DRIVERS: JODY SCHECKTER
Name: Jody Scheckter
Nationality: South Africa
Date of birth: January 29, 1950 - East London
As a 22-year old fresh from his native South Africa, Jody Scheckter earned a place in the cockpit of a works McLaren F1 car only 18 months after arriving in the UK. One of the most promising young drivers of his era, he dazzled the racing fraternity with terrific car control and considerable bravery. Unfortunately, Jody's early F1 career was punctuated by a massive accident at the end of the opening lap of the 1973 British Grand Prix. He ran wide onto the grass coming out of Woodcote corner and spun back across the circuit, triggering a multiple pileup which eliminated half the field and brought the race to a halt.
In 1974 Scheckter joined the Tyrrell team in the wake of Jackie Stewart's retirement and the death of Francois Cevert at the end of the previous season. He stayed with Tyrrell until the end of '76, during which he drove their P34 six-wheeler, giving this strange car its only victory in the Swedish Grand Prix, and coming a good third in the Championship. He then joined the emergent Wolf team to finish runner-up in the 1977 title chase behind Niki Lauda.
In 1979 he joined Ferrari and, confounding all the critics, got on famously with the Italian team and won the World Championship. Quick, shrewd and blessed with a dry sense of humor, Jody Scheckter was one of the most popular F1 exponents of his time. After his retirement in 1980 he went to the United States and began a business called FATS, designing and building simulation equipment for firearms training. He later the sold the company for a large fortune and turned his attention to overseeing the racing careers of his two sons.