Sir Jackie Stewart never spilled a drop of blood in the name of racing, but he lost 57 friends and colleagues to the sport. A staggering number. "It was very raw, very dangerous," he says about his time in F1. "There was a two out of three chance you were going to die if you lasted a five-year period."
That's how Sir Jackie became an advocate for motorsports safety. Hear what he has to say about the subject now, and on other things like how the business of business affected the business — and longevity — of professional auto racing.
This week on /SHAKEDOWN, Leo interviews racing legend Sir Jackie, three-time F1 drivers' champion, long-time ABC commentator and former F1 team owner, among a raft of accomplishments in motorsports. Name it and Sir Jackie's done it: F1, Le Mans and Can-Am; champion, team owner and analyst. Ask anyone who was around through the '70s and '80s — during his tenure as a commentator on ABC's Wide World of Sports — and they'll tell you Stewart was the biggest celebrity auto racing had ever produced.
Sir Jackie is currently promoting the re-release — in theaters and on Netflix — of the 1972 documentary by Frank Simon and Roman Polanski (still living, these days, in extradition-free France), "Weekend of a Champion," for which Polanski tagged along with the racer during the 1971 Monaco Grand Prix. By the end of his F1 career in 1973, Stewart won that race three times.
To say Sir Jackie's been there and done that is the ultimate understatement in motorsports, and thankfully he's not unwilling to share what he's learned along the way.