Sir Jackie Stewart stars at record-breaking Silverstone Classic | Motorsport - Car News Jul 2019

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13:17 Tuesday 30 Jul 2019

The weekend’s Silverstone Classic event saw a record turnout, with a 109,000-strong crowd enjoying the three-day event.

Spectators were treated to 21 thrilling retro races at the Northamptonshire circuit, along with off-track entertainment and classic motor racing displays.

Racing highlights included Steve Hartley piloting the ex-John Watson McLaren MP4/1 to victory by just 0.382s in the FIA Masters Historic Formula One contest despite starting 17th on the grid, and the epic battle between Sam Wilson’s Lotus 18 and Jon Fairley’s Brabham BT11/19 in the Pre-1966 Grand Prix Gallet Trophy race.

However, the undoubted star of the 2019 Silverstone Classic was triple F1 World Drivers’ Champion Sir Jackie, who returned to the track where he won the British Grand Prix half-a-century ago en route to his first world title.  Sir Jackie rolled back the years by getting back behind the wheel of his 1969 title-winning Matra MS80-02.

“The Matra is a special car to me and it’s always a real thrill to be back in it,” said Sir Jackie.  “Over the years I have driven it from time-to-time but to have the Matra back here on the Silverstone circuit 50 years after that win really brings back so many happy memories. It seems just yesterday sometimes!”

Recalling his epic duel with Jochen Rindt in the 1969 British Grand Prix, Sir Jackie said, “The 1969 British Grand Prix was one of the most exciting and enjoyable Formula One races that I ever had.  Jochen was one of my best friends.  The cooperation we had in not trying to block each other allowed us to definitively run away from the rest of the field.  We knew, because in those days there was no aerodynamic sophistication, that we could draft each other and pass if we were not blocked.  Almost every lap, we exchanged the lead on the Hangar Straight and going into the 155mph Woodcote corner, which in those days had no chicane.  We pointed to each other which side to be passed on, to avoid reducing our lead from the rest of the pack.  We exchanged the lead more than 30 times and it was a fantastic race for both of us.” 

Sir Jackie's demonstration laps on Saturday and Sunday were completed, in part, to help him raise awareness of his new charity Race Against Dementia, founded to explore the use of Formula 1 technology and philosophies which may be used to aid the near one million UK people living with the disease.  The cause is especially close to Sir Jackie’s heart after his wife, Lady Helen, was diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia.  All the funds raised at the Silverstone Classic by the festival’s Official Charity Partner, Alzheimer’s Research UK, are to go directly to Race Against Dementia Fellowships, which are administered by Alzheimer’s Research UK and are used to support early career scientists in their pursuit of innovative solutions to the big questions in dementia research. 


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