GRAND PRIX RACING
(photo by brian spurr - 1979)
Jody Schecketer - South African World Champion - 1979
Jody Scheckter became the only South African to win the World Driver's Championship Title in 1979, he drove for Ferrari. He was born on the 29th of February 1950 in East London, South Africa. He competed in various local competitions and earned the nickname "sideways" for his enthusiastic driving style! He then won the prestigious "Driver to Europe Award" which enabled him to go and compete in Britain. His first race was at Brands Hatch in a Merlyn Formula Ford car. It was known as the "Magic" Merlyn as it had been used by Emerson Fitipaldi. It was fairly old by the time Jody got it! He put the car on on pole position and it was only a spin in the wet that prevented him from winning the race (he came 2nd).
After this sensational debut he was a watched man and he started a meteoric rise to the top. He also drove in Escort Mexico, F3, F2, F5000, sports cars and the Can Am series before graduating to Formula One. His first Grand Prix was at Watkins Glen in a McLaren where he outdrove many seasoned drivers. He had arrived! After winning the Championship the ever shrewd and increasingly safety conscious Jody had one more season and then decided to quit at the top. He now runs a very successful business in Atlanta, Georgia. Brother Ian also raced in Formula One and now the new generation Jaki and Toby Scheckter are making their marks in motor racing.
(photo by brian spurr)
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Last updated 6 July 1998.