The beautiful wife I ve loved for 60 years is now slipping away

Jackie Stewart Race Car Driver

Race Car Drivers / November 30, 2019

Monte Carlo, May 1966: A smiling Jackie Stewart at the Monaco Grand Prix. He took his sole victory of the season at the wheel of the BRM P261. Just three other cars finished the race. © Schlegelmilch © No reproduction without permission.

Spa, June 1966: BRM’s Jackie Stewart in practice for the Belgian Grand Prix. He was one of seven drivers to retire on the race’s opening lap after a heavy accident in wet conditions. © Schlegelmilch © No reproduction without permission.

Nurburgring, August 1966: Jackie Stewart takes to the air in his BRM during the German Grand Prix. He would finish fifth behind team mate Graham Hill. © Schlegelmilch © No reproduction without permission.

Zandvoort, June 1968: Jackie Stewart moved to Matra for the 1968 season. His first win for them came at the Dutch Grand Prix in the MS10, with Jean-Pierre Beltoise second in the MS11. © Sutton © No reproduction without permission.

Zandvoort, June 1968 : Jackie Stewart celebrates with wife Helen after taking victory in the Dutch Grand Prix. He went on to finish the year second in the drivers’ championship. © Schlegelmilch © No reproduction without permission.

Silverstone, July 1969: Jackie Stewart at the British Grand Prix en route to his fifth win of the season and his third in succession. He would take another, in Italy, on the way to his first drivers’ title. © Schlegelmilch © No reproduction without permission.

Hockenheim, August 1970: A thoughtful Jackie Stewart in the cockpit of the March 701 at the German Grand Prix. The race brought yet another retirement in what proved to be a difficult season as reigning champion. © Schlegelmilch © No reproduction without permission.

John Young 'Jackie' Stewart was born in Dumbartonshire, Scotland, on June 11, 1939. His father owned a garage business and Jackie's older brother Jimmy was the first in the family to try racing, though his mother disapproved. There were also fears about Jackie's future because he was a failure at school and left at 15. Only later was he diagnosed as suffering from severe dyslexia - which made his subsequent achievements even more remarkable. While still a teenager he took up clay pigeon shooting and became one of the best shots in Britain. When he began racing saloons and sportscars he quickly showed outstanding talent that prompted team entrant Ken Tyrrell to hire him to contest the 1963 British Formula Three series, in which the speedy Scot won seven races in a row.

In 1965 he joined the BRM Formula One team and stayed there for three seasons, winning two Grands Prix and firmly establishing himself as a frontrunner. In 1968, when Ken Tyrrell decided to go Formula One racing, Stewart teamed up with him to form what would become one the most productive Formula One partnerships. In his six seasons with Tyrrell, Stewart was nearly always the driver to beat and remained so until he retired at the end of 1973 at the age of 34. His 27 race wins and three championships made him the best since Juan Manuel Fangio, but the mark he made on the sport went much further than the record books.

Almost single-handedly, and against strong opposition, Stewart's crusade for improved safety measures eventually saved countless lives in what had been the deadliest sport in the world. In one particularly lethal period during his era the chances of a driver who raced for five years being killed were two out of three. In 1970 Stewart was devastated by the deaths of his close friends Piers Courage and Jochen Rindt. In 1973 his Tyrrell team mate Francois Cevert was killed in what was to have been Stewart's last race. The team withdrew as a mark of respect but Stewart redoubled his efforts to improve safety.