Clark and Lotus
Jim Clark made his F1 Grand Prix debut, part-way through the season, at the Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort on 6 June 1960. "Lotus had lost Surtees, as he had gone to the Isle of Man to do some serious motorcycle racing, so they had Ireland, Stacey and Clark, the last-named being an acceptable substitute." He retired on lap 49 with final drive failure.
Early in his career in the 1960 Belgian Grand Prix, his second ever Formula One race, at the extremely fast and dangerous Spa-Francorchamps circuit, he got a taste of reality when there were two fatal accidents at that race (Chris Bristow and Alan Stacey). Clark was later quoted as saying in a 1964 interview: "I was driving scared stiff pretty much all through the race", even though he finished 5th and scored his first points finish. The next year, Jim Clark was involved in one of the worst accidents in the history of Formula 1 racing. In the 1961 Italian Grand Prix on 10 September at Monza, Wolfgang von Trips in his Ferrari collided with Jim Clark's Lotus. Trips' car became airborne and crashed into a side barrier, fatally throwing von Trips out of the car and killing fifteen spectators.
His first Drivers' World Championship came driving the Lotus 25 in 1963, winning seven out of the ten races and Lotus its first Constructors' World Championship. That year he also competed in the Indianapolis 500 for the first time, and he finished in second position behind Parnelli Jones and won Rookie of the Year honours. In 1964 Clark came within just a few laps of retaining his World Championship crown, but just as in 1962, an oil leak from the engine robbed him of the title, this time conceding to John Surtees. Tyre failure damaging the Lotus' suspension put paid to that year's attempt at the Indianapolis 500. He made amends and won the Championship again in 1965 and also the Indianapolis 500 in the Lotus 38.
He had to miss the prestigious Monaco Grand Prix in order to compete at Indianapolis, but made history by driving the first mid-engined car to win at the fabled "Brickyard," as well as becoming the only driver to date to win both that race and the F1 title in the same year.
At the same time, Clark was competing in the Australasia based Tasman series, run for older F1 cars, and was series champion in 1965, 1967 and 1968 driving for Lotus. He won fourteen races in all, a record for the series.
The FIA decreed from 1966, new 3-litre engine regulations would come into force. Lotus were less competitive. Starting with a 2-litre Coventry-Climax engine in the Lotus 33, Clark did not score points until the British Grand Prix and a third place at the following Dutch Grand Prix. From the Italian Grand Prix onwards Lotus used the highly complex BRM H16 engine in the Lotus 43 car, with which Clark won the United States Grand Prix. He also picked up another second place at the Indianapolis 500, this time behind Graham Hill.
During 1967 Lotus and Clark used three completely different cars and engines. The Lotus 43 performed poorly at the opening South African Grand Prix, so Clark used an old Lotus 33 at the following Monaco Grand Prix, retiring with suspension failure. Lotus then began its fruitful association with Ford-Cosworth. Their first car, the Lotus 49 featuring the most successful F1 engine in history, the Ford-Cosworth DFV, won its first race at the Dutch Grand Prix, driven by Clark. He won with it again at the British, United States and Mexican Grands Prix; and, in January 1968, at the South African Grand Prix.
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Famous quotes containing the words lotus and/or clark:
“I passed a little further on and heard a lotus talk:
Who made the world and ruleth it, He hangeth on a stalk,
For I am in His image made, and all this tinkling tide
Is but a sliding drop of rain between His petals wide.”
—William Butler Yeats (18651939)
“The measure of your quality as a public person, as a citizen, is the gap between what you do and what you say.”
—Ramsey Clark (b. 1927)