James Hunt was the second child of Wallis (1922–2001), a stockbroker, and Sue Hunt (nee Davis).
He was a British racing driver who won the Formula One World Championship in 1976, and the subject of a book titled "Against All Odds" by Eoin Young (with collaboration from James Hunt).
Hunt's family lived in a flat in Cheam, Surrey, moved to Sutton when he was 11, and then to a larger home in Belmont.
A proficient sportsman when he was young. James played for Westerleigh School cricket team, played football, and tennis. He competed at Junior Wimbledon, and also became a keen squash player and golfer. He learned to drive while on a family holiday, on a tractor in Pembrokeshire. Only a week after he turned 17 he passed his driving test, and his driving career began. He started off racing Mini, then graduated to Formula Ford in 1968. James raced in Formula Three in 1969. A controversial incident occurred in 1970 when he was battling for second place with Dave Morgan.
Nicknamed "Hunt the Shunt" because of his many crashes early in his career, Hunt was reputed to be a volatile, highly strung man, yet also a fun-loving hedonist. He was taken up by Hesketh Racing early in his career.
He married in 1974 to Susan (Suzy) Miller  after meeting her in Spain and proposing after a few weeks' acquaintance. Suzy's career as a supermodel and James racing career saw them frequently hit the headlines. Suzy was eventually to leave James Hunt for actor Richard Burton.
James Hunt's Formula One career commenced in 1973 and ended in 1979. It started promisingly with Hunt being awarded the Campbell Trophy from the RAC marking his performance in Formula One as the best by a British driver. His 1976 season was both dramatic and controversial. He won the World Championship that year by one point.
Hunt retired from racing and began his commentary career in 1979, but made an attempted comeback in 1980 with McLaren.
In 1983 Hunt married Sarah Lomax and they had two children. The couple divorced in 1989 on grounds of adultery by Hunt.
Hunt's latter career, commenting on racing, established his reputation of technical insight and tactical knowledge. His work for the BBC providing commentary on Grand Prix gave him a platform to voice opinions on drivers not trying hard enough and to speak out against back-markers who held up race leaders. A new fanbase emerged, won over by his outspokenness, his dry sense of humour as well as his knowledge and insights.
Prior to his death James Hunt had commenced a new relationship with Helen Dyson, 18 years his junior, and was making adjustments to his lifestyle. He proposed to her on 14 June 1993.
Hunt died in his sleep on the morning of 15 June 1993 at the age of 45, of a heart attack at his home in Wimbledon. His funeral took place at St. Mary's Church, Wimbledon, followed by a cremation at Putney Vale Crematorium.
On 29 September 1993 a service was held celebrating his life at St. James's Church, Piccadilly, and attended by 600 people.
Hunt is portrayed by Australian actor Chris Hemsworth in the 2013 film Rush about the 1976 Formula One season and his rivalry with Nikki Lauda. His former wife, now Sarah Jeffery, attended the premiere, along with their sons.
On 29 January 2014, James Hunt was inducted into the Motor Sport Hall of Fame. Hunt has been the subject of several biographies and is mentioned in several books on motor racing, some of which are listed in the "See Also" section below.
Young, Eoin - "James Hunt - Against All Odds" , Published by HAMLYN (first published July 22nd 1977) ISBN 0600345726
Birth Index - Ancestry.com. England & Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index, 1916-2005 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2008. Original data: General Register Office. England and Wales Civil Registration Indexes. London, England: General Register Office. Name: James S W Hunt; Mother's Maiden Surname: Davis; Date of Registration: Jul-Aug-Sep 1947; Registration district: Surrey Mid Eastern; Inferred County: Surrey; Volume Number: 5g; Page Number: 562
Marriage Index - Ancestry.com. England & Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1916-2005 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc, 2010. Original data: General Register Office. England and Wales Civil Registration Indexes. London, England: General Register Office. Name: James S W Hunt; Date of Registration: Oct-Nov-Dec 1974; Registration district: Kensington; Inferred County: Middlesex; Spouse: Susan J Miller; Volume Number: 13; Page Number: 1474
Death - Source Information: Ancestry.com. England & Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1916-2007 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2007. Original data: General Register Office. England and Wales Civil Registration Indexes. London, England: General Register Office. Name: James Simon W Hunt; Birth Date: 29 Aug 1947; Date of Registration: Jun 1993; Age at Death: 45; Registration district: Merton; Inferred County: Surrey; Register Number: B28; District and Subdistrict: 2441; Entry Number: 147
Probate - Ancestry.com. England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1966, 1973-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010. Original data: Principal Probate Registry. Calendar of the Grants of Probate and Letters of Administration made in the Probate Registries of the High Court of Justice in England. London, England. Name: James Simon Wallis Hunt; Death Date: 15 Jun 1993; Death Place: London; Probate Date: 8 Nov 1993; Registry: Oxford
Burial - Find-a-Grave Memorial # 6871692: Name: James Hunt; Birth Date: 29 Aug 1947; Age at Death: 45; Death Date: 15 Jun 1993; Burial Place: Wimbledon, Greater London, England. Ancestry.com. Web: International, Find A Grave Index [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2013. Original data: Find A Grave. Find A Grave. http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi: accessed 15 February 2013. 
Daily Mail 4 September 2013, Australia. Article by Richard Kay.  Article topic: Sarah Hunt attends Rush movie premiere 2013 with her sons.
Screen Test - article by Rob Widdows on Page 82, September 2013 issue of Motor Sport Magazine (online archive at www.motorsportmagazine.com ) describing the private screening of the film "Rush" for the family of James Hunt. Accessed 4 April 2017