“In our motor racing world, the name Jackie Stewart instantly brings up images of racetracks and victory laps, so pervasive is the hall-of fame driver in popular culture nearly 50 yrs after retiring” — Paul Ebeling
Sir Jackie Stewart, aka the Flying Scott, has a legacy that includes a Top-10 finish at the 1965 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Rookie of the Year honor at the 1966 Indianapolis 500 early on in his career, then to 27 F1 Grand Prix victories, 3 F1 World Drivers’ Championship titles and a Knighthood.
With that, and by being a vocal proponent for increased safety protocols, Jackie Stewart, 82 anni, has had an impact on motorsport that is still felt today, and all accomplished with a demeanor as charming as his Scottish brogue and personal style.
Then there is the ever-present Rolex timepiece that graces his wrist.
The accoutrement is reflective of his 53-yr role as a brand Ambassador, for Rolex, the official timekeeper at this weekend’s preeminent automotive events in Northern California, including the Quail Motorsports Gathering, the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion and the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.
My 1st Rolex, Sir Jackie recounts, the owner of the team flew me to Texas and took me to a Rolex store in Houston. He said, “Look, you’ve done so well that I’ve got a surprise for you, I’m going to give you a Rolex watch.”
“I had never had a proper watch in my life, and there it was, a Day-Date Top of the line. I was not with Rolex at the time. It was a tremendous thing for me to have, and that was my 1st Rolex experience. Now I have been with the company for 53 years.”
Rolex is present in every sense. It is the official timekeeper for F1. At Laguna Seca it is the official timekeeper, and it has been at Daytona for stock-car racing for many years; it has been at Le Mans for a great many years, playing a really important role. Rolex is blue chip, and does everything with such taste said in an interview Friday.
Sir Jackie’s Rolex treasure
“A man I used to drive for gave me his Rolex watch before he died at the age of 92. It had been his father’s back when Rolex first produced a watch. That’s the most treasured one I have. I was also given a Rolex called the King Midas, which hardly anyone knows about. It’s very heavy and very unusual in every way—Elvis Presley had one. And then I love a steel Rolex GMT-Master that I wear around the house and do all sorts of things with. I’m lucky enough to have a few, and they’ve all got a special story to tell. It’s a very long relationship, not many sports people have relationships of that period, but then again, that shows the integrity of the company. Arnold Palmer, Jean-Claude Killy and I signed with Rolex on the same day; the 28th of April, 1968.”
F1 and Sir Jackie’s charity
F1 still is the fastest problem-solving example in the world, even beyond aerospace. Races sometimes take place within 1 wk of each other, and there may be as many as 6 major changes from 1 GP to the next. The speed of change in Formula 1 is extraordinary.
“My wife, very sadly, has dementia. I started a charity called Race Against Dementia and use Formula 1 as an example. We take young PhDs from the best universities and bring them to McLaren and Red Bull to see how they problem-solve at a speed that the medical world simply does not know how to do yet.
“We are getting them to accelerate their knowledge and, hopefully one day, find a cure and preventative medicine.
“That is the same challenge with regards to energy, the world we are living in and all that’s happening. Everybody’s got to pull their own weight in a stronger way than they have ever done before.“
Have a terrific weekend, Keep the Faith!