Sir Jackie Stewart To Be Reunited With His F1 Championship-Winning Matra At Silverstone Classic
Sir Jackie Stewart at this year’s Silverstone Classic will be reunited with the Matra MS80 in which he won the 1969 British Grand Prix, almost exactly 50 years on from the famous race. Stewart’s win, also at Silverstone and which was his first British Grand Prix victory, has gone into folklore after he prevailed in a lengthy battle with Jochen Rindt’s Lotus. Stewart’s Classic appearance will also celebrate the 50th anniversary year of his first F1 world title of three. At this year’s Classic, which takes place on July 26-28, Stewart will complete high-speed demonstration laps in the Ford Cosworth DFV V8-powered Matra on both Saturday and Sunday afternoons. “I am looking forward very much to getting back to Silverstone in the Matra, even if not at quite the same speeds as 50 years ago!” Stewart enthused.
In that 1969 race Stewart and Rindt left the rest behind and swapped the lead several times, before Rindt’s rear wing started to rub on his tire late on, forcing him to pit. “The 1969 British Grand Prix was one of the most exciting and enjoyable Formula 1 races that I ever had,” Stewart recalled. “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 Hanger Straight and going into the 155mph Woodcote corner. We exchanged the lead more than 30 times and it was a fantastic race for both of us.
“The Matra MS80 was a wonderful car to drive and the Lotus 49 was also exceptional, in addition to which we were such good friends that there were no nasty circumstances during the entire race, until the unfortunate point at which Jochen’s rear wing came loose. My father and my brother were there to see me win. It was a big day in my life as we had lapped the entire field.”
Further, all funds raised at this year’s Classic by its Official Charity Partner Alzheimer’s Research UK will go directly to Race Against Dementia Fellowships. Race Against Dementia was set up last October by Stewart after his wife, Lady Helen Stewart, was diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia. The Fellowships, which are administered by Alzheimer’s Research UK, will support early career scientists in their pursuit of innovative solutions to the big questions in dementia research. “I am extremely grateful to the organizers for supporting Race Against Dementia,” Stewart added. “Helen will be truly proud of what we’re doing to challenge her illness and the challenge dementia poses to us all.”
Adding to the Classic’s golden anniversary celebrations, the blue-riband races featuring F1 cars from between 1966 and 1985 are being renamed as the Sir Jackie Stewart Trophy for FIA Masters Historic Formula 1. Stewart will also present the trophies on the Silverstone podium.
Images courtesy of Silverstone Classic