Racing's greats celebrate 100 years of Motor Sport

100 years of Motor Sport

Luminaries from the world of racing including Sir Jackie Stewart, Adrian Newey and Damon Hill came together to celebrate the 100th birthday of the world's oldest motor sport publication

Damon Hill with Clive Chapman and Karun Chandhok on satge at Motor Sport 100th annniversary party

Damon Hill presents Race Car of the Century Award to Clive Chapman from Classic Team Lotus

Jonathan Bushell

Some of racing’s most celebrated names toasted 100 years of Motor Sport last night, in a star-studded gala marking the centenary of the original racing magazine.

Sir Jackie Stewart, Adrian Newey, Martin Brundle and Ross Brawn were among the guests who helped to tell the colourful story of motor racing’s past 100 years, at London’s Dorchester Hotel.

“I started reading Motor Sport when I was a wee boy and I’ve still got most of the magazines,” said Sir Jackie. “It was always a great magazine. It has been, I think, forever. The best magazine particularly in the case of Formula 1 and sports cars.”

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The celebrations culminated in the announcement of the Lotus 49 as the Race Car of the Century, as voted for by Motor Sport readers. The award was presented to Clive Chapman by Damon Hill — whose fathers, Colin and Graham, shared so much success with the ground-breaking car.

But while there was much praise for the Lotus and its DFV engine, it was the affinity with Motor Sport itself that drew legendary drivers, designers and engineers to the 100th anniversary party.

“It’s been an amazing magazine for for so many of us,” said Newey. “I think so many people in this room including myself have read it since the age of pretty much when I could read.

“The fact that iconic magazine is still on the shelves and still published to such a high standard and with such interesting stories all these years later is outstanding.”

Paying tribute to Motor Sport’s owner Edward Atkin, Newey added: “ I’d like to say a huge thank you and congratulations to Edward for his continuing support of Motor Sport.”

Owner of the Goodwood Estate, the Duke of Richmond, recalled his school days when his grandfather posted him the latest issue. “It was always a highlight of the month when it arrived,” he said.

“The journalism is as good as it gets,” said BTCC champion Jason Plato. “It’s got a special place in all of our worlds”.

Steve Nichols with David Richards Adrian Newey and Leena Gade

Left to right Steve Nichols, David Richards, Leena Gade, Adrian Newey

Jonathan Bushell

Steve Rider hosted the 100th anniversary event, held in association with Richard Mille. Alongside the veteran grand prix presenter was Sky analyst and former F1 driver Karun Chandhok, the evening’s ‘roving reporter’ who coaxed anecdotes from the 250 guests.

Historic moments from racing history poured forth: David Coulthard recalled his role in Mercedes’ glorious past, David Brabham spoke about being a Bentley Boy, Richard Attwood reminisced about winning Le Mans, Steve Nichols talked of designing the formidable McLaren MP4/4 while working with Prost and Senna, and Leena Gade described engineering Audi’s remarkable diesel sports cars.

From the archive

Head of Motorsport UK and Prodrive, David Richards, explained how Colin McRae was responsible for the Subaru Impreza’s iconic image, and Ferrari Le Mans winner James Calado said he wished that he had raced in a different era when could have competed in the Scuderia’s 166 sports car, winner of the 1949 race.

Ross Brawn, former technical director of F1 championship-winning Benetton and Ferrari F1 teams, said he has “always, always” read Motor Sport and can’t avoid resisting the classified ads in the back. He was there representing the Grand Prix Trust, which supports F1 team personnel and was the event’s charity partner.

Alongside racing personalities were three cars from our Race Car of the Century shortlist: a Bentley Speed Eight, Lotus 49 and McLaren MP4/4, alongside a current Gen 3 Formula E car.

With a nod to the future, Formula E was awarded Motor Sport’s innovation award, sponsored by Diriyah.

Motor Sport also remembered two cornerstone figures in its history, with a video showing the famous 1955 Mille Miglia triumph of Stirling Moss and his co-driver, Motor Sport’s Continental Correspondent Denis ‘Jenks’ Jenkinson.

Motor Sport’s editor Joe Dunn was joined by Sir Jackie who didn’t hesitate in reminding him of the “pretty bad things” Jenks wrote about the three-time world champion’s safety crusade.

“He hated me,” said Sir Jackie. “Hated me because I closed the Nürburgring because it was too dangerous…But we went to race in Detroit and I was driving everybody around in the fastest Ford cars that they had at that time. Jenks got told to sit with me so I took him around the track and we give it full whack. And suddenly, Jenks was my friend.

“Jenks was probably the best motor racing journalist that there was. He was a great writer”

Joe Dunn with Jackie Stewart

Joe Dunn and Jackie Stewart

Jonathan Bushell

There was applause aplenty for Moss and Jenks, and more soon afterwards as the results of the Race Car of the Century were announced and Damon Hill came on stage with Clive Chapman.

“For the Lotus 49 to come out on top… It’s just fantastic,” said Chapman. “The line-up of cars that the readers were voting for was really spectacular.

“[It’s] fantastic for you to be here Damon to share the moment. Obviously Graham was so closely associated with the car. This is the only chassis that ever won Monaco twice. And that was with Graham.

“The 49 was the biggest step in year-on-year performance ever seen in F1 history and was created by some of the sport’s greatest ever engineering minds. It was raced by five world champions and not many cars can say that!”

Hill added: “My dad would be tickled pink – as I’m sure would Colin – to know that together they worked on a car which has been recognised in this way. It is a tremendous honour that the readers of Motor Sport have voted for the Lotus and we are proud as the Hill family to have been involved in an amazing project like this.”

McLaren MP4-4 at Motor Sport 100th anniversary party

McLaren MP4/4 among the race-winners on display

Jonathan Bushell

Editor Joe Dunn told guests that readers remained at the heart of the title. “It’s regarded by readers as much theirs as it is anyone’s,” he said.

“Right from its very first edition as The Brooklands Gazette all those years ago in 1924, Motor Sport has always been a revered title and now, a hundred summers on, we are deeply honoured and mightily proud to have honoured its remarkable centenary in such terrific style and in such illustrious company. The institution that is Motor Sport thoroughly deserves such a momentous celebration.”

Motor Sport’s 100th Anniversary gala was held in association with Richard Mille

We would like to thank our sponsors, Diriyah – City of Earth, Footman James, Bentley, and Classic Team Lotus.

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