Jim Clark was the son of a Scottish farmer. He became one of the greatest of motor racing champions. It was on Boxing Day 1958 at Brands Hatch that Clark met Colin Chapman. Invited to join Team Lotus, he soon became the team’s lead driver. The dominant driver of his era, his two world championships (in 1963 and 1965) were only part of the story. He won more grand prix events (25) and secured pole position more times (33) than any previous driver. His sublime driving skills were held in the highest esteem throughout the motor racing world.
With Clark’s genius as a driver, the combination with Lotus was unbeatable so long as the car could perform throughout the full Formula One race. In 1963, Clark won seven out of 10 races in the Lotus 25 to clinch his first world drivers’ championship. He nearly retained it in 1964, an oil leak with just a few laps to go in the final race losing him the title – a title convincingly regained in 1965. Clark also competed in the notorious Indianapolis 500 in the USA and became the first driver to win both that event and the Formula One title in the same year.
In April 1968, Clark was fulfilling a commitment to Lotus to race in a secondary Formula Two event in Hockenheimring in Germany. On the fifth lap, his car (suffering probably from a rear tyre failure) veered off the track and crashed into the trees. Jim Clark was killed. The racing world was stunned.
Despite his extraordinary success, Jim Clark was rarely seen in the limelight of press conferences or public appearances. His grave in Berwickshire describes him as a farmer, first, and then a racing driver. In Kilmany in Fife, David Annand’s fine sculpture of Jim Clark stands by a small stream in the village of his birth.