Racing Legends Reunited
Three-times Formula One world champion Sir Jackie Stewart was reunited with his race-winning Matra car recently during a ceremony and celebration to honour his career. Sir Jackie startled golfers as he drove the 1969 season MS80 car up the drive of the Royal Automobile Club’s Woodcote Park in Epsom.
In 1969 the Scot won six races in a Matra to take his first world championship title. Sir Jackie also unveiled a painting of his epic tussle with Jochen Rindt at the 1969 British Grand Prix. Commissioned by the Club, the artist Tim Layzell depicted Stewart and Rindt chasing each other around the Silverstone track. They exchanged the lead about 30 times before Stewart won.
The Scot praised the car – made by the French company Matra, which was more used to making missiles than cars at that time.
“It’s one of the best cars I’ve ever driven,” the 73-year old driver said. “I think probably the best racing car I ever drove. I won the British Grand Prix in this car way-back in 1969 and went on to win the world championship on it. I won six Grands Prix which in those days was a lot because there were only 11 Grands Prix in a season, now there are 20. So times have changed but Matra with the Ford-Cosworth engine was a great combination.”
Stewart also spoke of a great disappointment. He failed by just one point to be selected for the 1960 Rome Olympic Games squad in trap shooting.
“I had one off-day, but actually only one round of 25 targets,” he said, remembering that the trial took place on his 21st birthday. “I suddenly lost my timing and I lost more on that stage of 25 than I had in the previous 200 and I lost my position by just one point. One single target got away beyond that taking me to Rome. I think it was my biggest disappointment in all of sport.”