Vintage CC: 1977 United States Grand Prix at Watkins Glen, New York


22 77 US GP

#7 Watson, Brabham-Alfa, Q 3 F 12; #26 Laffite Ligier-Matra, Q 10 F7


Today, Sep 20, is the premier of Ron Howard’s film “Rush” in the US. I understand that Rush premiered Sep 13 in the UK, and possibly other markets. It chronicles James Hunt’s only F1 championship. Niki Lauda bookended Hunt’s win in’ 76 with F1 championships in “75 and ‘77. But Hunt claims to have bedded more young nubile chickie babes in that time than did Lauda. Lauda disputes this according to the latest issue of AutoWeek.

I love the tire sizes back then. Made race cars look like race cars. Thanks Bernie Ecclestone for effing us on this.

Unfortunately I didn’t attend an F1 event in ‘76. Possibly because I married the lusty Sue shortly after the the US GP at Watkins Glen, New York in early October. We had a three week honeymoon planned in our ‘72 Fiat 128 to the western states. Sue accompanied me to the ‘77 US GP as she had once before.

All photos shot with an Olympus OM 1 with Olympus 200 or 300 mm lenses on Kodak Ektachrome (bad decision). It was a dark and rainy day.

01 James Hunt McLaren

#1 Hunt McLaren-Ford


James Hunt found time amongst his philandering in 1976 to win the F1 championship. That would not happen again for this fantastic talent. Although he finished first at The Glen in ‘77, Lauda won the ‘77 championship.


02 Andretti Lotus

#5 Andretti Lotus-Ford Q4 F 2


After winning the Daytona 500 in ‘67 and Indy 500 in ‘69, Mario had set his sights on F1 driving for Colin Chapman at Lotus. In 1977 Andretti finished 2nd in the F1 championship. He would win the title the following year, only the second “Merican” to accomplish this feat since Phil Hill in 1961. Dan Gurney was the first US driver/constructor to win an F1 race at Spa in 1967. More to follow at a later date.

Interesting aside: Up until about the mid to late ’60s, the general convention at Indianapolis was to name all cars “Specials”. Possibly Colin Chapman’s association with the Brickyard played a part in this car’s appellation.


03 Schecter 77 US GP

Schecter #20 Wolf-Ford, Q 9 F 3


Jody Schecter, a spectacular South African talent, won the F1 championship in 1979. At the Glen in ‘77 he would finish 3rd driving a Wolf-Ford. In 1977 Schecter won GPs in Argentina, Monaco, and Canada. These were the only wins Wolf Racing would have.

Wolf Racing was owned by Walter Wolf, a Canadian, but operated out of England. The team won the first GP they entered, the 1977 Argentinian GP. The team’s last race was the 1979 US GP. Wolf sold his operation to Emerson Fittipaldi.


23 77 US GP

#22 Regazzoni Q19 F 5; #7 Watson Q 3 F 12


Clay Regazzoni qualified 19th but finished 5th in this Tissot Ensign-Ford.


04 77 US GP

#4 Lauda Ferrari Q 7 F 4


The Austrian Lauda won the F1 title in 1975 and ‘77, in spite of not driving in the final two races in ‘77. Having clinched the ‘77 F1 championship with two races to go. Lauda, who had no love for Enzo Ferrari, told him to eff-off. Ferrari was well known for its disdain for his drivers, and drivers more often than not reciprocated.


14 Depailer77 US GP

#4 Depailler Tyrrell-Ford Q 8 F14


Everyone was mesmerized by the Tyrrell P34. I think that we all wanted it to do well, but good wishes weren’t enough. Although the Tyrrell P34 won the Swedish Grand Prix in 1976 (finishing 1-2 with Schecter and Depailler), similar results were not to happen for Tyrrell thereafter.


06b 77 US GP

#12 Carlos Reutemann, Q 6 F 6


Lauda’s Ferrari team mate, Carlos Reutemann, started 6th and finished 6th. Reutemann raced in F1 from 1972 through 1982. He qualified on the pole six times, and won 12 times. He drove for Martini, Ferrari, Williiams, and TAG among others. After racing he became an Argentinian politician. What’s worse-politics or racing for Enzo?


24 77 US GP

#1 Hunt McClaren-Ford, Q 1 F1, #7 Watson Brabaham-Alfa, Q 3 F 12


John Watson, the Northern Irish Brabham driver, finished two laps down to Hunt.  Watson won five GPs during his career. His best finish in the standings was third for McLaren in 1982.


26 77 US GP

#5 Andretti Lotus-Ford, Q 4 F 2

I don’t recall it raining heavily that day, but obviously rain was present as evidenced by the spectators clad in rain gear and Andrettiti’s opposite lock attitude here. The photos also make it clear that at treaded tires were used.

27 77 US GP

#5 Andretti; #12 Reutemann; #7 Watson

Andretti passes both Reutemann and Watson.


28 77 US GP

#3 Peterson Tyrrell-Ford Q 5 F 16; #2 Mass Q 15 DNF

13 Fittipaldi 77 US GP

#28 Fittipaldi, Q 18 F 18

The Fittipaldi Automotive chassis (sometimes called a Copersucar) fielded cars for Emerson Fittipaldi from 1976 through 1982. It scored a total of three podiums during that time but no wins. Fittipaldi went on to drive, with considerably more success, for Roger Penske in CART.

29 77 US GP

#24 Keegan Hesketh-Ford Q 20 F 8


Rupert Keegan drove this Hesketh 308E for Hesketh Racing, a team put together by Lord Hesketh and Anthony ‘Bubbles’ Horsley. Hesketh Racing had one GP win with James Hunt at the wheel in the 1975 Dutch Grand Prix. After his GP days, Keegan spent some time in CART and endurance racing. Hesketh blew his inheritance on high times, fast women and fast cars, but would till appear to be a member of Parliament.


31 77 US GP

#15 Jaboulle, Q 14 DNF


Jean-Pierre Jabouille picked up two GP wins for Renault. Today would not be one of those occasions. The engineer lasted only 30 laps before his alternator packed it up.


30 77 US GP

#8 Stuck Brabham-Alfa, Q 2 DNF


Hans-Joachim Stuck was a successful touring car driver for both Ford and BMW. In his 74 GP starts he had two podiums but no wins. He had completed only 14 laps at The Glen before becoming involved in an accident which ended his day.


14b 77 US GP

#4 Depailler Q 8 F 14; #1 Hunt Q 1 F 1


Despite starting the race in eighth, Patrick Depailler finished the race three laps down in 14th. Here he is being passed by James Hunt putting him another lap down.


25 77 US GP

#26 Laffite, #18 Binder, #5 Andretti, #4 Lauda

This is when I start sounding like an old fart (which I am). When the US GP ran at The Glen, the entire 3.4 mile (5.4 km) track was used. I took all of my photos from Turns 6 through 7. Today, of course, F1 no longer runs at The Glen (fu Bernie), only sports cars and NASCAR. NASCAR only runs the short course, cutting out “the boot”, Turns 6 through 9, which offered some of the best vantage points, and photo ops of all of the tracks that I have been to. Any guesses as to owns The Glen these days? If you said ISC, you win! And if you also said that ISC is wholly owned by NASCAR, you get bonus points. Let’s see, if we eliminate the esses and Turn 10, we practically have an oval!

16 Fiat 77 US GP

My 1972 Fiat 128 at The Glen


Motels book early on race weekends, especially when the GP circus is in town. So my wife and I, like so many others, simply reclined the seats in our car and spent the night there. As I recall, camping was $5 for the weekend.