The grandson of a Scottish gamekeeper, three-time Formula One World Champion Sir John Young ‘Jackie’ Stewart was born in Dunbartonshire, Scotland, on June 11, 1939, and has enjoyed an outstanding F1 career, as well as personally influencing the way the sport developed with regards to track and driver safety issues. Seen by many fans as the first truly modern professional racing driver and instantly recognisable by his Breton-style cap and rock-star long hair, Stewart’s excellent communication skills have allowed him to transfer his exceptional racing knowledge gained as a F1 driver and team owner to the boardrooms of a string of international companies.

Sir Jackie Stewart has motoring in his blood and can trace his association with cars back to an early age when his father ran a successful garage in Milton selling Jaguars. Prior to going into business, Stewart senior had been a keen amateur motorcycle racer and Jackie’s eldest brother Jimmy was a talented car racer who drove (much to his mother’s disapproval) for Ecurie Ecosse and the Jaguar and Aston Martin works teams during the early ‘Fifties. Although the world of motor racing would eventually come to dominate Stewart’s life, he was more at home with a fishing rod or shotgun in his hand. As a young boy, Jackie enjoyed clay pigeon and skeet shooting and won his first competition aged just 13.

Stewart admittedly struggled at school and left at the tender age of 15 to take up an apprenticeship as a mechanic at his father’s garage. Diagnosed later in life with severe dyslexia, a condition that makes his achievements so far even more remarkable, Stewart went on to shoot successfully for both Scotland and Great Britain and narrowly missed being selected for the national team in the 1960 Olympics. Jackie Stewart retired from shooting in 1962 and, as a trained mechanic, became directly involved in motorsport for the first time by helping to prepare cars competing in Scottish club racing.

The first opportunity Stewart got to compete behind the wheel of a racing car came from Barry Filler, one of big brother Jimmy’s track associates, and it quickly became evident that he possessed all the necessary skills to become a professional racing driver. Competing under the name of AN Other (so his mother wouldn’t discover he was racing) Stewart was supported in his endeavours by his new bride Helen. Jackie Stewart quickly began to dominate British club racing and went on to make his mark on the highly competitive British and European Formula Three scene with Tyrell.

After notching up a remarkable win in his debut race on a wet Snetterton circuit, Jackie Stewart was offered a F1 seat with Cooper, but declined. His preference was to remain with Tyrell to gain more experience where he went on to be eventually crowned F3 Champion. Following a trial drive in a Lotus 33 for Colin Chapman’s F1 team, Stewart’s big break came in 1965 when he partnered Graham Hill in the BRM Formula One team. Success came quickly and Stewart went on to win his first F1 race in 1965 when he took the chequered flag at Silverstone in the Daily Express International Trophy.

In 1966, Jackie Stewart almost won the Indianapolis 500 in a Lola T90 but disaster was to strike that year when his car spun off the track at Spa-Francorchamps at over 160mph in heavy rain. Trapped under the steering column in the overturned wreckage and soaked in petrol leaking from a ruptured fuel tank, it took over 25 minutes for marshals to extract Stewart from the wreckage using spanners borrowed from a spectator’s car.

Although Stewart suffered a broken collar bone in the Spa crash, courses at the time didn’t even have a doctor in attendance and, to compound the situation, the ambulance taking Stewart to hospital got lost on its way to Liege. Thankfully, Jackie Stewart made a quick return to racing and after three seasons and several impressive GP wins with BRM he went on to join Ken Tyrell when Ken decided to enter F1 in 1968. Again success came quickly and Stewart won his first F1 Championship title in 1969 driving a Tyrell/Matra MS80-Cosworth after a truly stunning season.

During his six seasons with Tyrell, Jackie Stewart was always the driver to beat but in 1970 he was left devastated by the deaths of his close racing driver friends Piers Courage and Jochen Rindt. Although Stewart went on to win his second F1 Championship the following year, the early ‘Seventies proved a dark period for F1. Despite the death of Stewart’s Tyrell teammate Francois Cevert in 1973, resulting in the team withdrawing from F1 as a mark of respect at the end of the season, Stewart went on to win his third F1 championship and retired from racing that year, determined to do something positive to improve driver safety. His selfless campaigning eventually resulted in a huge number of improvements to cars and circuits being implemented that have gone on to make the sport much safer.

Following his retirement from F1 racing, Stewart became a consultant for the Ford Motor Company, but still retained his links with the sport as a spokesman for safer cars and circuits. During his 40-year association with the Blue Oval, Stewart was able to work closely with Ford engineers on the development of a new generation of road-going cars, such as the Focus and Mondeo. In 1989, Jackie Stewart joined up with his son Paul to form Paul Stewart Racing and in 1997 the three-time F1 Champ returned to F1 as a partner in the Stewart-Ford Grand Prix team. Although the team won the European Grand Prix at the Nürburgring in 1999 with Johnny Herbert at the wheel, Stewart-Ford Grand Prix was bought later that year by Ford and renamed Jaguar Racing in 2000.

A very successful and astute business man, Stewart has formed commercial relationships with companies such as Goodyear and Bridgestone, and as a much sought after media personality he has worked for many of the big US networks covering motor racing events around the world. In 2001 Jackie Stewart received a Knighthood for his services to motorsport (he was awarded an OBE in 1972) and today is still recognised by many as the first Formula One superstar.