Born into a motoring family, Sir Jackie was involved with cars from an early age. His father’s garage sold Jaguars, and his elder brother Jimmy was a talented driver who was a member of the Jaguar works team in 1955. Jimmy retired from racing after an accident that year because he knew that his mother was unhappy with him racing. Soon after, Jackie, whose dyslexia was undiagnosed till much later, left school, by his own admission, “with great relief”. He found his personal voice in sport: first as an Olympic-class shot, then in motor racing, where to avoid worrying his mother, he first competed as ‘A.N. Other’.
His skills were such that it quickly became clear that he could make racing his life, and with the acceptance of this fact by his family, the young Stewart rapidly began to dominate British club racing, and then the British and European Formula 3 scene. His career took off internationally in 1965, when he partnered Graham Hill in the BRM team. At Monza, only his eighth F1 race, he scored the first of his 27 victories. Monaco in 1966 brought number two. Sir Jackie teamed up with Ken Tyrrell in 1968, to forge one of the most successful alliances in World Championship history, the rest would all be won with Ford power.
Sir Jackie competed against some of the great names of Grand Prix legend: fellow-Scot Jim Clark, to whom he was so close, Gurney, Surtees, Hill, Rindt, Fittipaldi and their peers. In doing so, he crafted a reputation and a racing record that would stand for 14 years, an eternity in Formula 1 terms, until broken by another great driver he much admired, France’s Alain Prost. Jackie’s Formula 1 achievements still place him among the top five drivers of all time.
Seen by many as the first truly modern professional racing driver, Sir Jackie has done more than any man before or since to build a business life on the basis of his on-track record. Translating his legendary eye for detail from cockpit to boardroom, he has shared with the automotive industry, especially in his long partnership with Ford, the rich fruits of his racing experience. Thanks to his hands-on participation in the work of Ford’s development engineers, a generation of road-going vehicles is better for his contribution.
The drive he brought to his often solitary campaign for circuit safety is matched by the energy he expended as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Jaguar Racing – a position he retired from in January 2000. The uncanny eye for an opening that served him so well on the track is now his greatest asset in his business life.
Identifying potential partners, and making partnerships work for all the players involved, has been invaluable in his guiding role with Stewart Racing (formerly Paul Stewart Racing) since 1988 and with Stewart Grand Prix, which grew from that association in 1996. Willingness to look beyond the confines of traditional racing relationships is also the hallmark of Jackie’s contribution to all these enterprises.
The team entered its first Grand Prix season in 1997 with a highly-motivated group of employees committed to winning. In that maiden season, Stewart Grand Prix rocked the established order when Rubens Barrichello took the SF-1 to second place in Monaco – the team’s fifth competitive race. In September 1999, it was announced that the team was to become Jaguar Racing from the start of the 2000 season. Just a few days later, Johnny Herbert gave the team its first Grand Prix victory, heading home team-mate Rubens Barrichello in an emotional one-three finish in the European Grand Prix at the Nurburgring.
Sir Jackie resigned as Chairman and CEO from Jaguar Racing in January 2000; he does however remain on the Board. Today, Jaguar Racing employs a staff of 310 operating from an 85,000 square feet state-of-the-art headquarters in Milton Keynes, England. Stewart is also the head sports consultant/ patron for the Royal Bank of Scotland. In March 2009, he waived his fee for the year in response to the bank losing £24bn in 2008. This was a change of heart after earlier refusals to do so attracted negative media attention
Sir Jackie has been recognised as a sportsman, by the award of the OBE, and as an inspirational speaker and motivator by honorary doctorates from as far afield as Michigan, Glasgow Caledonian University, Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, and most recently at the University of Stirling. He was elected as President of the British Racing Drivers’ Club in July 2000 where he is currently spearheading the re-development of the facilities at Silverstone after securing investment and the British Grand Prix for the next 15 years. Jackie Stewart is also President of the Springfield Boy’s Club and the Scottish Dyslexia Trust; Vice-President of the British Dyslexia Association and the Disabled Driving Association; Trustee of the Grand Prix Mechanics Charitable Trust and the Scottish International Education Trust.
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