Obituary – Jimmy Stewart

Ecurie Ecosse and works Jaguar and Aston Martin driver Jimmy Stewart has died at the age of 76. His racing career was short but promising, starting in 1951/52 with a Healey Silverstone in which he impressed Ecurie Ecosse patron David Murray and was invited into the Scottish team for 1953 – as long as the family motor business bought him a Jaguar C-type. Despite doing his National Service at the time, and thanks to a helpful CO, he had a good season with several wins in the C and an XK120, and also finished sixth in the British GP in the Ecosse Cooper-Bristol. His skill and smoothness caught John Wyer’s eye, and he drove a works Aston Martin DB3S coupé at Le Mans in 1954, but due to its unstable aerodynamics wrote it off at White House, badly breaking his arm.

For 1955 Lofty England brought Stewart into the Jaguar squad. After he chased Mike Hawthorn to the flag in the Daily Express saloon event at Silverstone, England asked him to share a D-type with Hawthorn at Le Mans “because I believe the pair of you can match the speed of Fangio and Moss in the Mercedes”. Thus Jimmy should have shared Hawthorn’s victory; however, a month before that he was racing a D at the Nürburgring when he went through a hedge and was trapped in the wrecked car for 10 minutes with petrol pouring onto him.

This convinced him to abandon motor racing – at least directly, for despite their mother’s opposition he was keen to see if his younger brother Jackie had any talent. At a test session at Oulton Park in 1962 in a DB4GT, a 23-year-old Jackie took a couple of seconds off Jimmy and showed that he had some potential.

Jimmy returned to the motor business, selling Rolls-Royces in Glasgow and Edinburgh, and although his career and personal life declined, he took pride in his brother’s racing success. A thorough gentleman, Jimmy shared Jackie’s belief in scrupulous preparation and good presentation in every aspect of life, and remained a cheerful fund of racing memories. More than one observer judged that he had all the talent of Jackie, but the wrong luck. GC