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Jackie Stewart

From Academic Kids

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Jackie Stewart speaking at the 2005 United States Grand Prix

Sir John Young Stewart OBE (born June 11, 1939 in Dumbartonshire, Scotland), better known as Jackie Stewart, is a three-time Formula One racing champion representing Great Britain. He has been appointed an OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire). He's also well known as a commentator of racing television broadcasts where his accent made him a distinctive presence.

Jackie's early involvement with cars was in the family business, Dumbuck Garage, in Dumbarton, Scotland, where he worked as an apprentice mechanic. His family were Jaguar dealers and had built up a successful practice. Jackie's brother Jimmy was a racing driver with a growing local reputation. He drove for Ecurie Ecosse and actually competed in the British Grand Prix of 1953, or at least he did until he went off at Copse in the wet. It was only natural that Jackie would soon become involved in motor racing like his older brother. After his brother was injured in a crash at Le Mans the sport was discouraged by their parents and Jackie took up shooting. In target shooting Stewart made a name for himself and almost made it to the Olympics only just missing the team for 1960.

But he took up an offer from Barry Filer, a customer of his family business, to test in a number of his cars at Oulten Park. Jackie Stewart impressed all who were in attendance that day. Ken Tyrrell who was running the Formula Junior team for Cooper heard of this young Scotsman from a track manager and called up his brother Jimmy to see if his younger brother was interested in a tryout. Jackie came down for the test and took over a car that Bruce McLaren was testing. McLaren at that time was already an experienced Formula One driver and the new Cooper F3 was a very competitive car in its class. Soon Stewart was besting the times of McLaren causing McLaren to return to the track for some quick laps. Again Stewart was faster and Tyrrell seeing the obvious, offered Stewart a spot on the team. This would be the beginning of a great partnership that would see them one day at the pinnacle of the sport. But this was still 1963 and Jackie Stewart still had a lot to learn. In 1964 he drove F3 for Ken Tyrrell and won his first race at Snetterton. Since Tyrrell did not compete in Formula One at that time he joined Graham Hill at BRM in 1965. His first contract netted him 4,000! On his debut in South Africa he scored his first Championship point. Before the end of the year he won his first race at Monza. 1966 saw him almost win the Indianapolis 500 on his first attempt only to be denied by a broken scavenge pump with eight laps to go.

In Formula One, he switched to Ken Tyrrell's team where he drove Matra during the 1968 and 1969 seasons. After a dispute between Tyrrell and Matra concerning the use of Ford engines, Stewart drove a March until Tyrrell built its own cars.

Stewart became world champion in 1969 driving a Cosworth-powered Matra MS80. As of today he is the one and only driver to have won the championship driving a French car. He went on to win the Formula One world championship in 1971 and 1973 with Tyrrell cars. He also received Sports Illustrated magazine's 1973 "Sportsman of the Year" award. In 1990, he was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame.

Stewart retired in 1973, subsequently becoming a consultant for the Ford Motor Company. At the same time, he became a spokesman for safer cars and circuits in Formula One. Stewart's concern for safer vehicles in F1 came from his near-death accident in Belgium during a race. Stewart was in flames and it took a terribly long time for the medical assistance to arrive. In 1997 Stewart returned to Formula One, with Stewart Grand Prix, as a team owner in partnership with his son, Paul, and the Ford Motor Company. The team was later bought by Ford and became Jaguar Racing in 2000. More recently, Robbie Williams honored him in his song Supreme. Stewart received a knighthood in 2001.

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