Jim Clark

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Clark headstone.
Clark headstone.

There is a tendency these days to compare what the current race drivers are doing, to ones of yore. This is a very false way as with almost 20 Grands Prix in a year these days, statistics can be very deceptive. When Clark was competing there were generally about 10 Grands Prix only, so obviously his total number of wins were less than those of today, but look at these statistics to get an idea of just how good Jim Clark was as a Grand Prix driver: He holds the record for most Grand Slams, taking pole, fastest lap, race win and leading every lap of the race in 8 races (1962 British Grand Prix, 1963 Dutch Grand Prix, 1963 French Grand Prix, 1963 Mexican Grand Prix, 1964 British Grand Prix, 1965 South African Grand Prix, 1965 French Grand Prix, 1965 German Grand Prix).

Jim Clark won the 1963 Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps in extremely wet, foggy and rainy conditions. After starting eighth on the grid Clark passed all of the cars in front of him, including early leader Graham Hill. About 17 laps into the race, with the rain coming down harder than ever, Clark had not only lapped the entire field except for Bruce McLaren, but he was almost five minutes ahead of McLaren and his Cooper. This would be the first of seven victories for Clark and Team Lotus that year. Clark was also a winner in touring cars, Indy cars, F2, F1 and rallies. A huge talent, and a very modest man with no gold chains or diamond ear rings, whose headstone was simply inscribed “Farmer” above World Champion, which had been at his request.