Fearless and versatile, Jim Clark is considered one of the finest racing drivers of all time, having won two world championships before his untimely death behind the wheel.
Born into a Fife farming family in 1936, he began racing in local road rally and hill climb events, driving his own Sunbeam-Talbot. By 1958, he was driving for the local Border Reivers team, racing Jaguar D-types and Porsches in national events and and winning 18 races.
After becoming the Scottish national speed champion in 1958 and 1959, he joined Lotus in as a Formula One driver in 1960. He made his debut part-way through the season at the Dutch Grand Prix, and soon scored his first points after coming fifth in Belgium. The following year, at the Italian Grand Prix, he was involved in a collision with a Ferrari driven by Wolfgang von Trips, which crashed into a crash barrier, killing Trips and 15 spectators.
Two years later, Jim won his first Drivers' World Championship in a Lotus 25, giving Lotus its first Constructors' World Championship. His remarkable performances included winning the Belgian Grand Prix in extreme fog and rain, and his record of seven wins out of ten races would not be equalled until 1984.
He became world champion again two years later in a Lotus 38, and also triumphed at the Indianapolis 500 after leading for 190 of the 200 laps. This victory in the United States meant he became the only driver to win both events in the same year.
By the start of the 1968 season, Jim had enjoyed 33 pole positions and won 25 grands prix, breaking the record of 24 held by Argentina’s Juan Fangio. His ability to drive – and win – in all types of cars meant he’d also been series champion in the Tasman series in Australasia in 1965, 1967 and 1968, notching up a record 14 wins.
However, his luck ran out on 7 April 1968 on the Hockenheim circuit in Germany. On the fifth lap of a Formula 2 race, his Lotus 48 veered off the track and crashed into trees. Jim suffered a broken neck and fractured skull and died on the way to hospital. He was 32.
Fellow track legend Sir Jackie Stewart said later: “He was so smooth, he was so clean, he drove with such finesse. He never bullied a racing car, he sort of caressed it into doing the things he wanted it to do.”
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