Formula Ones’ Greatest: Jim Clark

Jim Clark was born March 4th 1936, he was a two time Formula One World Champion but drove in various catogories such as sports cars, touring cars and the Indianapolis 500 race which he also won. He tragically lost his life during a Formula 2 racing accident in 1968 in Hockenheim.

Born in Fife, Scotland to a farming family Clark was the youngest of five and the only boy. He began racing in local rally and hill climbing events, which led to him meeting the legendary Colin Chapman, whom he finished second to at a race held at Brands Hatch in 1958.  Chapman was impressed by Clarks driving, and gave him a drive in one of his junior formula cars.

Clark made his F1 debut at the Dutch Grand Prix in June 1960, he retired on lap 49. He next raced at the Belgian Grand Prix, held at Spa, he finished a respecable fifth.

The following season Clark was involved in a horrifying accident, one of the worst in Formula One history, when he collided with Wolfgang Von Trips Ferrari at Monza, killing fifteen spectators.

His first World Championship came in 1963 with Lotus, he won seven of the ten races. Lotus also won its first constructors Championship. No other driver won seven races in a season until Alain Prost racing for McLaren.

In 1963, Clark raced at Indianapolis for the first time, finishing second. In 1965 he won there again as well as becoming the only driver to win the Indy 500 and the Formula One World Championship in the same year. He won both with Lotus.

On the 7th of April 1968, Clark died in a racing accident at Hockenheim, Germany while racing in Formula Two race. On the fifth lap, his car veered off the track and crashed into some trees, he broke his neck and fractured his skull. By the time he had reached hospital, he had died. The cause of the crash was never identified, but investigators concluded it was a deflated rear tyre.

The 1968 World Championship was won by Clarks teammate Graham Hill, he dedicated the Championship to his great teammate and leader.

Clark achieved 33 pole posistions in his career and won 25 races from 72 starts in F1. He is regarded as one of the best formula one drivers for his ability to Wilson in a variety of different cars and series. He truly is a Formula One great.

Photo credit The BBC