Sir Jackie Stewart says finding a cure for dementia would be a bigger achievement than anything he did in his motor-racing career.
The 83-year-old was Formula One World Champion in 1969, 1971 and 1973.
He set up the Race Against Dementia organisation after his wife Helen was diagnosed with the condition.
It’s now funding PhD researchers around the world, including in Edinburgh, to accelerate research.
He said: “I think we’ve got a chance of getting this done. The brain is by far the most complicated piece of kit in the world, so it’s a big challenge.”
There are an estimated 90,000 people with dementia in Scotland according to government. Around 3,000 of these people will be under the age of 65 years.
By 2031 it is projected that there will be approximately 102,000 to 114,000 people living with the condition according to Alzheimer Scotland.
“Of people born today, one in three are going to have dementia, with no cure,” he added. “So we can’t have that. We need youth, we need energy, we need a new way of doing business because the establishment has failed.”
This weekend thousands of spectators are expected at an event at Thirlestane Castle in the Borders, the Sir Jackie Stewart Classic, celebrating his career and raising money for more research.
“It’s a big event because we’re having something like twenty of my racing cars, my Formula One cars, my sportscars, my GT cars, touring cars.”
“The reason for doing it is to raise funds to get more young talent and do a better job than has been there for some years.”
On the prospect of research leading to a dementia cure Sir Jackie said: “For sure this would be the biggest thing I’ve ever done. The progress we’ve made so far I’m more than pleased about but we’ve got to get a cure.”