This photograph from the Club archives is of the legendary, Scottish double World Champion racing driver, Jim Clark (1936-1968).
This year marks the 50-year anniversary of the untimely death of Clark at the Hockenheimring, Germany on 7 April 1968. He was racing in Formula Two when he crashed his Lotus 48. The cause of his death is ambiguous but investigators concluded it was most likely due to a deflating rear tyre. During the fifth lap of the first heat, Clark’s car veered off the track and crashed into the trees.
At the time of his death, aged 32, Clark had won 25 Grands Prix, achieved 33 Grand Prix Pole positions and 8 grand slams, which was more than any other driver. He won the British Grand Prix five times and won the World Championship twice in 1963 and 1965, one of a handful of drivers to have achieved this feat.
Clark began his racing career in a local road rally and hill climb in his own Sunbeam-Talbot. By 1958, he was racing for the local Border Reivers team driving Jaguar D-Types and Porsches, before joining Team Lotus, which he raced for up until his death.
Clark was quiet, understated and would go to great lengths to avoid conflict. Dick Scammell, his mechanic from Team Lotus, once recalled:‘I felt he didn’t like to rock the boat at all and would go out of his way to avoid aggro in the team. I know that some of the mechanics could really worry him but he wouldn’t complain so as not to offend. He never once questioned what we did with the car or requested any changes.’
Clark may have been relaxed at many things, however, he did struggle with indecisiveness, as Jackie Stewart, once commented, ‘his most difficult task in life was making decisions’. Although Clark was determined and confident, he didn’t live without fear, as he once admitted:
‘The big race started at 4pm and by this time I had a good dose of the shakes… Archie Scott Brown and Masten Gregory in their Lister-Jaguars shot ahead and waged a tremendous battle bit I was too busy frightening myself sill the D-Type… I’ve lost too many friends… I was never very happy and I don’t mind admitting that I was very frightened throughout.’
Dick Scammel, his mechanic, also remembered Clark as a gentleman:‘He was very, very special. And a gentleman with it, he knew what he wanted…He wasn’t mechanical at all but he’d make the best of whatever you gave him. He obviously was quite determined about things.’