20

Indy 500 results

Year Car Start Qual Rank Finish Laps Led Retired
1967 69 24 163.376 20 4 197 0 Flagged
1968 42 20 164.189 19 4 200 0 Running
1969 42 25 165.092 25 18 145 0 Clutch
1971 85 4 174.910 4 17 137 0 Valve
Totals 679 0
Starts 4
Poles 0
Front Row 0
Wins 0
Top 5 2
Top 10 2
Retired 2

External links

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Jackie Stewart
Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year
Indianapolis 500
Rookie of the Year
Succeeded by
Bill Vukovich II
Preceded by
Jack Brabham
Formula One World Champion
1967
Succeeded by
Graham Hill
Preceded by
Mike Parkes
BRDC International Trophy
Winner

1968
Succeeded by
Jack Brabham
Preceded by
Bruce McLaren
Can-Am
Champion

1968
Succeeded by
Bruce McLaren
Preceded by
Bruce McLaren
Can-Am
Champion

1970
Succeeded by
Peter Revson
Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Jack Brabham
Hawthorn Memorial Trophy
1967
Succeeded by
Graham Hill
Preceded by
Jackie Stewart
Hawthorn Memorial Trophy
1970
Succeeded by
Jackie Stewart
Preceded by
Jackie Stewart
Hawthorn Memorial Trophy
1974
Succeeded by
James Hunt

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