Snapshot, 1976: Legends in their lifetimes at Long Beach

It’s 28 March 1976, and at the third round of the Formula 1 season in Long Beach, California, the reigning World Champion Niki Lauda shares a laugh with former title-winners Juan Manuel Fangio and Phil Hill. Collectively, they truly are legends among men…

Formula 1 has invaded Long Beach in California, and with great fanfare. Organised by the British businessman and local resident Chris Pook, the premier race at the ‘American Monaco’ wouldn’t have been possible without the assistance of a raft of former World Champions including Juan Manuel Fangio, Phil Hill, Dan Gurney, and Jack Brabham, all of whom prominently pledged their support. To see the current crop of drivers conversing with these legends, many of whom have donned their period attire, is quite the sight. Our current champion Niki Lauda appears to be particularly enjoying the esteemed company, though the Austrian Ferrari driver has more reason than most to be relaxed – he already leads the championship by an impressive 12 points. Rather solemnly, the season will take a tragic turn after a fiery accident at the Nürburgring, which will result in Lauda being read his last rites. A remarkably brave and doggedly determined person, Lauda will return to racing just 40 days later – a moment that will go down as one of the most courageous sporting comebacks of all time. 

We were shocked and saddened to hear the news that Niki Lauda has passed away at the age of 70. Our deepest condolences go to his family and friends. 

Photo: Bernard Cahier via Getty Images © 2019