WristWatch Magazine - Page 68

m MOTORSPORTS BY JONATHAN BUES Talking Watches and Racing with Sir Jackie Stewart M onterey Classic Car Week really does have it all for the classic car lover. Between the pomp of Pebble’s Concourse d’Elegance, the fun of the Tour d’Elegance, the casual luxury of the Quail, and the action of the Monterey Motorsports Reunion, there is something for just about every car geek. The Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion is a full program of racing at the famous Laguna Seca Raceway in Salinas, California. Sponsored by Rolex, the event features two days of practice and qualifying, followed by a full weekend of racing. The cars range from pre-1940s sport racing and touring, and racing cars produced as early as 1927, all the way up to vintage Formula One cars produced from 1967 to 1984. This year, with the Shelby Mustang celebrating its fiftieth anniversary, the Reunion paid tribute to the classic American muscle car with a large display pavilion of classic racing Shelby Mustangs near the paddock area. Spectators were further treated to a full fleet of racing Shelby Mustangs, all outfitted in the classic white livery 66 WRISTWATCH | 2016 with blue racing stripes. During my visit to Laguna Seca, I had the opportunity to sit down with Formula One legend and Rolex brand ambassador Sir Jackie Stewart. We talked about a range of topics that of course included racing and Rolex watches. WRISTWATCH INTERVIEW WITH SIR JACKIE STEWART WristWatch: How does today’s Formula 1 compare to the racing of your time? Sir Jackie Stewart: I think it’s very similar. The great thing about Formula 1 Grand Prix racing is that the speed of technology and change is greater than any sport or any business of any kind. So the technology is constantly changing. It changes faster than anything, faster than IT, faster than pharmaceuticals, faster than financial services. But the animal remains the same—the driver. In the watch business, there are not what I would call amazing changes. Of course there are changes with technology, but nothing like with Formula 1. I’ll give you an example: from one Grand Prix to the next, which is ten days from when you finish the previous race until when you begin to practice and qualify for the next, there will be a minimum of six major changes. And that means designing it, manufacturing it, engineering it, assembling it, and putting it in the car. Aerospace—nothing—does it it happen that fast. That’s what the great and exciting part of it is for the aficionados. The racing itself is safer today than it’s ever been. When I was racing as a Grand Prix driver, if I raced for 5 years, there was a two out of three chance that I was going to die. Not a good batting average. We recently went 21 years without losing a Grand Prix driver. Ayrton Senna died 21 years ago. And then we lost one other driver