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Jim Clark

ClarkJim(blauesHemd)1966Aug.jpg
Clark (left) in 1966
Nationality 22px-Flag of the United Kingdom.png United Kingdom
Years 1960 - 1968
Team(s) Lotus
Races 73
Championships 2
Wins 25
Record from January 1968 - May 1973
Podiums 32
Poles 33
Record from September 1967 - May 1989
Fastest laps 28
Hattricks 13
Record from January 1968 - July 2004 (Pole, Victory, Fastest Lap in the same Grand Prix)
First race 1960 Dutch Grand Prix
First win 1962 Belgian Grand Prix
Last win 1968 South African Grand Prix
Last race 1968 South African Grand Prix


Jim (or Jimmy) Clark OBE (born 4 March, 1936 – died 7 April, 1968) was a Scottish Formula One (F1) racing driver. Twice World Champion, he was the dominant driver of his era.

Early years

He was born James Clark Jr. into a farming family at Kilmany House Farm, Fife, the youngest child of five, and the only boy. In 1942 the family moved to Edington Mains Farm near the town of Duns in Berwickshire in the Scottish Borders. He was educated at primary schools, first in Kilmany and then in Chirnside, and then following three years of preparatory schooling at Clifton Hall near Edinburgh he was sent to Loretto School in Musselburgh, near Edinburgh.

Although his parents were opposed to the idea, Clark started his racing career driving in local road rallies and hill climb events driving his own Sunbeam-Talbot, and proved to be a fearsome competitor right from the off. By 1958 Clark was racing for the local Border Reivers team, racing Jaguar D-Types and Porsches in national events, and winning 18 races.

Then on Boxing Day 1958, Clark met the man who would launch him to superstardom. Driving a Lotus Elite, he finished second to Colin Chapman. Chapman was sufficiently impressed to give Clark a run in one of his Formula Junior cars, and the rest, as they say is history.

Clark and Lotus

Jim Clark in German GP 1962

After Aston Martin's F1 programme fell through, Clark was a free agent. Colin Chapman snapped him up for his F1 squad, and Clark made his debut in the 1960 Dutch Grand Prix. Throughout his F1 career from 1960 to 1968 Clark drove only for the Lotus team. He developed a near telepathic relationship with Chapman, which contributed to their outstanding success together. Chapman's innovative and nimble designs combined with Clark's skills at the wheel made for a nearly unbeatable force. 1962 saw Clark battling Graham Hill who drove for BRM for the World Championship in Chapman's brilliant Lotus 25, but in the final race an oil leak caused him to drop out just as victory seemed a formality.

His first Drivers' World Championship came driving the Lotus 25 in 1963, winning seven out of the ten races and Lotus its first Constructors' World Championship. That year he also competed in the Indianapolis 500 for the first time, and only the oil on the track from winner Parnelli Jones' car prevented him from winning, as he finished in second position and won Rookie of the Year honors. In 1964 Clark came within just a few laps of retaining his crown, but just as in 1962, an oil leak from the engine robbed him of the title, this time conceding to John Surtees. Tyre failure put paid to that year's attempt at the Indianapolis 500. He made amends and won the Championship again in 1965 and also the Indianapolis 500 in the Lotus 38. He had to miss the prestigious Monaco Grand Prix in order to compete at Indianapolis, but made history by driving the first mid-engined car to win at the fabled "Brickyard," as well as becoming the only driver to date to win both that race and the F1 title in the same year.

Jim Clark at the Nürburgring 1965

At the same time, Clark was competing in the Australasia based Tasman series, run for older F1 cars, and was series champion in 1965, 1967 and 1968 driving for Lotus. He won 14 races in all, a record for the series.

The FIA decreed from 1966, new 3-litre engine regulations would come into force. Lotus were less competitive. Starting with a 2-litre Coventry-Climax engine in the Lotus 33, Clark did not score points until the British Grand Prix and a third-place at the following Dutch Grand Prix. From the Italian Grand Prix onward Lotus used the more complex BRM H16 engine in the Lotus 43 car, with which Clark won the United States Grand Prix. He also picked up another second-place finish at the Indianapolis 500, this time behind Graham Hill.

During 1967 Lotus and Clark used three completely different cars and engines. The Lotus 43 performed poorly at the opening South African Grand Prix, so Clark used an old Lotus 33 at the following Monaco Grand Prix, retiring with suspension failure. Lotus then began its fruitful association with Ford-Cosworth. Their first car, the Lotus 49 featuring the most successful F1 engine in history, the Ford-Cosworth DFV, won its first race at the Dutch Grand Prix, driven by Clark. He won with it again at the British, United States and Mexican Grands Prix; and, in January 1968, at the South African Grand Prix. He had established himself as the dominant driver in the dominant car, save for its reliability.


Remarkable performances

Jim Clark's 1967 Italian Grand Prix drive in Monza is regarded one of the greatest drives ever in F1. After starting from pole, he was leading in his Lotus 49 (chassis R2), when a tyre punctured. He lost an entire lap while having the wheel changed in the pits. After rejoining 16th, Clark then showed his genius by driving at his own limit, something which is not required when leading. He ripped back through the field, progessively lowered the lap record, eventually equalling his pole time of 1m 28.5s (233.9 km/h), to regain the lost lap and the lead. He was narrowly ahead of Brabham and Surtees starting the last lap, but his car had not been filled with enough fuel for such a performance - it faltered, and finally coasted across the finish line in third place. This performance is considered unmatched in the long history of F1.

Other examples for his skills are his drive in a Lotus 23 sportscar during the 1962 1000km Nürburgring race or the qualifying for the 1967 German Grand Prix, when he took pole position by nine seconds and more.

The 14.2-mile Nürburgring-Nordschleife circuit brought out the very best in Clark. In the 1962 1000km he drove the small Lotus 23, fitted with a 1500 cc Lotus-Ford twin-cam engine. On a patchily damp track, he outperformed the similar-powered Porsche 718 and the more powerful cars from Ferrari, with drivers like Phil Hill, Dan Gurney and Willy Mairesse at the wheel, and led with nearly 2 minutes outright until, affected by fumes from a broken exhaust, he went off course into the bushes.

Jim Clark also raced at Crimond in the North East of Scotland on 16th June 1956 in his very first car race he was behind the wheel of a DKW "sonderklasse".

Amazingly though, despite his mercurial talent, Clark never won at Monaco. He came close once in 1963 only to be stopped with 22 laps to go with a broken gearbox.


The fatal crash

On 7 April 1968, however, Jim Clark's life and driving career was brought to a premature and tragic end. He was originally slated to drive in the BOAC 1000km sportscar race at Brands Hatch but instead chose to drive in a minor Formula 2 race for Lotus at the Hockenheimring in Germany, mostly due to contractual obligations with Firestone. On the fifth lap, his Lotus 48 veered off the track and crashed into the trees, killing him instantly. The cause of the crash was never definitively identified, but investigators concluded it was most likely due to a deflating rear tyre. Colin Chapman was devastated and publicly stated that he had lost his best friend. As a sign of respect, Chapman ordered the traditional green and yellow badge found on the nose of all Lotus road cars to be replaced with a black badge for a month following Clark's death. The 1968 F1 Drivers' Championship was subsequently won by his Lotus team-mate Graham Hill, who pulled the heartbroken team together and held off Jackie Stewart for the crown, which he later dedicated to Clark.


Legacy

Clark achieved 33 pole positions and won 25 races from his 72 Grands Prix starts in championship races. He is remembered for his ability to drive and win in all types of cars and series, including a Lotus-Cortina, with which he won the 1964 British Touring Car Championship, IndyCar, NASCAR, driving a Ford Galaxie for the Holman Moody team, Rallying, where he took part in the 1966 RAC Rally of Great Britain in a Lotus Cortina, and nearly won the event before crashing, and sports cars. He competed in the Le Mans 24 Hour race in 1959, 1960 and 1961, finishing 2nd in class in 1959 driving a Lotus Elite, and finishing 3rd overall in 1960, driving an Aston Martin DBR1.

He was also able to master difficult Lotus sportscar prototypes such as the Lotus 30 and 40. Clark had an uncanny ability to adapt to whichever car he was driving. Whilst other drivers would struggle to find a good car setup, Clark would usually set competitive lap times with whatever setup was provided and ask for the car to be left as it was.

He apparently had difficulty understanding why other drivers were not as quick as himself. After his death, Clark's father told Dan Gurney that he was the only driver his son ever feared. When Clark died, fellow driver Chris Amon was quoted as saying, "If it could happen to him, what chance do the rest of us have?"

Jim Clark is buried in the village of Chirnside in Berwickshire. A memorial stone can be found at the Hockenheimring circuit, moved from the site of his crash to a location closer to the current track.


Complete Formula One results

(Races in bold indicate pole position)

Year Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Team WDC Points
1960 Lotus ARG
MON
INDY
NED
Ret
BEL
5
FRA
5
GBR
16
POR
3
ITA
USA
16
Lotus 10th 8
1961 Lotus MON
10
NED
3
BEL
12
FRA
3
GBR
Ret
GER
4
ITA
Ret
USA
7
Lotus 7th 11
1962 Lotus NED
9
MON
Ret
BEL
1
FRA
Ret
GBR
1
GER
4
ITA
Ret
USA
1
RSA
Ret
Lotus 2nd 30
1963 Lotus MON
8
BEL
1
NED
1
FRA
1
GBR
1
GER
2
ITA
1
USA
3
MEX
1
RSA
1
Lotus 1st 63
1964 Lotus MON
4
NED
1
BEL
1
FRA
Ret
GBR
1
GER
Ret
AUT
Ret
ITA
Ret
USA
7
MEX
5
Lotus 3rd 32
1965 Lotus RSA
1
MON
BEL
1
FRA
1
GBR
1
NED
1
GER
1
ITA
10
USA
Ret
MEX
Ret
Lotus 1st 54
1966 Lotus MON
Ret
BEL
Ret
FRA
DNS
GBR
4
NED
3
GER
Ret
ITA
Ret
USA
1
MEX
Ret
Lotus 6th 16
1967 Lotus RSA
Ret
MON
Ret
NED
1
BEL
6
FRA
Ret
GBR
1
GER
Ret
CAN
Ret
ITA
3
USA
1
MEX
1
Lotus 3rd 41
1968 Lotus RSA
1
ESP
MON
BEL
NED
FRA
GBR
GER
ITA
CAN
USA
MEX
Lotus 11th 9


Awards


Bibliography

  • Jim Clark At The Wheel; Jim Clark, Barker, 1964
  • The Jim Clark Story; Jim Gavin, Frewin, 1967
  • Jim Clark, Portrait Of A Great Driver; Graham Gauld, Hamlyn, 1968, ISBN 0-668-01842-9
  • Jim Clark Remembered; Graham Gauld, Patrick Stephens, 1984, ISBN 0-85059-730-7
  • Autocourse Driver Profile: Jim Clark; Doug Nye, Hazleton, 1991, ISBN 0-905138-77-5
  • Jim Clark, The Legend Lives On; Graham Gauld, Patrick Stephens, 1994, ISBN 1-85260-144-2
  • Jim Clark; Eric Dymock, Haynes, 1997, ISBN 0-85429-982-3
  • Jim Clark And His Most Successful Lotus; Doug Nye, Haynes, 2004, ISBN 1-84425-029-6


External links


Formula One World Drivers' Champions
(1950Nino FarinaTemplate:·(1951Juan Manuel FangioTemplate:·(195253Alberto AscariTemplate:·(1954,55,56,57Juan Manuel FangioTemplate:·(1958Mike HawthornTemplate:· (195960Jack BrabhamTemplate:· (1961Phil HillTemplate:·

(1962Graham HillTemplate:· (1963Jim ClarkTemplate:· (1964John SurteesTemplate:· (1965Jim ClarkTemplate:· (1966Jack BrabhamTemplate:· (1967Denny HulmeTemplate:· (1968Graham HillTemplate:· (1969Jackie StewartTemplate:· (1970Jochen RindtTemplate:· (1971Jackie StewartTemplate:· (1972Emerson FittipaldiTemplate:· (1973Jackie StewartTemplate:· (1974Emerson FittipaldiTemplate:· (1975Niki LaudaTemplate:· (1976James HuntTemplate:· (1977Niki LaudaTemplate:· (1978Mario AndrettiTemplate:· (1979Jody ScheckterTemplate:· (1980Alan JonesTemplate:· (1981Nelson PiquetTemplate:· (1982Keke RosbergTemplate:· (1983Nelson PiquetTemplate:· (1984Niki LaudaTemplate:· (198586Alain ProstTemplate:· (1987Nelson PiquetTemplate:· (1988Ayrton SennaTemplate:· (1989Alain ProstTemplate:· (199091Ayrton SennaTemplate:· (1992Nigel MansellTemplate:· (1993Alain ProstTemplate:· (199495Michael SchumacherTemplate:· (1996Damon HillTemplate:· (1997Jacques VilleneuveTemplate:· (199899Mika HäkkinenTemplate:· (2000,01,02,03,04Michael SchumacherTemplate:· (200506Fernando Alonso

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