James Hunt's F1 Hesketh to race in Ireland this month!

Former F1 driver Tommy Byrne will drive James Hunt's Grand Prix-winning Hesketh at Mondello Park's Historic Racing Festival on August 18-19

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Former Formula 1 driver Tommy Byrne, who made his racing return earlier this year, will race a grand prix-winning Hesketh formerly piloted by James Hunt at Mondello Park in a fortnight.

The Hesketh 308/1, which Hunt took to victory in the 1975 Dutch Grand Prix, will be entered into the Derek Bell Trophy races – which are also open to Formula 1, F5000, F2 and Formula Atlantic machinery from between 1967 and 1979.

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Byrne entered F1 in 1982 for Theodore Racing, and made his retirement from racing a decade later. A month ago he made his return in the FIA Masters Historic F1 races at the British Grand Prix, driving the same Hesketh he will run at Mondello.

Byrne is famous for his biography Crashed and Byrned, which has since been adapted into a movie. He started his career in his home country of Ireland, competing in Formula Ford 1600 on tracks such as Mondello, Kirkistown and Phoenix Park.

'I am so excited to be back at Mondello Park where it all started for me 42 years ago,' Byrne said. 'To drive James Hunt’s first F1 car is also a huge honour for me. I would like to thank James Hagan and Mondello Park for giving me this opportunity!'

The 308 is the first F1 car Hesketh designed in-house, and runs a three-litre, eight-cylinder DFV engine.

There will also be races at Mondello for HRCA Historics, Classic Motorcycles, Pre-'55 grand prix machinery and Future Classics.

‘We are delighted to have Tommy Byrne racing at our Historic Racing Festival,’ said Roddy Green, general manager of the circuit. ‘As we celebrate our 50th anniversary it’s great to have one of Ireland’s greatest ever racing talents take to the track in an historic F1 car.

The Mondello Historic Festival takes place on August 18-19. There's more information on the Mondello Park website.

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