Sunday, April 11, 2021

Ranked! Jim Clark’s high 10 performances in F1, Indy and extra

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Clark was additionally profitable in Indycar racing, sportscars and touring vehicles, so choosing his biggest races was all the time going to be robust, however right here they’re in reverse order

10: 1961 South African GP, East London

Jim Clark, Lotus 21-Climax

Picture by: Motorsport Images

Lotus 21 
Began: 1st 
End result: 1st

Stirling Moss was the undisputed world’s finest in 1961, pulling off some well-known victories in inferior tools, however Clark’s performances on the finish of the season confirmed that issues have been altering. Clark’s Lotus 21 had crushed the older 18/21 mannequin of Moss within the Natal Grand Prix earlier within the month, however the East London race stepped issues up a notch.

Poleman Clark and team-mate Trevor Taylor led away, however Moss was quickly into second and took the lead when Clark spun avoiding one other automobile. Now Clark charged, regardless of sustaining gearbox injury, lapping sooner than his pole time, and Moss was powerless to cease him coming via to win.

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“Moss pulled in behind Clark and tried to remain in his slipstream however couldn’t sustain with Clark’s quick and livid driving and fell slowly, however absolutely, behind,” learn Autosport’s report. “Clark demonstrated that the world championship isn’t any pipe-dream for him.”

Clark was just a little extra circumspect, although beating Moss was clearly a watershed: “I had the satisfaction of beating Stirling twice in two weeks, though, in all equity, my automobile was newer than his,” he wrote in his 1964 ebook, Jim Clark – On the wheel.

9. 1968 Australian GP, Sandown Park

Jim Clark, Lotus 49 Cosworth, Gold Leaf livery

Jim Clark, Lotus 49 Cosworth, Gold Leaf livery

Picture by: Motorsport Images

Lotus 49T 
Began: third 
End result: 1st

Clark demonstrated a capability to resist intense strain from a probably sooner automobile within the hard-fought 1968 Australian GP.

It was a spherical of the Tasman Sequence, basically a winter world championship in Australia and New Zealand. Clark had given the newly branded Gold Leaf Crew Lotus (his Lotus 49T sporting the purple, gold and white livery later seen in F1) a victory on its debut on the Girl Wigram Trophy the month earlier than, however arrived main Ferrari’s Chris Amon by simply three factors within the standings.

Working the identical DFW engine (the two.5-litre model of the Cosworth DFV) he had already utilized in 5 Tasman races, Clark certified third, behind Jack Brabham and Amon. It was a small subject, however simply 0.6 seconds lined the highest 5 across the 1.9-mile circuit.

Crucially, Clark grabbed the lead initially and instantly needed to begin defending from Amon. Brabham briefly joined them earlier than retiring, however the strain on Clark remained.

“Amon tried time and again however, though he repeatedly drew alongside the Lotus, he was unable to get previous,” learn Autosport’s report, which identified that Amon really had his nostril in entrance once they crossed the road on lap 33 of 55. “Clark may brake 20 yards or so after the Dino, and this all the time stored the Lotus in entrance.”

Clark did open some respiratory area, however Amon closed in in direction of the top, organising a grandstand end. “They crossed the road with the Ferrari’s entrance wheels stage with the Lotus’s rears,” Autosport continued. “A extra thrilling end has seldom been seen in Australia.”

The official successful margin was 0.1s. Not solely had Clark withstood monumental strain for over an hour, the end result all however secured him his third Tasman crown.

8. 1963 French GP, Reims

Jim Clark, Lotus 25

Jim Clark, Lotus 25

Picture by: David Phipps

Lotus 25 
Began: 1st 
End result: 1st

Clark nonetheless has extra ‘grand slams’ – win, pole, quickest lap and led each lap – than every other driver in world championship historical past. The 1963 French GP was his third, however that stage of domination hid what was a difficult occasion for the Scot.

As was the norm that season, Clark took pole comfortably and pulled away from the sector within the early phases. He led by 3s after lap one, however on lap 14 his Coventry Climax engine started to misfire, chopping his revs by an estimated 1500rpm.

“I out of the blue felt the engine falter at excessive rpm,” Clark wrote in his ebook. “I quickly discovered that by drastically decreasing my revs I may nonetheless keep an inexpensive lap time, however behind me Jack Brabham and Dan Gurney have been steadily whittling down my lead.

“As if in reply to a prayer, it out of the blue began to rain. On the damp observe I now discovered that when once more my lead started to extend, however the engine sounded so tough I nonetheless had doubts about ending the race.

“The rain turned heavier, and at this level became a legal responsibility as a substitute of an asset, as my tyres have been getting fairly bald – this was the fourth GP I had run with the identical set and I used to be getting no tread drainage from them.

“Brabham started to catch up once more however luckily for me an ignition lead fell off and delayed him. This gave me the breather I wanted to convey the ailing automobile house in first place.”

Two damaged valve springs have been later discovered to be the trigger, however Clark had nonetheless taken victory by over a minute.

7. 1963 Aintree 200

Jim Clark, Lotus 25

Jim Clark, Lotus 25

Picture by: Motorsport Images

Lotus 25 
Began: 1st 
End result: third (and seventh)

This non-championship occasion was the scene of one among Clark’s nice comeback drives, after his polesitting fuel-injected Lotus 25 suffered a battery failure initially (that’s him along with his hand within the air on the precise facet of the entrance row).

Clark finally bought going, however the automobile wasn’t proper so he took over team-mate Trevor Taylor’s fifth-placed sister 25 (operating on Weber carburettors, not the gas injection Clark used for a lot of 1963), a transfer that was not allowed in points-paying races.

Taylor had certified sixth and took over Clark’s fuel-injected Climax-engined machine to complete seventh, however his group chief was on a mission.

Autosport reckoned Clark rejoined 1m38s behind chief Graham Hill, however he charged to 3rd, ending 28.6s behind the victorious BRM driver. He additionally left the lap document 3.2s faster than his quickest lap from the earlier July’s British GP, which he had dominated.

“The exceptional driving of Clark was one thing seldom seen since Stirling Moss left the sector,” learn Autosport’s report. “He stole the limelight.”

It was additionally an occasion Clark picked out in his ebook: “I had an important race catching up the sector and smashing the lap document. I actually loved this race, greater than quite a lot of the grand prix occasions I used to be to drive in in the course of the season.”

6. 1965 British GP, Silverstone

Race winner Jim Clark, Lotus, receives the winners trophy with team boss, Colin Chapman on the podium

Race winner Jim Clark, Lotus, receives the winners trophy with group boss, Colin Chapman on the rostrum

Picture by: Motorsport Images

Lotus 33 
Began: 1st 
End result: 1st

Apparently, Autosport described this as a “considerably lucky victory”, though it additionally conceded Clark nursed “his sick motor spherical with nice talent”.

One among Clark’s strengths was how straightforward he was on the equipment, which enabled him to coax outcomes from Lotus boss Colin Chapman’s typically fast-but-fragile vehicles, and the 1965 British GP was a high quality instance. Though Richie Ginther’s Honda jumped forward initially, Clark was in entrance by the top of lap one and headed off into what regarded like one other decisive lead.

He was 36s forward with 18 of the 80 laps to go, regardless of a small misfire, when his oil strain began to drop dangerously low. Hill closed in, although he too was having problem along with his BRM’s brakes.

“Assessing the state of his engine and the general race image completely, Clark drove on the ignition swap, coasting via some corners with a view to stop oil surge operating the bearings, whereas holding Hill at arm’s size,” wrote Graham Gauld in Jim Clark – Portrait of a Nice Driver.

Clark held on to win by 3.2s, regardless of a lap document from Hill on the ultimate tour.

5. 1965 Indianapolis 500

Jim Clark, Lotus-Ford, won Ford's first Indy 500 victory, and the first for a rear-engine car in the 500

Jim Clark, Lotus-Ford, received Ford’s first Indy 500 victory, and the primary for a rear-engine automobile within the 500

Picture by: Ford Motor Firm

Lotus 38 
Began: 2nd 
End result: 1st

Clark’s gorgeous 1963 Indianapolis 500 debut, the place he was controversially crushed when the oil-leaking roadster of Parnelli Jones was not black-flagged, may have made this checklist. However it’s arguably Clark’s greatest win that will get the nod. Even he described it as: “Good, simply as we deliberate it.”

Though a lot of the runners have been now rear-engined, the Len Terry/Chapman penned Lotus-Ford 38 was nonetheless leading edge. And Clark all the time had a bonus over team-mate Gurney, who battled with Jones (now in Clark’s 1964 Lotus 34, referred to as the Agajanian Hurst Particular) earlier than retiring.

Clark led lap one, was overtaken by poleman AJ Foyt in a modified Lotus 34 (Sheraton Thompson Particular) on lap two and retook management on lap three. Thereafter, aside from pitstops, Clark dominated the race, pulling away from the remaining. Foyt retired after 115 laps with transmission hassle, however was almost a lap behind by then.

Clark solely made two stops (19.8s and 24.7s – among the many quickest of the race), aided by a brand new and extra environment friendly gas injection system. Jones was hobbled by a scarcity of gas within the closing phases, solely simply staving off Mario Andretti for second and leaving Clark to win by nearly two minutes. The Scot smashed the race document, turning into the primary to common over 150mph for the five hundred and the primary Indy winner to make use of a rear-engined machine.

“Clark was by far and away one of the best driver current,” stated Autosport’s Michael Kettlewell. “Even the fairly staid New York Instances in contrast his driving expertise with that of Stirling Moss and Juan Manuel Fangio.”

The efficiency additionally earned Clark over $150,000, way over he earned in F1.

4. 1967 Italian GP, Monza

Jim Clark, Lotus Ford

Jim Clark, Lotus Ford

Picture by: Sutton Photos

Lotus 49 
Began: 1st 
End result: third

That is typically cited as Clark’s most interesting drive – certainly, some have instructed it’s the biggest F1 drive of all time.

The fundamental details are thus. Clark took pole and engaged in a traditional slipstreaming battle with team-mate Hill and the Brabhams of Denny Hulme and Jack Brabham early on. Then, on lap 13 of 68, he pitted with a puncture and resumed simply over a lap behind the lead struggle.

Clark caught the trio and finally made his means via, giving Hill a useful tow alongside the best way. Each then raced clear and, when Hill retired with 10 laps to go, Clark had victory in his sights.

He overtook chief Brabham and appeared destined to take a exceptional win when the Lotus spluttered with gas hunger within the closing miles, dropping Clark again to 3rd. Autosport known as it an “superb drive” and Chapman was later to select it out as one among Clark’s finest.

It was clearly an important drive, so, why is not it primary right here? A bit extra delving into this race explains its place.

Firstly, the Lotus 49 was a lot sooner than every thing else as soon as it arrived in 1967. From its debut on the Dutch GP, the Cosworth DFV-engined automobile was on pole for each spherical. At high-speed Spa, Clark certified 3.1s sooner than the following automobile.

Taking a look at supertimes (based mostly on the quickest single lap of every automobile at every race weekend, expressed as a proportion of the quickest lap total and averaged over the season), the hole between the 49 and the second-fastest automobile was 1.217% throughout 1967. To place that into perspective, the margin between Mercedes and Ferrari in 2017 was 0.178%, with third-placed Pink Bull 0.873% behind the Silver Arrows. In ’09, your entire subject was lined by 1.241%.

On uncooked tempo, the 49 was essentially the most dominant automobile of the Nineteen Sixties and the tenth most dominant within the historical past of the world championship. And the 400bhp Cosworth DFV gave the Lotus a helpful energy benefit when it got here to overtaking.

Lotus drivers Jim Clark and Graham Hill with Walter Hayes, public relations executive for Ford

Lotus drivers Jim Clark and Graham Hill with Walter Hayes, public relations government for Ford

Picture by: Rainer W. Schlegelmilch

At Monza, solely the Brabham-Repcos may get shut and Graham Hill’s race underlines the 49’s true kind that weekend. Hill was one of many few top-level team-mates Clark had throughout his Lotus profession. Having run within the main group in the course of the early phases, Hill took management after Clark’s pitstop.

He overtook Hulme, starting to point out the indicators of engine hassle, for the lead on lap 28 and at last broke the tow, initially with the just-unlapped Clark’s assist. Now the lead went up remarkably shortly. From 2.4s on the finish of lap 29, Hill’s lead learn as follows for the following 10 successive laps: 5.2s, 9.7s (boosted by issues for Hulme), 12.2s, 14.8s, 16.7s, 18.1s, 20.8s, 22.2s, 24.3s, 26.1s.

Extra necessary is Hill’s hole over Clark as soon as he hit the entrance. On the finish of lap 28, Hill’s benefit over Clark was 1m27.5s. Clark had already taken 10s again whereas Hill battled Hulme and Brabham, however thereafter the tempo of the 2 49s was very comparable.

By the top of lap 58 – the ultimate one earlier than Hill’s engine failed – Clark was 1m25.3s behind the chief. Admittedly, Clark had wanted to overhaul vehicles for place, however the benefit of the 49 made that comparatively easy and Hill had been working his means via backmarkers too. The truth that Clark towed Hill alongside for among the distance additionally exhibits he was the pacesetter, however Hill stored up. Over these 30 laps after Hill took the lead, Clark had gained simply 2.2s on his team-mate, a median of lower than 0.1s per lap.

Hulme, the closest challenger to Lotus that day, was already out. So, when Hill retired, Clark crossed the road on the finish of lap 59 simply 3.7s behind new chief Brabham, having overtaken John Surtees (Honda). Clark was on Brabham’s tail the following time via and was 1.5s forward on the finish of lap 61, apparently on his option to a well-known win earlier than being cruelly denied.

Clark himself didn’t imagine the drive was his finest. In ‘Jim Clark – Portrait of a Nice Driver’ by Graham Gauld, journalist Gerard Crombac, who was a detailed buddy of Clark’s, even instructed that he was irritated the race was held in such excessive regard.

“One factor which upset him was all of the fuss, and the reward he bought, after his fruitless 1967 Italian GP,” stated Crombac. “He was hailed because the world’s biggest then, however in his thoughts he had performed nothing distinctive on this race. He didn’t suppose that Monza is a driver’s circuit; if his team-mate hadn’t blown up he couldn’t have caught up with him, and in any case, he knew that he simply had a greater automobile than anyone else.”

The 1967 Italian GP definitely stands as testomony to Clark’s willpower, and any time somebody comes from a lap down to guide a GP is exceptional. However this explicit race, at Monza, a circuit on which it is arduous for drivers to make a distinction, says extra about the best way the Lotus 49 moved the goalposts in F1 than it does about Clark’s distinctive means.

3. 1966 Dutch GP, Zandvoort

Jack Brabham, Brabham BT19 Repco, Denny Hulme, Brabham BT20 Repco, Jim Clark, Lotus 33 Climax

Jack Brabham, Brabham BT19 Repco, Denny Hulme, Brabham BT20 Repco, Jim Clark, Lotus 33 Climax

Picture by: Rainer W. Schlegelmilch

Lotus 33 
Began: third 
End result: third

Due to Chapman, Clark did not typically get the prospect to show his means to carry inferior equipment up the sector, at the very least in F1. However the swap to three-litre rules left Lotus in a little bit of hassle when it got here to engines.

Clark spent 1966 battling with two-litre Climax or unreliable BRM H16 energy. His win in the US GP with the BRM-engined Lotus 43 is well-known, however did require some misfortune of others. The Dutch GP at Zandvoort was totally different.

At a circuit the place he typically excelled, Clark took the struggle to the more-powerful Brabham-Repco of Jack Brabham. After qualifying third, Clark battled the soon-to-be-triple world champion and the second Brabham of Hulme within the early phases, with Hill’s BRM additionally within the combine.

“The battle for the lead was making this one of the best Method 1 race of the yr,” learn Autosport’s report, however Hulme quickly dropped out with ignition issues and Hill began to fall again.

Nonetheless Brabham could not shake off Clark. “With a observe made slippery by oil and rubber, the two-litre machine and Clark’s impressed driving have been greater than a match for the three litres of Brabham-Repco,” continued our report. “The world champion was driving impeccably and it was tough to understand that he was making a gift of a litre of engine capability.”

Then Clark grabbed the lead at Tarzan on lap 27 of 90 and he even began to edge away. At one stage the Lotus was 10s forward, however the Brabham closed in once more going into the ultimate third of the race.

On lap 76 Brabham took the lead as Clark pitted with steam pouring from the radiator. A crankshaft vibration damper had damaged and fouled a water line. Water was added and Clark nonetheless completed third, scoring the primary of his two 1966 world championship podiums, however any hopes of a grandstand end had gone.

2. 1963 Belgian GP, Spa

Jim Clark, Lotus

Jim Clark, Lotus

Picture by: David Phipps

Lotus 25 
Began: eighth 
End result: 1st

Clark was one of many all-time rainmasters and this was one among F1’s biggest wet-weather performances. Following a number of fatalities that happened on his early visits to Spa, Clark did not just like the quick 8.8-mile circuit, however he invariably excelled there and in the end received 4 Belgian GPs.

The second got here regardless of qualifying solely eighth due to oversteer and gearbox issues, and extra points within the race.

Initially, issues went effectively. Clark made a sensational getaway to seize the lead earlier than Eau Rouge. “Clark made a type of image begins: from the third row he was in first spot lengthy earlier than the top of the pits,” wrote Gregor Grant in Autosport’s report.

Hill’s BRM initially stayed with Clark, however the Lotus quickly began to edge away within the damp circumstances. After 5 laps he was eight seconds forward. When gearbox troubles ended Hill’s race simply after half distance of the 32-lapper, Clark’s lead turned a minute and a half.

On lap 24, the occasion turned a completely moist race when the heavens opened, full with lightning. Lap occasions went from 4 minutes to greater than six minutes and Clark’s lead grew but additional. Situations have been so unhealthy that Chapman and BRM’s Tony Rudd known as for the race to be stopped. Their request was refused.

At one stage, Clark lapped second-placed Bruce McLaren, however the Cooper bought again forward in order that the Lotus’s successful margin was ‘solely’ 4m54s.

“I take pleasure in driving within the moist, however this was Spa and I stored effectively inside my limits,” Clark wrote in his 1964 ebook. “It began dropping out of high [gear] and at Spa this isn’t humorous.”

It made the difficult Masta kink, which the Lotus 25 was taking at round 150mph, much more perilous.

“As I approached the kink I’d be holding the gear lever in place with my proper hand and shifting my left hand all the way down to the underside of the steering wheel,” added Clark.

“I did this as a result of the automobile tends on this kink to maneuver from one facet of the highway to the opposite and I typically wanted correction. By protecting my hand low on the wheel I may twirl the steering spherical with one hand and maintain the slide.”

Cedric Selzer, one among Clark’s mechanics, reckoned the hassle was one among his finest. “Jimmy had pushed a good bit of the race one-handed, whereas holding the gear lever in high with the opposite,” he stated in ‘If You Have Come Second You Have Misplaced’. “This was a tremendous effort and possibly one of many all-time nice grand prix drives.”

To place the circumstances into perspective, Clark’s successful velocity was simply 116mph, the slowest Belgian GP since 1953, when the world championship was run to Method 2 rules.

Autosport was not impressed: “To proceed the race in circumstances which weren’t solely appalling however extremely harmful was a vexing drawback for the organisers. The sight of the unlucky survivors touring spherical nearly blinded by spray, and vanishing within the murky mists that descended on the Ardennes, was not Autosport’s concept of a sporting contest.”

1.   1962 German GP, Nurburgring

Jim Clark, Lotus 25

Jim Clark, Lotus 25

Picture by: David Phipps

Lotus 25 
Began: third 
End result: 4th

Clark didn’t even end on the rostrum within the race that takes our high spot, nevertheless it did happen on the world’s biggest circuit. The 14.2-mile Nurburgring was one among Clark’s favourites, and the drive he singled out as his finest started with a mistake.

He certified on the entrance row, behind Gurney’s Porsche and the BRM of Hill, however forgot to modify his gas pumps on initially and was swamped. In tough moist circumstances, he started a fightback through which he pushed his personal limits.

“I felt so irritated sitting there in a silent automobile as the remainder of the sector roared away,” stated Clark in ‘Jim Clark – On the wheel’. “I realised my mistake instantly and, having corrected it, I set off in sizzling pursuit decided to make amends for my unforgivable blunder.

“I used to be effectively behind, however handed about 10 vehicles on the opening lap. I bought as much as fourth and nearby of the leaders, earlier than a severe slide made me realise I used to be stepping too close to the restrict, and I made a decision that I must be content material with fourth.”

Clark had bought to inside 14s of chief Hill – himself placing in one among his finest drives in a battle with Gurney and Surtees – earlier than backing off and the Lotus began affected by fuel-feed hassle in any case.

He finally completed 42.1s behind Hill, however in ‘Jim Clark – Portrait of a Nice Driver’, Crombac wrote: “In Jimmy’s thoughts, one of the best race he ever did was the 1962 German GP. This was most likely the one race when he drove at ten-tenths all through, and the truth that he hadn’t been praised for it was a extreme criticism of most journalists.”

Chapman, who masterminded all of Clark’s GP successes, agreed: “He felt, rightly or wrongly, that he had made a mistake and it was as much as him to place it proper. He drove fantastically effectively that day.”

Jim Clark, Lotus 25

Jim Clark, Lotus 25

Picture by: David Phipps



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