Honda website
Honda website

MAY 20, 2004

Hesketh selling up

Lord Hesketh, the former boss of the Hesketh F1 team who went on to become a government minister, the treasurer of the Conservative party and the president of the BRDC, is selling his family's ancestral home at Easton Neston, near Silverstone. The estate, which once acted as the headquarters of the Hesketh F1 team, is on the market with a price tag of $85m. It has been the home of the Fermor Hesketh family for 470 years.

The 3000 acre estate includes the main house, the Towcester Racecourse, five lodges, three farms and the entire village of Hulcote.

"It's the simple fact that if you look at a property like this, it's a bit like owning a very beautiful yacht," Hesketh told the Daily Telegraph. "The costs of managing it are very significant."

Hesketh said that the annual loss running the estate is between $850,000 and $2.5m.

The price of the property means that potential buyers are few and far between and it is not surprising therefore that the name of Bernie Ecclestone is being mentioned.

Hesketh set up his own racing team when he was in his early 20s and hired James Hunt. The team moved to F1 in 1974 and upset the motor racing establishment with its gaudy uniforms and excessive spending. The cars were run in red, white and blue colours Hesketh refusing to run with sponsorship. After making an initial impression with a March chassis, the team hired Harvey Postlethwaite to build an F1 car in converted stables at Easton Neston. The result was the Hesketh 308 and in the summer of 1975 Hunt won the Dutch GP and finished second three times and finished fourth in the World Championship. Hesketh could not go on without sponsorship and at the end of the year gave up and left team boss Bubbles Horsley to keep the afloat. This he did until the end of 1978.