A scion of the wealthy industrial dynasty E.I. du Pont de Nemours, Lunger’s early racing aspirations were interrupted in 1968 when he spent 13 months with the US Marine Corps in Vietnam as a platoon commander. His clean-cut image and articulate bearing were very popular with motor racing sponsors and he cut a well-backed path to F1 via F2 and Formula 5000.
He graduated to F1 in 1975 with a handful of outings alongside James Hunt in the Hesketh squad, then switched to Surtees in 1976 where he was paired with future world champion Alan Jones. Lunger made his F1 debut at the wheel of a McLaren at Monaco in 1977, but his B.S. Fabrications-prepared M23 failed to start due to fuel problems.
He was however ready to race it at the Swedish GP at Anderstorp and brought it home in 11th place. Ninth place in the Dutch GP at Zandvoort was the American driver’s best performance that summer and although he started 1978 driving the same M23 he switched to a privately prepared M26 in time for the following year’s Monaco race where he failed to qualify, although he later went on to score a personal career best 8th place in the British GP at Brands Hatch.
In many ways, Lunger was one of the very last of the traditional-style F1 privateers plying his trade at the wheel of what amounted to an off-the-peg machine prepared by an independent team, although in this case overseen immaculately by the McLaren factory. He called time on his F1™ odyssey at the end of the 1978 season.