McLaren is celebrating James Hunt's 1976 F1 triumph with a new episode of "Tooned" starring none other than Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button.
An update of the original “The James Hunt Story” animated short video, the follow-up clip created by Framestore sees McLaren’s current F1 drivers relaxing on deckchairs in Monaco and talking about James Hunt’s success in the 1976 F1 championship. Fernando Alonso quickly points out that James Hunt failed to win that season in Monaco (Niki Lauda was first), but then Jenson Button tells “the real story” of how Hunt was actually a secret agent.
The James Bond references are the icing on cake and we get to see Hunt rip off his McLaren racing suit in the famous tunnel section on the Monaco track to reveal a fancy tux in the same vein as agent 007 would wear. The action continues with a couple of mechanics on scooters and then with jet packs on Hunt’s trail, but he blasts them into oblivion by messing around with their fuel tanks.
He leaves his guard down while at a casino trying to woo a woman and gets caught by the bad guys. As one would expect from a secret agent, he manages to escape by using his gold medallion marked “Eggs, Breakfast of Champions” to divert the laser beam. Next we see Hunt dueling on the track with Ferrari driver “Laudfinger” (Niki Lauda) before activating the ejection seat in his McLaren, much like in a military aircraft.
The cartoon continues with Hunt explaining that he's in the middle of an “after race debriefing,” while Fernando Alonso finds out from his teammate that all McLaren drivers are actually secret agents as stipulated on a fine print in the contract. “Tooned Special Edition: #Hunt40” ends with a cameo from Stoffel Vandoorne, who is going to drive for McLaren Honda in 2017 alongside Alonso.
The update to original version of the animated clip is certainly a neat and funny way to mark four decades since James Hunt’s success after crossing the finish line in third place at the Japanese Grand Prix. Before the start of the race at Mount Fuji circuit, Niki Lauda had a three-point lead in the championship, but he wasn’t able to finish and had to settle for second place overall that season. On the other hand, Lauda was fortunate enough to live to see the end of that season taking into account he almost died earlier that year at the messy Nürburgring crash recreated in the 2013 “Rush” movie.
Here is the original James Hunt feature, which aired in September 2013 as part of McLaren's 50th anniversary celebrations.