Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Jim Clark (racing driver)
He was born James Clark Jr. into a farming family in Kilmany , Scotland, the youngest child and only boy.
Clark's Formula 1 career was with the Lotus team, for whom he drove from 1960 to 1968. Major success came in 1963 with the Lotus 25 , with Clark driving, won seven out of the ten races, and won Lotus its first World Championship. In 1965 he again won the championship. That year he also won the Indianapolis 500. He had to miss the prestigious Monaco Grand Prix to compete in it, but made history by driving the first rear-engined car to win the race.
The following year Lotus were uncompetitive under new 3-litre engine rules. They started the season with a 2-litre Coventry-Climax engine, in the Lotus 33 . Later in the season, the Lotus-BRM 43 used a very complicated BRM H16 engine (essentially two V8 1.5 litre engines joined together).
The 1967 season saw Clark and Lotus use three completely different cars and engines. The Lotus-BRM was used, and failed dismally, at the first race in South Africa. Clark used an old Lotus 33 for Monaco (its last race), but retired with suspension failure. Then, Lotus's new association with Ford and Cosworth started. The Cosworth DFV was to become the most successful engine in Formula 1 history. The Lotus-Cosworth 49 won first time out with it at the Dutch Grand Prix.
On April 7, 1968 during a Formula Two race at the Hockenheim, Germany circuit, Jim Clark died when his car veered off the race course and crashed into some trees. The cause of the crash has never been definitively identified, but investigators concluded that a deflating rear tyre was the most likely cause. His death was a huge blow to the team and to racing. He was the dominant driver in the dominant car, and remains inseparable from Lotus's early years. The 1968 world championship was won by Clark's team-mate, Graham Hill.
In his Formula 1 career, Clark won 25 races, and gained 33 pole positions. Clark differed from the current generation of Formula 1 drivers through his ability to drive and win in all types of cars. His driving of Lotus Cortina saloon (stock) cars was outstanding, he raced in the US Nascar season (for the Holman and Moody Team), battled with unwieldly Lotus sports cars including the type 30 and 40, and even drove the Lotus Indy cars in a mountain hill climb in Switzerland. Clark excelled during a period when sheer driving genius was more important than commercial contracts and driver aids. He was noted as being a terrible test driver because he would simply adapt to the car; while others would struggle to find a fast setup, Clark would set the best time and say "leave it as it is." He respected Dan Gurney the most of fellow drivers for his talent.
When Clark died, fellow driver Chris Amon was quoted as saying, "If it could happen to him, what chance do the rest of us have?"
- Grand Prix History - Hall of Fame, Jimmy Clark
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