Journal: It’s Time To Sit Down And Watch Jackie Stewart’s 1987 Driver Training Masterclass

It’s Time To Sit Down And Watch Jackie Stewart’s 1987 Driver Training Masterclass

By Michael Banovsky
October 13, 2016

“Imagine yourself on the deck of a yacht on rough seas,” is how just one of the Yoda-like lessons begins as the former Formula 1 World Champion sets about conveying how to drive well in Behind The Wheel with Sir Jackie Stewart. You’ll get about five minutes in and wonder, “Why isn’t this film mandatory viewing for everyone?”

His achievements both on and off-track are legendary, but it’s his attention to detail in describing exactly what’s going on is what make this film interesting in its 60-minute entirety. I’m not kidding—it’s as if his Top Gear segment with James May was expanded into a feature-length film.

Beginning with a brief overview of automotive history and what vehicles do at the limit, much of the video is sat beside Stewart in a late-’80s Ford road car as he demonstrates how to drive well. Understeer in a Fox Body Mustang? Sure! Trying to unsettle a Trans-Am car? Definitely.

My favorite bits of advice are “Whether you drive a race car or a road car, everything should be gently done,” and “Always use fingertips while changing gear […] you should never feel a gearchange…”

It makes sense that Stewart is more interested in conveying the joys of driving well—when we spoke to him, he shared that he doesn’t often drive unless it’s “work” in a racing car…or in a Lincoln Town Car, as the World’s Most Overqualified Chauffeur.

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6 years ago

I was wondering about this film the other day. I saw this film when it first came out. And the the lessons really stuck, particularly about driving smoothly. All the other lessons in defensive, and off road driving (for work) only added to the basics in this film.

They were lessons I tried to drill into my kids when I taught them to drive. As in; if you are trying to drive smoothly at all times then you are watching everything that’s going on all around you and are prepared in advance for what may happen, then it’s easier to drive smoothly.

It also has the advantage of being much easier on the machinery. And that means more kilometres for less money, and fewer (read no) accidents (touch wood).

A Dias
A Dias
6 years ago

Smoothness is the key. The common on/off binary drivers should take notice.

Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger
6 years ago

I had the very distinct pleasure of attending one of Sir Jackie’s classes .. and suffice it to say to this day the lessons learned are timeless and valuable to this day on the road as well as the track . My most memorable memory ? The Bowl on the Hood with a Ball in it lesson . Damn !