JANUARY 4, 2008
Former Grand Prix driver Jimmy Stewart has died at the age of 76. He was Sir Jackie Stewart's older brother and was the man responsible for getting Jackie interested in racing. The two grew up in Dumbarton where their father Bob was a Jaguar dealer.
Sharing his name with the celebrated Hollywood star, who became famous after Stewart was born, made life difficult but in later years that paled into insignificance as Jackie won three World Championships.
Jimmy started racing in a Healey Silverstone on local hillclimb events in 1951 and 1952 and did sufficiently well to be picked up by David Murray's Ecurie Ecosse team, racing Jaguar C-Types and XK120s in the years that followed. This opened up the possibility of an opportunity in single-seaters as well with a Formula 2 Connaught and an F1 Cooper-Bristol. It was driving the latter car that Stewart made his F1 debut at the British Grand Prix in 1953 after a number of non-championship races. He qualified 15th in a field of 29 and ran as high as sixth before spinning off after 79 of the 90 laps. That would be his only F1 start as the following year as he continued to build his reputation he was signed up to race for Aston Martin in the Le Mans 24 Hours but crashed the DB3S coupe, was thrown out of the car, and ended with a badly broken arm. He returned to action the following year, still with Ecurie Ecosse but during the Nurburgring 1000 he crashed through one of the trackside hedges and was trapped under the car for 10 minutes before help arrived. He injured the same arm again and decided that it was time to stop racing. Stewart was to play a role later when Ken Tyrrell was looking for a new driver for his Formula 3 team and had been told to look at Jackie Stewart. Tyrrell rang Jimmy and asked if the youngster was serious about his racing.
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