Quotes of people who worked with Jim Clark at that time:

Grand Prix Showdown, Christopher Hilton We must picture it as best we can: the low, low Lotus 25, Clark’s hands encased in black driving gloves and holding the wheel with such sensitivity, such lightness of touch. Jim Clark did not beat the Nürburgring into submission. He caressed it into surrender, seduced from it every secret it had.

Colin Chapman, 1965 after Clark being WC again: He drove on a plan of his own which conserved the machinery, conserved his own energy, and was adequate to win the race. I never controlled him while he was racing. All I did was give him the maximum amount of information and let him run the race.

Allan McCall, Lotus mechanic: "Some people can operate on a different plane and Jimmy was one of those. I imagine Nuvolari and Fangio were the same. He carried so much more speed into, and through, a corner. Jimmy never used brakes really, he was just magic: he could damn near run a season on a set of brake-pads and Graham Hill couldn't get through a weekend! He could go quicker, easier, than the other guys. He had his way of rushing out in the races, mainly because he always thought it was dangerous to race with people - his thing was 'get away from the maniacs!'

Alec Mekell, Dunlop engineer: "We could spend a day tyre testing, select what he felt were the best tyres, and then he'd go out again on the basic control set and lap quicker still! Technically, that was pretty exasperating. He never looked as if he was trying, that was the other thing - he never looked untidy and his tyre wear and temperatures were always lower than Graham's for instance. He always seemed to adjust his driving to whatever the car or the tyres demanded - he was just naturally, apparently effortlessly, quick."

Keith Duckworth, designer of the CosworthV8: "You could actually tell the difference between a Graham Hill engine and a Clark engine by the fact that Clark would have apologized for having over-revved it on two or three occasions and the valve gear would show no signs of having been over-revved, whereas Graham's had never been over-revved and the valve gear was quite often tatty! I think Clark just changed gear gently, didn't he? There was never any hurry about anything, he had bags of time because he was incredibly good."

Doug Nye, writer:

"He habitually wore his tyres, his brakes, his gearbox, his engine less than other, slower, lesser men and even in the underpowered 1.5 litre formula could be spectacular although his car's transition in cornering-stance through a curve was always notably, incredibly smooth, flowing - a dynamic art at the highest level. Stirling Moss appreciated that braking in a straight line and then locking into a corner was substituting one tyre loading, braking, for another, cornering. He perfected the art of balancing both loads simultaneously, braking later and maintaining it right to the apex, where he had the sensitivity almost instantaneously to replace the combined loads of braking and cornering with those of accelerating and cornering. Jim Clark could do the same."


Jim Clark to Graham Gauld, biographer: 'Most people run deep into a corner before turning the wheel to go round. In this way you can complete all your braking in a straight line, as everyone recommends you do, but I prefer to cut into the corner early and even with my brakes on to set up the car earlier. In this way, I almost make a false apex because I get the power on early and try to drift the car through the true apex and continue with this sliding until I am set up for the next bit of straight ..."

In preparation for 'The Jim Clark Film Festival 2008' the organiser, writer and historian Michael Oliver interviewed his special guests on what made Jim Clark so special and what made him 'Simply The Best'

find below the answers he received from Ex-Lotus mechanics who worked with Jim Clark:

Allan McCall, who worked with Jim Clark as a mechanic on his Formula 1, Indy and saloon cars, says:
"All Jimmy ever wanted was a car that repeated. He could adapt himself to anything, provided he knew what the recipe was".

Gordon Huckle, McCall`s colleague in 1967, agrees.
"He was a 'make-do' driver. In practice he'd come in and say 'Oh, so-and-so`s not quite right' - perhaps he was just catching his hand on the gear lever or something. After practice you'd say to him 'OK, Jim, where do you want it?' and he'd think for a minute and say 'Oh, leave it, I've got used to it'.

"Certainly he didn't like the car to be pulled around too much. You'd say to him 'Well, let's have your job list, Jim, what do you want done?' and he'd say 'Well, look, if you really want to do something, polish it'.

Michael Oliver, writer and historian: (partial quote on Jim's ability to adapt and feel for the car:)
"Yet his uncanny ability to adapt to changes in the handling characteristics of a car could also count against him, as Sir Jack Brabham recalls.
'He didn't have a very good feel for the car which, I'm absolutely certain, was what got him in the end. I raced against him at Rouen once. There were four of us in the race for the lead, always passing one another, and Jim had a tyre going down and everybody knew about it except Jim. We couldn't believe he didn't know'.

There are other instances of this, including a photo taken during the Italian Grand Prix at Monza 1967 when Brabham forced his way up the inside of the Scot at the Parabolica and pointed to Clark's car to bring a deflating tyre to his attention.

Oddly enough, there are plenty of counter-balancing stories about times when Clark was able to detect almost imperceptible issues with his cars and resolutely refused to go out until the mechanics had found and sorted the problem. These seem to suggest that he did have a good awareness of his car's internals but that perhaps tyres was one area of weakness."


Quotes taken from:
from interviews done in preparation for the 'The Jim Clark Film Festival' on 23/24 February 2008 by Michael Oliver
'Jim Clark, the legend lives on' by Graham Gauld
'Jim Clark' by Doug Nye
'Jim Clark' by Eric Dymock
'Lotus 49, the story of a legend' by Michael Oliver
'and some from unknown sources'

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Petra, 24.07.2002, revised 18.04.2008


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