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Jim Clark | The Scotsman who lost his life in Hockenheimring

Remembering a racing legend and a champion

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Jim Clark | The Scotsman who lost his life in Hockenheimring
Fuente imagen: F1.com

When it comes to Hockenheim, we always remember the death of a young Scotsman legend, Jim Clark. The 32-year-old and double champion died in a racing accident at the Hockenheimring in the 1968 as his car experinced a tire failure and crashed. He was racing in a Formula 2 race for lotus at the circuit.

Clark was the youngest child of five, and the only boy, he grew up on a farm and never intended to make racing a way of life and as a teenager began competing in local car races. Clark’s family was less-than-enthusiastic about his involvement in racing and Clark himself was shy and disliked being in the spotlight when he won. However, according to his biography at Formula1.com: “Goaded on by his friends, the reluctant racer began to take it more seriously, demonstrating an outstanding natural talent that amazed everyone, and certainly surprised the man himself.”

Although the Formula 2 back then, was a minor race meeting the entry list of drivers was very impressive with top running teams such as Ferrari by Chris Amon, McLarens by Graeme Lawrence, Team Lotus drivers Graham Hill and Clark himself and young Max Mosley who was competing in the race too.

The Scotsman started his Formula1 career in 1960 where he competed for the British based team Lotus. Lotus was dominant on the F1 races in between the 1960s and 1970s as it has been established in the early 1950s, the British team has earned 7 F1 constructors’ championships and 6 drivers’ titles before it was disbanded in the mid-1990s.

Clark, who only raced for Lotus experienced many accidents during his career in 1961,  was involved in one of the worst accidents in the history of Formula 1 racing. In the 1961 Italian Grand Prix at Monza, Wolfgang von Trips in his Ferrari collided with Jim Clark's Lotus as Trips's car became airborne and crashed into a side barrier, fatally throwing von Trips out of the car and killing fifteen of the audience. Also in Spa, Belgium, he narrowly missed hitting the body of a fellow competitor, who had been killed in a crash on the same track.

However, Clark's first Drivers' World Championship came driving the Lotus 25 in 1963, he proudly won seven out of the ten races and Lotus its first Constructors' World Championship. No one has broken the records of his seven wins in a season until 1984 when Frenchman Alain Prost won seven races for McLaren. After that, Brazilian Ayrton Senna came to snatch it from the Frenchman to win eight races in the 1988 season, also for McLaren. Anyway, Jim was so close to earning his second championship crown but an oil leak caused him to miss out on in 1964, but the following year he won 6 out of 10 races and claimed his second world championship.

In the same year, Clark also raced in Indianapolis 500 and became so popular in America where won the title of Indianapolis 500 after leading the race for 190 out of 200 laps. It wasn't Jim's first time to be challenged in the American historic race as he raced in 1963 and finished second.

Clark was a great and talented driver, a very fast Scotsman in the circuits, he would have earned so many championship tittles for his home-based team, Lotus, but it's all about destiny. the legendary collected his 25th Grand Prix victory in South Africa in 1968, passing the iconic Argentine driver Juan-Manuel Fangio’s (1911–1995) record of 24 Grand Prix wins.




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