The Formula One champion enjoys the ride with Chopard.
His racing prowess and fearlessness are the stuff of legend. With no less than 114 Formula One Grand Prix races under his belt, one might expect legendary driver Jacky Ickx to be an imposing, intimidating figure. In fact the opposite is true. At a recent meeting at Baselworld this March, Ickx was personable and warm, glad to share his racing stories, his close relationship with Chopard co-founder Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, and the state of professional racecar driving today.
“Luckily in my time things were much easier,” than they are today, says Ickx. “People who were professional then were true amateurs compared with what the drivers are today,” including himself, he admits. “I was, like many others, supposed to be a professional. Even in the smallest category today they are more professional than we were. And the teams, when I think of the Ferrari teams from the 70s, they would not compare with the Formula 3 teams today.” Now, “the computer tells you what to do, they analyze everything, it’s another thing altogether.”
“It is incredible for me to be alive, because I come from an era when two-thirds of the people died in motor racing. But I never thought about it when I was young”
One thing that has not changed is his love for driving and his longstanding relationship with Scheufele. The friendship formed after a chance encounter at Scheufele’s jewelry shop, when Ickx stopped by to have his wife’s bracelet adjusted. More than two decades later, they have partnered on several Mille Miglia races, many with Ickx enjoying the view from the passenger seat.
Along the way, Ickx became more intimately involved with the business. “I may say I am an ambassador of the group. I cannot say it is a job. It is a strong relationship with an individual and a family. I have known everyone for 25 years. There are very few family businesses left. I am an admirer [of Chopard].”
This year marks the launch of the seventh edition of the limited edition Jacky Ickx chronographs, with the Superfast Chrono Porsche 919 Jacky Ickx edition. “I have some influence on the edition pieces, I’ve always had an option to say what I would love to have,” he says. “Sometimes I propose things that are impossible.” But Scheufele always hears him out. “He says, ‘I’m sorry, that won’t work’ but he always tries to make me happy, which is nice because [in this field] I am totally incompetent.”
The Superfast Chrono Porsche 919 Jacky Ickx edition sports the blue and white colors of Ickx’ racing helmet, and the design codes of the Porsche 919 of the World Endurance Championship, with the stripes on the dial inspired by the rear diffuser of Porsche’s 919 Hybrid. The COSC certified chronograph’s caseback is engraved with “Official Timing Partner Porsche Motorsport,” and “Jacky Ickx Limited Edition.” Just 100 pieces will be produced. —Hyla Bauer