Three-times Formula One World Champion, Sir Jackie Stewart (JYS), has a relationship with Goodwood that goes back to the early 1950s, he told caracingnews.com in a recent interview. As a teenage enthusiast, he accompanied his older brother who was to drive an Ecurie Ecosse C Type Jaguar in the Goodwood nine-hour race of 1953.
Ten years later having proved his abilities as an amateur racer, he was to return to Goodwood with Ecurie Ecosse and it was the circuit manager who, greatly impressed by his race driving skills, called Formula 3 team owner Ken Tyrrell to tell him of the young Scot’s amazing pace. This was to lead to JYS’ rapid advance through Formula 3 to Formula 1 and three World Championships, one of the most outstanding GP careers of all time.
Rolex - such was his success that JYS soon found he was in demand to drive all kinds of racing machinery and so it was in 1966 that after a very successful Indianapolis 500 qualifying session, he bought his first Rolex time piece, a Rolex Oyster Perpetual Day-Date. Two years later he and his wife Helen and first son moved to Geneva, coincidentally the global headquarters of Rolex.
At the time, Rolex were looking for great sporting stars to be ‘Testimonees’ for the brand and along with all-conquering golf maestro Arnold Palmer and Olympic gold medal-winning skiing sensation, Jean-Claude Killy, JYS was to become one of the first Rolex Testimonee recruits.
Grand Prix safety - although his career saw few racing accidents, after a potentially fatal crash at Spa in 1966 JYS started a campaign that was to see a global revolution in circuit safety. Thanks to his persistent successes on-track, JYS was in a uniquely powerful position to hold race circuit owners to ransom, famously temporarily closing both of the historic Nürburgring and Spa tracks until essential safety improvements were completed. As president of the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association, his campaigning was to lead to an entirely new era of the sport in which fatalities became a very rare outcome.
Sir Jackie Stewart: “I consider this to be my biggest contribution to motor sport, much bigger than my three World Championships.”
On the subject of how he has managed to balance his race-winning record with his safety campaign, JYS is philosophical: “To win, I had to remove all the negative issues such as safety, to concentrate on finishing the race as high as possible. The cars were not as reliable as they are now, you had to get into the best team and with the best mechanics and management, to score as many podiums and points as possible.”
JYS also feels his dyslexia was an important factor: “When you have dyslexia badly and find a sport at which you are talented, you put a disproportionate effort into that sport and this was undoubtedly the case for me. These are the two key factors that helped me to succeed against a background in which we were loosing drivers and close friends on a regular basis.
He knows that his campaign did not win him friends among the race track owners: “Interesting to note that there’s hardly any Stewart bend or straight at race circuits around the world. There are references to Graham Hill, Bruce McLaren and John Surtees and many others for example, but none to Stewart.”
Goodwood Revial and the Rolex Drivers’ Club
A vital component of the Revival’s success has been the Drivers’ Club where drivers of yesteryear and of today, can find privacy between races, for food and refreshment and of course, changing rooms with showers.
With its similar values to those of the Goodwood Revival, Rolex became a partner of the event by sponsoring the Club first in 2004. The Rolex Drivers’ Club is recognised by all visiting drivers as crucial to their comfort: “This is very important” adds JYS. “If you are to get the best names in motor sport which Lord March does, then the Drivers’ Club has to be of the highest standards.”
Asked where he judges the Revival in the world’s motor sport calendar, he says: ”Monterey and the Nürbugring classic events are very good, but the Goodwood Revival is undoubtedly the best in the world. I love the circuit and I love the Revival weekends.”
Tribute to Juan Manuel Fangio - JYS’ “Hero”
At each Revival, Goodwood marks the career of one of the greats of race driving and in 2011 the tribute will be to Juan Manuel Fangio, on the centenary of his birth and 60th anniversary of him winning the first of his five World Championships.
For JYS this will be an emotional tribute: “He was a wonderful man, carrying the dignity of the sport around the world. The greatest ever, my hero.”
caracingnews.com asked JYS just how many Rolex watches he owns: “It’s either eight or nine, but my favourite is a Platinum Day-Date with Presidential bracelet.” On the subject of parallel values of the Goodwood Revival and Rolex, JYS immediately replied: “Both share elegance and integrity.”
Rolex and motor sports
Rolex and Motorsports
Rolex has been Official Timekeeper for 24 Hours of Le Mans since 2001 and Title Sponsor of the Rolex 24 At Daytona in North America since 1992. In 1965, Rolex added the name Daytona to the dial of its Cosmograph line in tribute to this great race at the International Speedway. Ever since then, the presence of the Rolex brand in automobile racing has grown steadily.
Rolex supports the tradition of auto racing through events that celebrate design, speed and passion including the Goodwood Revival (UK), the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion (USA), the Pebble Beach Tour D’Elegance presented by Rolex (USA) and the Pebble Beach Concours D’Elegance and The Quail: A Motorsports Gathering (USA). Rolex affiliation also extends to two key figures in the sport: Sir Jackie Stewart from Scotland, one of the greatest drivers of his generation, and Danish driver Tom Kristensen, record eight-time winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
For more information about Rolex and sport, please visit www.rolex.com.
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