Jim Clark

While putting together yesterday’s post about Ferrari, I started trawling through some old clips of the great racers of the fifties and sixties. Such an exercise inevitably leads you to, in my opinion, the greatest driver of them all: Jim Clark. Had Clark been racing in the modern era there’s every chance he would have racked up a frightening selection of pole positions, fastest laps, race wins and Championships. Instead, in a time of almost non-existent safety precautions in motor racing, he was tragically killed at the old Hockenheim circuit in 1968.

Here is a clip of him in action in 1963. Note the open-faced helmet and the lack of safety barriers and run-off areas on the circuit. But most of all, note the gloriously smooth car control. I would have loved to have seen him in action.

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4 comments

  1. Thanks for that. One understands the need for modern safety precautions but those guys were men’s men! I too love Grand Prix by the way. Very little plot but stunning sporting camera work.

  2. I don’t think the death of anyone outside my immediate friends and family has ever affected me as much. I was 14, and he was my hero. We thought he was indestructible, but of course in those days, drivers were never very far from death. The idea that a racing car at full chat could demolish itself amongst trees would be laughable now, of course, but then it was just accepted. I got his autograph at Mallory (Whit Monday 1962) amongst others. They would race anything in those days – Indy, saloons – anything. What a loss he was. Thanks Jeremy, “Reg Nerps”.

  3. Great driver. Saw him at Oulton Park and I think I’m right in recalling a harmless spin. Awful to think of the many fine competitors who’ve died over the years but equally wonderful to see that racing has retained all its excitement whilst becoming so much safer.

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