When Jody Scheckter won the Formula One World Championship in 1979, he became the first South African to win a world title.
Scheckter joined the Formula One circuit in 1974, winning the British and Swedish Grand Prix. That year, he placed third in world championship rankings and was named Driver of the Year by the British Guild of Motoring Writers.
In 1976, he again ranked third in the world championships. The following year, Scheckter was runner-up in his quest for the world title, with triumphs in Argentina, Monaco, and Canada. In 1979, following Grand Prix wins in Belgium, Monaco, and Italy, he captured the World Formula One Racing Car Championship.
Prior to entering the Grand Prix circuit, Scheckter was a prominent stockcar racer in his native South Africa, graduating to Formula Ford and Formula Two racing in the early 1970s. In 1972, he won the American Formula 5000 Championship and was awarded South Africa’s Springbok honors, his nation’s highest sports commendation.
Scheckter retired in 1980 at age 30.