Monday, June 18, 2018

Denis Hulme Born In Motueka, New Zealand - June 18, 1936

June 18, 1936 - October 4, 1992
Denis Hulme
Born in Motueka, New Zealand.
Hulme was nicknamed 'The Bear', because of his gruff nature and rugged features. He won the 1967 Formula One World Drivers' Championship for the Brabham team. Between his debut at Monaco in 1965 and his final race in the 1974 US Grand Prix, he started 112 Grand Prix, resulting eight victories and 33 trips to the podium. He also finished third in the overall standing in 1968 and 1972.

Hulme showed versatility by dominating the Canadian-American Challenge Cup (Can-Am) for Group 7 sports cars. As a member of the McLaren team that won five straight titles between 1967 and 1971, he won the individual drivers’ championship twice and runner-up on four other occasions.

Following his Formula One tenure with Brabham, Hulme raced for McLaren in multiple formats, Formula One, Can-Am, and at the Indianapolis 500. Hulme retired from Formula One at the end of the 1974 season but continued to race Australian Touring Cars.

During his career, Hulme drove the most powerful cars of his era. He raced in F1, F2, Indycars, Saloon/Touring Cars, CanAm and endurance races, all during the same season. After retiring from F1, he even drove in truck races.

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 for the Benson & Hedges Racing 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 while driving along the high-speed Conrod Straight. After veering into the wall on the left side of the track at about 140 mph, he managed to bring the car to a relatively controlled stop sliding against the safety railing and concrete wall on the right side of the track. 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.

Hulme was named New Zealand Sportsman of the Year in 1967, the 1967/1970/1974, winner of the Hawthorn Memorial Trophy, inducted into the New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame in 1993, the New Zealand Motorsports Wall of Fame in 1994, the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 1998 and the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2002.

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