Jody Scheckter

Jody Scheckter

Infobox F1 driver

|220px|Jody Scheckter in 1979
Name = Jody Scheckter
Nationality = flagicon|South Africa|1928 South African
Years = F1|1972 - F1|1980
Team(s) = McLaren, Tyrrell, Wolf, Ferrari
Races = 113 (111 starts)
Championships = 1 (1979)
Wins = 10
Podiums = 33
Points = 246 (255)Up until F1|1990, not all points scored by a driver contributed to their final World Championship tally (see list of pointscoring systems for more information). Numbers without parentheses are Championship points; numbers in parentheses are total points scored.]
Poles = 3
Fastest laps = 5
First race = 1972 United States Grand Prix
First win = 1974 Swedish Grand Prix
Last win = 1979 Italian Grand Prix
Last race = 1980 United States Grand Prix

Jody David Scheckter (born January 29, 1950) is a South African former auto racing driver, the 1979 Formula One World Drivers Champion.


Scheckter was born in East London, South Africa and educated at Selborne College.

He rapidly ascended to the ranks of Formula One after moving to Britain in 1970. He debuted in Formula One at Watkins Glen in 1972 with McLaren and ran as high as 3rd place before spinning and finishing 9th. Immediately becoming a name to watch, he continued his development the following year, winning the Formula 5000 championship and racing 5 times in F1. In France, he almost won in his third start in F1 before crashing into Emerson Fittipaldi. In his next start, the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, Scheckter was involved in a big accident which took nearly a dozen cars out of the race, an incident which in many ways summed up his early career. Scheckter's McLaren M23 bore the number zero during the American and Canadian Grands Prix of 1973. Scheckter is one of only two F1 drivers to compete under this number, the other being Damon Hill.
Tyrrell in 1974 gave him his first full-time drive in F1. Jody rewarded them with a 3rd place finish in the drivers' championship and a pair of wins in Sweden and Britain. During the year, he scored points in 8 consecutive races, one of the longer streaks of the time. A slight off-year followed, although he did become the only South African to win the South African Grand Prix, but his third year with the team in 1976 gave him another 3rd place finish in the driver's championship. In that season, Tyrrell introduced the most radical car in F1 history, the six-wheeled Tyrrell P34. Scheckter gave the six-wheeler its only win on Sweden's Anderstorp circuit and in his 12 races with the car, he scored points 10 times. This included a thrilling race-long battle for the lead in the American Grand Prix between himself and his great friend James Hunt.

Scheckter left for Walter Wolf's new team in 1977 and Scheckter gave the team a win in its maiden race. He won twice more with the team and was commonly on the podium when he finished, but finished 2nd behind a more dominant Niki Lauda in points. A 7th place finish with the team in 1978 followed and he left the team after the season to join Ferrari to partner Gilles Villeneuve in the team's ground effect 312T4 car.

Critics felt he would not get along well with management at Ferrari, but he far surpassed expectations and helped give F1's most recognizable team another constructors' championship, while Scheckter's consistent finishes, with three wins among them, gave him the driver's championship in 1979 [cite web|url=|publisher=|Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile|FIA|title=F1 Teams & Drivers Hall of Fame: Jody Schekter|accessdate=2007-10-24] . However, he struggled very badly in his 1980 title defense, even failing to qualify for one race. After only managing 2 points, Scheckter retired from the team and the sport.

Scheckter was the last driver to win a driver's championship for Ferrari until Michael Schumacher did so 21 years later. After Scheckter's retirement, he founded FATS Inc, a company which built firearms training simulators for military, law enforcement and security organizations. The sale of the company provided funds to allow Scheckter to help the racing careers of his sons Tomas and Toby. Tomas races in the Indy Racing League and held pole position for the 2003 Indianapolis 500. Scheckter's brother, Ian, also raced in F1 for a few years.

In 2004 Scheckter was reunited with his championship-winning Ferrari at the South African two-seater F1x2 Charity Grand Prix at Kyalami in South Africa.

Scheckter was a guest commentator for ITV during the 1999 San Marino Grand Prix, replacing Martin Brundle.

Scheckter now spends his time as an organic farmer [cite news|title=Formula One's Jody Scheckter Turns to Meat|publisher= [] |url='s_Jody_Scheckter_turns_to_meat.html|date=March 1, 2007] after buying Laverstoke Park farm, located in Hampshire, 40 miles west of London. As an organic farming expert, Scheckter was featured in 2005 on the Visionhealth DVD and TV documentaries "Asthma: An Integrated Approach", "Arthritis: An Integrated Approach" and "Diabetes: An Integrated Approach". On 26 February 2008, he also appeared on the Horizon television show to make a case for organic food.

Complete Formula One results

() (Races in bold indicate pole position; races in "italics" indicate fastest lap)



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