I didn’t have any heroes when I was growing up. My dad had a garage, a Simca agency, and entered cars for races, so I remember lots of drivers staying with us. That was my first contact with the sport. My uncle Tom Scheckter also raced.
My first memory of wanting to be a racing driver was a visit to the South African GP when I was 13. I thought, ‘If I jump over the fence, get in a car and do a few laps before they catch me, maybe they will realise how quick I am.’
When I won the scholarship to race in Europe, I was introduced to this little squeaky-voiced guy. I didn’t know who it was — until I was told it was Jackie Stewart.
Even when I came to Europe I looked up to no one. I just wanted to beat everybody.
& favourite road car
I would have to say its the Mercedes-Benz S-class. I’ve always liked them and still drive one today. The reason? It goes fast, its very comfortable and does everything well — just what Mercedes is all about, or at least what it used to be about.
I liked the VW Golf when it first came out, too. The more you drove that car, the more you liked it, which was rare.
I had a couple of Ferrari 400s when I drove for Ferrari. The Old Man wouldn’t let me drive a Mercedes. But I didn’t like the 400i — it was a big heavy lump. I had to buy them off a dealer in Switzerland because it was cheaper than getting them from the factory! It could be tough being a driver for Ferrari…