Date of Birth: March 4th 1936
  Place of Birth: Kilmany, Great Britain, Scotland
  Date of death: April 7th 1968 at Hockenheim F2 race
  F1 World Champion:
Indy500 Winner
1963 and 1965
1965 won!
1963 and 1966 runner up (2nd)

Jim Clark's career begin

To tell the story of Jim Clark and all that he has done and what kind of races he drove in what kind of different cars would fill a book. From what I've read and learned from my bit of research I've done for this tribute he drove everything that had 4 wheels. This tribute focuses on his F1 career.

Jim Clark was raised as son of a Scottish farmer and already had his first victories in small rallies at the end of the '50s. In 1958 Jock McBain bought him a Jaguar D-Type, which Jim raced in about 20 races, of which he won 12! His friend Ian Scott-Watson managed to purchase a Lotus Elite for him and it didn't last long till he met Lotus founder Colin Chapman. Since the F1 project with Aston  Martin had failed Clark got a drive from Chapman in a Lotus F2 in formula junior in 1960. Right from the beginning Clark was winning races and Chapman gave Clark the opportunity to debut in F1 in the summer of the same year at the Grand Prix of the Netherlands at Zandvoort. Clark drove in 5th place for a long time until a transmission failure ended the race prematurely. While the remainder of the season Clark scored 8 Championship points including one podium finish (3rd) at Portugal.

The Lotus boss realized which great potential Jim Clark had and his plan was to build his 1961 Grand Prix Team around Clark, at the same time they went with the new 1.5 Liter engine formula. 1961 proved to be a tough year because Ferrari was more than prepared, and unfortunately Jim Clark was involved in the accident in which Graf Berghe von Trips lost his life. After investigating this accident weeks later they concluded that Jim Clark was NOT guilty of causing the accident.

In 1962 Colin Chapman - well known for his revolutionary and sometimes risky constructions - created the Lotus 25, the first monocoque chassis in F1. Also the Climax V8 was introduced, a brand new engine which proved to be very strong. This car was a really big success in the hands of the Scotsman. In the debut race of that car at Zandvoort Clark climbed to the lead very quickly, but a clutch problem caused him to drop him down the order. The same problem occurred at Monaco - in many races of that year mechanical failures would stop Clark from scoring a victory. But at Spa he finally made it and he won, a deserved victory. In 1962 he was near by to get the Championship but always technical problems stopped him, this should change soon.

In 1963 Jim Clark seemed to be unbeatable. Apart from the season opener at Monaco he finished every race on the podium, had 7 victories and broke every record. Yeah, he got World Champion in a way that people began to complain the F1 was boring  ;-))
1967: The new Lotus 49

Colin Chapman releases his revolutionary Lotus 49 with the Ford Cosworth engine. Guess who was the first to drive it: Colin Chapman himself drives the car for the first time up the runway at Hethel in May 67. Look at that smile in his face, his enthusiasm.

Here I end my little story of Jim Clarks career start. He stayed with Lotus his entire career. He was in F1 from 1960 - till his death April 7th 1968.
The world was shocked when they learned that Jim Clark had died in an accident at Hockenheim in a F2 car. The car left the track and crashed into a tree, the wheels were torn off and parts were spread over a distance of 100 meters, They said he maybe lived still about 15 minutes but basically Jim Clark was dead in the same second.


[Jim Clark`s record, race results] >>
[back to  home]

Petra, 24.07.2002


  Contact: webmaster  Petra