PostHeaderIcon Jackie Stewart To Drive His Championship-Winning Matra At Silverstone Classic

It’s been 50 years since legendary Scottish driver Jackie Stewart bagged his first World Driver’s Title driving the Matra MS80 in his second season with the French government-backed outfit. This July, fans will be able to see the gorgeous blue silhouette of the MS80 running around the Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit in the hands of the inimitable JYS, the man who went on to win the World Driver’s Championship two more times during his enduring partnership with Ken Tyrrell. Tyrell, however, eventually switched from being Matra’s Team Manager to being the constructor of his own Tyrrell cars.

You have seen them in films (chiefly, John Frankenheimer’s Grand Prix from 1966), period videotapes, and images and I’m sure you still ask yourself, How were they ever allowed to race those things? Motorsport wasn’t always a safe place like it is today when, to be frank, only a freak accident can result in the death of a driver or a bystander, at least in automobile racing. Turn back the clock 50 years ago, and you’ll realize that there were casualties every other weekend and that some of Formula 1’s greatest talents from back in those days never got to grow grey hairs.

Out of the survivors, Jackie Stewart is one of the finest. Widely considered as Jim Clark’s protegee, Stewart rose from the shadow of Clark’s greatness after Jim tragically passed away in 1968 to win three F1 World Driver’s Titles, one Tasman Series title, and almost won the Indy 500 on his first attempt in 1966, among many other accolades. Since his retirement from Formula 1 in 1973, after a grim weekend for Tyrrell’s team, Stewart has remained very much active in motorsports acting as a pundit (if you’re older you may remember him being part of the team on ABC’s Wide World of Sports and NBC Sportsworld) on TV and, also, as a Team Boss in the ’90s for Stewart-Ford. However, arguably, his greatest achievement has been to increase the people’s awareness towards the importance of safety in motorsport during those deadly post-War decades. This stance made him an unpopular figure at the time despite his success as a driver but, nowadays, you can’t help but admit that he’s been instrumental in pushing motorsport, in general, to become safer and safer, a fight that’s still going on today.

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