Jim Clark, OBE, lived from 4 March 1936 to 7 April 1968. He was a highly successful Formula One racing driver who won two World Championships, in 1963 and 1965.
Jim Clark, OBE, lived from 4 March 1936 to 7 April 1968. He was a highly successful Formula One racing driver who won two World Championships, in 1963 and 1965. The wider picture in Scotland at the time is set out in our Historical Timeline.
Jim Clark was born into a farming family at Kilmany House Farm in Fife. He was the youngest child of five, and the only boy. When he was six years old, the family moved to Edington Mains Farm, near Duns in the Scottish Borders. He attended schools in Chirnside and at Clifton Hall near Edinburgh before attending Loretto School in Musselburgh.
As soon as he was able to drive, Jim Clark began to enter rally and hill climb events, usually in his own Sunbeam-Talbot. In 1958 he joined the Border Reivers racing team, racing Jaguar D-types and Porsches in events throughout the UK and winning 18 races. On Boxing Day in 1958 he came second to Colin Chapman, who ran Lotus, in a race. Chapman was sufficiently impressed by Clark to offer him a place driving his new "Formula Junior" cars. By the start of the 1960 season, Clark was driving for the Lotus Formula One team.
He achieved 8 Championship points in his first season, 11 in his second and 30 points in 1962, the year in which he also won his first three Grand Prix races, in Belgium, Britain and the USA. In 1963 Clark was utterly dominant, winning seven out of ten races and his first World Championship. This also ensured that Lotus won its first Constructors' World Championship. In 1964 Clark came a close second in the World Championship to John Surtees, though he did win the British Touring Car Championship that year. The 1965 Formula One season was again dominated by Clark, and he won six of the ten races and the Championship. This is all the more impressive because he was unable to compete in one of them, as the Monaco Grand Prix clashed with the Indianapolis 500, which he won for the first time that year. Changes in Formula One regulations made Lotus less competitive from 1966, though Clark and Lotus continued to dominate the Australasia based Tasman series of races. He won just one Formula One race in 1966, four in 1967, and one in 1968.
Jim Clark was killed on 7 April 1968 while driving in a Formula Two race for Lotus at the Hockenheimring in Germany when his car left the track and hit a tree. During his career he had started in 72 Grand Prix, achieving 33 pole positions and 25 wins. He is buried in the village of Chirnside and is remembered in the Jim Clark room in Duns, by a statue in Kilmany in Fife, and by a memorial stone at the Hockenheimring.