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Jim Clark - which was greatest race?


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#1 Martyj

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Posted 23 October 2001 - 14:33

I am a big Jim Clark fan, and I'm curious what people on this forum think was his single finest performance.

Often times, the 1967 Italian GP at Monza is cited. He pitted early and fell a lap behind. Over the last 3/4 of the race he made up the lap and took the lead, but fell short of victory when he ran out of gas on the last lap. A great drive, no doubt, but perhaps that cosworth had such an advantage on those long Monza straights that making up a lap wasn't such the challenge it seemed to be. Kind of like the way the McLaren Honda's of 1988/89 routinely put the competition over a minute behind.

I think a more remarkable performance was the 1965 British GP at Silverstone. I'm working from memory here, but I seem to recall about 20 laps from the end, with a big lead, his engine started having some kind of fuel pick-up problem. The only way to keep the car going was to shut the engine off going into corners, and turn it back on for the straights. He nursed the car like this for many laps as his lead over Hill in the BRM dwindled. Nonetheless, he kept the car together for the win. This car in the hands of a lesser driver probably wouldn't have finished the race, much less win it. A remarkable drive. (Perhaps I have my facts wrong on this, though. I don't have any references in front of me. Can someone help me out?)

Anyway, that's why I think the 1965 British GP was his greatest race. Does anyone think otherwise?

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#2 Don Capps

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Posted 23 October 2001 - 17:05

Nurburgring 1962 -- he stalled on the grid, got off late, passed 16 cars on the first lap, and screamed through the field to finally finish 4th despite fuel feed problems in a race run in wretched conditions. And earlier at the 1000kms, he actually led the race in a 23! -- and was pulling away to boot!

He was a truly remarkable driver.

#3 Barry Boor

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Posted 23 October 2001 - 19:21

So many of Jim's victories were perfection, it is extremely hard to pinpoint one - so I'm not going to.

However, given his absolute loathing for Spa, following his 1960 experiences there, I reckon you could pick any of his wins there in 1962, 1963 or 1965. Probably the best would be in '65 in the rain.

But NOT 1964 because we all know who should have won that one! ;)

#4 Barry Boor

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Posted 23 October 2001 - 19:29

As a post-script to Martyj's first post, I would like to point out something regarding the Monza 1967 drive.

I had the gist of this printed in the correspondence section of Autosport, many years ago:

although Jim caught back virtually a lap on Brabham in that race, a careful study of lap times and gaps between him and his own team-mate, Graham Hill reveals an interesting fact. As has been stated, the Lotus was almost certainly in a class of its own around there, so gaining all that time was perhaps not that difficult. Over a run of about, IIRC, 35-40 laps, while gaining almost a lap on the Brabham/Surtees dice, Clark gained (only!!) around 20 seconds on Hill.

This is not to belittle Jim Clark; he is #1 on my list of the greatest ever drivers, but I think the point needs to be made in order to put the drive more into perspective.

Maybe someone with the 1967 Autocourse can check the times and remind us of the more precise figures; I no longer have either Autosports or Autocourses!

#5 Gary C

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Posted 23 October 2001 - 19:42

It has to be Spa 65 for me.

#6 Bernd

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Posted 23 October 2001 - 23:43

I'll take issue with Barrys claim that the 49 was in a class of its own around there. I would say that the greatest advantage of the 49 was its low down torque giving it great acceleration. Monza was not the kind of circuit where this is relevant, power was the all important factor. Despite this the BT24s of Hulme & Brabham were able to easily keep up and fight for the lead with Hill despite being at least 50BHP down on the Lotus. It was Jim not the car that was in a league of his own that day. In theory the quickest car at Monza should have been Gurneys Eagle alas his engine went sour on lap 2 while he was leading and packed it in entirely 2 laps later interesting what could have been with this race.

Here is some quotes from the Autocourse report.

'In his absence (Clark) Hulme & Brabham temporarily got the better of Hill, but it was not long before the Scotsman passed them and towed his teammate back into the lead again.'
'Hill had at last got clear of Brabham and was pulling away at over a second a lap, Clark in turn had pulled away from Hill and was whitling away the deficit by over 2 seconds a lap.'

In equal cars on a circuit that places less value than most on driver skill Clarks performance defies belief. He was consistantly considerately more than half a second a lap faster than Hill, this is despite having to go through the entire field to catch the leaders ASTONISHING!. I've said it before but it was after watching this performance that the great Fangio proclaimed Clark the Greatest Driver in the World.

But the Colonel got it first time his greatest race was the Ring 62. It pained Clark that at the time this was not recognised.

#7 oldtimer

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Posted 23 October 2001 - 23:56

Martyj - I believe Clark's problem at Silverstone in 1965 was low oil level, which caused oil starvation on fast bends. Clark noticed the fluctuating oil pressure in the corners (!!), and so switched off the engine. It was certainly eerie watching him whistle through Woodcote with a silent engine.

Didn't Clark have a big, big moment in his '62 drive at the 'Ring, which reminded him to settle down and drive like a human being?

#8 bkalb

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Posted 24 October 2001 - 00:32

As has been noted, almost any drive by Clark was a great drive, and picking out any single race as the greatest is difficult.

I recall the 1963 USGP, in which Clark's battery went dead on the starting line. He had to be hauled off the grid, started way behind the entire field, and steadily, unrelentingly, worked his way up to 3rd at the end of the race.

Another great drive was Zandvoort in 1966. That was the first year of the 3-liter formula, and while the Brabham's had a powerful new 3-liter engine, Lotus and BRM were stuck with bored-out versions of their 1 1/2 liter engines that I think only brought them up to about 2 liters. Despite this severe disadvantage, and despite the fact that Jack Brabham had been running away from the field for most of the season, Clark took the lead in Holland on sheer driving skill, and held it for much of the race...until his car expired. While he was still going, it was a great thing to see.

#9 leegle

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Posted 24 October 2001 - 05:03

German GP of 1962 it was a couple of frightening moments that made him come to his senses. :rolleyes: He did get recognition for this drive but it was a bit lost in the adulation over the other drivers' performances. :( I think Don was right mentioning that Lotus 23 at the Ring it must have been a fright for the regular front runners in the field.

#10 f li

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Posted 24 October 2001 - 13:02

Martyj,

Taken from "Motor Sport" ----

"The Italian Grand Prix 1967 - The Race

Sunday was warm and dry, with a haze keeping the full power of the sun away, and there was little space to spare in any of the grandstands and everyone prepared for a fast and furious race, but no-one even contemplated that it would turn out the way it did. The race length was 68 laps of the Monza road-circuit, and as the eighteen cars lined up on the "dummy grid" some hundred yards before the starting line there was a tension in the air that said "this is going to be a fantastic start", with Amon, Gurney, Hulme, Stewart, Hill and Surtees all feeling they should have been on the front row alongside Clark, while Brabham and McLaren were smiling quietly to themselves, at having out-smarted the others. With three minutes to go there was a panic in the Cooper team when Rindt's battery failed to start the engine and mechanics flashed about the place and installed a new one with 30 seconds to spare. The starter prepared to climb on to his rostrum with the Italian flag and back on the "dummy grid" the drivers were given a 30 seconds sign. The normal procedure is that with 10 or 15 seconds to go an official gives a signal to the driver on pole position to lead the field slowly forward to the proper grid, the cars in the front row keeping station and controlling things. The whole field pauses on the grid proper, the flag is raised for five seconds and the start is given. Something went wrong somewhere. At 25 seconds no signal had been given, there had been no drivers' briefing to say that anything out of the ordinary would happen, and many of the drivers began to wonder if the "dummy grid" start was being used. As the 30 seconds were finished an official raised and lowered, very gently, a green flag, meaning "move forward for the start", the starter unfurled the Italian flag and Clark began to let in his clutch, but he was conscious that all around him engine revs were up at peak, ready for a racing start. As the green flag came down Brabham left the "dummy grid " with smoking rear tyres, hotly pursued by McLaren and Gurney and the rest, depending on their reflexes and where they had been looking. Clark was still watching the starter and was half-way to the starting line before he joined the uncontrollable rush, by which time Brabham was well beyond the starting line, still with spinning tyres and looking to right and left to see where everyone else was. Gurney swerved round the outside of McLaren and Amon nearly hit the back of Clark's Lotus, and in the confusion put the clutch out and the Ferrari engine revs went sky high and there must have been a bending of valves. The starter clearly did not believe all this and feebly raised and lowered the Italian flag as the cars on the middle of the grid went by. Whether the organisers wanted it or not the race was on, and Brabham was off like a jack-rabbit. He was leading at Lesmo, but round the back of the circuit Gurney went by into the lead, and Hill and Clark were hard behind them, while poor Amon found his engine would not go above 9,400 r.p.m., whereas it should have gone to 10,800 r.p.m. As the "naughty boys " screamed past at 150 m.p.h. at the end of the opening lap, in the order Gurney (Eagle), Brabham (Brabham), Hill (Lotus), Clark (Lotus), McLaren (McLaren), Stewart (B.R.M.), Hulme (Brabham) and Amon (Ferrari), the officials of the meeting still had their mouths open in startled surprise. On the next lap Clark went by Brabham and Hill into second place, and Hill followed him through and took third place. On lap 3 Clark shot by Gurney, and as he came up the straight from the Curva Parabolica he swerved the Lotus from right to left to stop Gurney getting in his slip-stream. However the Weslake engine seemed capable of holding the Cosworth engine, the gap being the same on lap 4, but Hulme was now right behind Brabham, in fifth place, and had dropped Stewart and the others behind, At the end of lap 5 Clark's Lotus appeared on its own, then came Hill, Hulme, Brabham, Stewart, McLaren, Amon, Surtees, Scarfiotti, Rindt, Baghetti and the others, Bonnier and Ligier bringing up the rear, but then Gurney's Eagle was seen coasting into the pits leaving a trail of oil from under the engine. It had broken a connecting rod bolt and the car was wheeled away. While the oil was being mopped up the Eagle team suffered another blow for Scarfiotti came coasting in with a dead engine, the scavenge pump housing having broken and damaged the timing gear badly.

At six laps Clark had a full second lead over Hill, but Hulme was gaining on the second Lotus, getting a little way away from Brabham in the process. Then came Stewart, but one lap later he drew into the pits, so that now there were two distinct groups Clark, Hill, Hulme and Brabham out ahead, and then McLaren, Amon, Surtees and Rindt. Although things looked straight forward enough all was not well, for Clark's car was handling in an odd fashion and he was easing his pace very slightly to that of the other three, and in the second group Amon's engine was still "off colour", and was obviously going to stay that way; the new Honda was going well down the straights and could get away from the Ferrari, but in the corners the fuel- injection was getting in a muddle and the acceleration was being affected, and Rindt had crumpled the nose "spoiler" under braking and was now plagued by "under-steer" at the wrong moments. Stewart lost a whole lap at the pits, having stopped to see if he had damaged his left rear Goodyear after sliding the tail too far at Lesmo and hitting the guard-rail. It was marked but undamaged so he rushed back into the race.

With one thing and another the pace was not as fast as it might have been, but it was fast all the same, the race average being just over 140 m.p.h. Hulme had really got the bit between his teeth and passed Hill on lap 9, and the troubled Clark on lap 10, but on the next lap Clark was back in front again, but something was obviously wrong somewhere. On lap 12 he had a shrewd idea what it was, and was hanging out of the cockpit looking at his right rear tyre, and sure enough it was going flat, so it was no Surprise when Hulme, Brabham and Hill appeared on their own on lap 13, and Clark was seen going into the pits. Some twelve seconds behind this group Surtees was keeping the Honda ahead of Amon's new Ferrari, the McLaren- B.R.M. V12, and Rindt's latest Cooper-Maserati, but he was not having an easy time, and frequently the Ferrari was alongside the Japanese machine, much to the delight of the crowd, and occasionally in front, which sent them into near pandemonium, even though the two cars were only battling for fourth place. Clark was in the pits for a very short time, while the rear wheel and tyre were changed, and he accelerated up the pit road really hard, as the leading trio went by at full speed, now one whole lap and a few hundred yards ahead of him, the two Brabhams leading Hill's Lotus. The battling foursome for fourth place were barely in sight as Clark rejoined the race, So for anyone who had not been paying attention the race pattern would have looked unchanged, but in actual fact Clark was now in 15th position, a lap and a bit behind the leaders, nearly a lap behind the second group, half a lap behind Baghetti, Siffert, Irwin and Spence, and almost in sight of Ickx, Bonnier and Ligier, the last two about to be lapped by the leaders. As the leading trio went by the tail-enders on lap 16, Brabham nipped into the lead, but on the next lap Hulme was back in front again and the lap after that as Ickx was lapped Hill took the lead. With only 20 laps gone there had been five different leaders, and even now nothing was settled. Irwin retired the Parnell-entered B.R.M. 8301, when the drive to a metering unit broke, and it was reported to the B.K.M. pit that Stewart had thrown a piece of tread off a rear tyre, so he was flagged in. It turned out to be a false report and he was quickly away, still in last place due to his earlier stop.

The leaders were lapping at around 1 min. 30 sec., but Clark was going much quicker and gaining on them rapidly, already being up to 11th place, after passing Bonnier, Ligier and Ickx and having Irwin retire. At 21 laps he was right behind the leading trio, at 22 laps he was between Hulme and Brabham, and at 24 laps he was past Hulme and Hill, but unfortunately this let Hulme get into his slip-stream and the crafty New Zealander also went past Hill and back into the lead of the race. Brabham was having difficulty staying with them now, for his throttles had stuck wide open momentarily and the engine over-revved and lost its fine edge. On lap 26 Clark set a new lap record, having a clear track ahead of him, going round in 1 min. 28.5 sec., whereas up to this point Hulme had held the fastest lap with 1 min. 28.9 sec., which he had done on lap 5, just as Gurney spread oil everywhere, which had slowed the pace. Clark began to pull away rapidly from Hulme and Hill, and caught Spence and Siffert, moving up two more places as he went past them. On lap 28 Hill retook the lead from Hulme, as something was going wrong with the Repco engine, and on lap 30 Hulme was slowing visibly and drew into the pits on the next lap with an overheated engine and most of the water gone, a head gasket having broken. This left Hill on his own, almost in the tail of Clark's slip-stream, and more than 10 Seconds in front of Brabbam, who was now noticing a drop in power due to the inadvertent over revving. Clark was about to overtake Baghetti in the third Lotus, and when he did, on lap 33, he was in seventh place, with Hulme retiring. At half-distance, or 34 laps, the three Lotus 49s were in correct number order as they passed the pits, Clark 20, Hill 22, and Baghetti 24, the only thing wrong being that they were not 1-2-3 in the race. Hill was leading Brabham by 17 seconds, and nearly a minute behind came the foursome still in a tight bunch, with Surtees leading by inches. Clark was encouraging Hill to great things, and "towing" him along two seconds a lap faster than Brabham was going, while Baghetti was also being inspired and he kept the two Lotus champions in sight for quite a time. The battle for third place was as fierce as ever, with the Honda and the Ferrari side-by-side, and the McLaren and Cooper-Maserati side-by-side right behind them.

Clark drove on and on as hard as the Lotus would go, with Hill following and benefiting from the slip- stream of the team-leader's Lotus, and the gap between them and Brabham continued to open out at two seconds per lap. At the back of the field Stewart had not been making much progress, though he was lapping as fast as Brabham, and had caught and passed Ickx, in the older of the Cooper-Maseratis, but on his 46th lap Stewart's car gave a great "poof" of oil and smoke on out of the back of the engine, and that was that. As if in sympathy the next lap, McLaren's V12 B.R.M. engine broke two connecting rods and he stopped at the Lesmo end of the circuit, and on the following lap Amon drew into the Ferrari pit with a defective nearside rear suspension, but nothing could be seen wrong so he rejoined the race, having lost exactly a lap. The battling foursome for third place had suddenly all fallen apart, and Surtees was left on his own, for though Rindt was keeping up with the Honda he could not challenge it. At 50 laps Clark was still "towing" Hill and the gap between them and Brabham was now 55 seconds, with Surtees in third place, some 15 seconds behind Brabham, and being no longer troubled by Amon's Ferrari he set about closing the gap. On the 51st lap Siffert was accelerating through the second bend of the Lesmo when the left rear tyre of his Cooper-Maserati suddenly went flat and this spun him into the guard-rail and broke the wheel and crumpled all the exhaust pipes. He had just lapped Ickx in the second works Cooper-Maserati and the two cars missed each other by inches. Baghetti's Cosworth V8 went "pop" and stopped, with a broken camshaft, and he coasted into the pits to retire at 51 laps, and this gave Team Lotus and Keith Duckworth their first fears as to whether the other two engines would keep going. Clark was showing no signs of easing up and on lap 53 he had Rindt's Cooper-Maserati in his sights, going past it on lap 54 and into fourth place, with the Honda and the Brabbam coming into view. All that Graham Hill had to do was to follow in Clark's wake, having nearly a lap lead over Brabham and Surtees, for after Clark had overtaken Rindt, Hill lapped the Cooper-Maserati. He had a comfortable and unassailable lead, though it was rather over-shadowed by the second, third and fourth cars, which were just in front of him on the road. Slowly but surtely the Honda was catching the Brabham, and very rapidly Clark's Lotus was catching both of them. Amon had another stop to see if the left rear shock-absorber could be made to work, and this dropped him to the end of the depleted field behind Ickx.

On lap 59 everything seemed to happen, for Clark had his sights on the Honda, but behind him poor Graham Hill's engine had gone bang in a big way, and it was Brabham who led, though he had to complete one more lap before he actually passed the stricken Lotus which bad coasted into the pits. The Cosworth V8 was well and truly wrecked and it was hardly worth trying to see what had broken, but Clark kept the Team Lotus flag flying by going past the Honda into second place as if the Japanese car was stopping, but Surtees used the Lotus slipstream to pull him along even closer to Brabham, whom Clark was about to devour. All this had been very confusing for the positions on the road were Brabham, Surtees, Clark, Hill at the time Lotus 49/3 blew up, with Hill leading the race by nearly a complete lap over the other three, so that they had to run the whole of their 59th lap before they took the lead, during which time Hill was in the pits, having not quite completed his 59th lap. Brabham was just leading at the end of lap 60, but Clark was closing on him rapidly, and as they disappeared towards the Curva Grande the Clark/Lotus fans (and there were a lot of us) stood up and cheered when the Lotus went by into the lead, having made up a whole lap on the Brabham. To lose the lead through a puncture, stop and change the wheel, and then to fight back into the lead, admittedly with the help of the misfortune of his team-mate, was the sort of thing that puts Clark into the Nuvolari, Fangio, Moss category of really great drivers. But it was not yet over, and with two broken Cosworth V8 engines in the pits Team Lotus had their fingers crossed. With Brabham in sight Surtees was doing all he knew with the Honda, and it was good to see him really working again and fighting every inch of the way; for so many races now he has had to drag along disconsolately with a bad chassis that did not do justice to his ability. After 60 laps the three leading cars were nose-to-tail for though the Lotus had rushed by into the lead, Brabham had put his car smartly into the slip-stream and been sucked along.

By lap 65 Clark had managed to shake off Brabham and this gave Surtees his chance and he forced his way by into second place, and as the three ears ended their 65th lap th electric scoreboard indicated that 3.2 sec. covered the distance between the first and third cars. At the end of the next lap it was 3.3 sec., and it looked as though stale-mate had been reached, with the advantage to Clark, but as they started the last lap the overall gap was only 1.8 sec. and Clark's Lotus was in obvious trouble. The three cars went into the 165 m.p.h. Curva Grande one behind the other and suddenly Clark's engine cut out, which caused the car to twitch sideways. This made Surtees and Brabham do a quick dodge round the Lotus, demonstrating why Grand Prix stars are supermen, for most drivers would have had an accident at that speed, and the commentator at Lesmo nearly hid an apoplectic fit a-s Suttees went by in the lead, with half a lap to go. The Lotus fuel supply had dried up and poor Clark's Lotus was hiccoughing along now in third place, while the two most rugged and unforgiving drivers in Grand Prix racing were one behind the other-down the back straight at over 180 m.p.h., heading for the last corner of this momentous race.

Surtees was leading but knew -that Brabham might be able to out brake him into the right-hand corner and his first instinct was to keep to the right and hug the inside of the bend so that Brabham would have to go round the outside, and he would not have sufficient surplus of power to do that. But even better was the fact that across the corner was a trail of cement dust put down to soak up the oil that Hill had dropped. Any line through the corner had to cross this dust, and if you crossed it with the brakes still on, or with too much speed you would be certain to slide out wide. Surtees kept well over to the left as he came down the straight, so that Brabham had only two choices, either to follow the Honda through the corner with little hope of out accelerating it to the finish,- or to go by on the right under braking and hope to take the lead and hold it as they went into the corner. Luck was on the side of Suttees, for Brabham took the second choice and went by on the right as they both stood on their brake pedals, and sure enough he hit the cement dust going a little too fast and the carslid to the -outside of the bend, by which time Surtees had pulled the Honda across behind the Brabham, dived to the inside and was leading as they entered the final straight, but Brabham was right behind him and as they raced for the finish the Australian pulled out of the Honda slip stream and got almost alongside as Surtees got the chequered flag of victory. Phew!

The crowd went wild and swarmed on to the track as Clark coasted over the line in third place, his fuel tanks appearing to be empty. Rindt was fourth, Spence fifth, Ickx sixth and Amon seventh, While one section of the milling throng overwhelmed Clark another section nearly tore Surtees to pieces in their enthusiasm, for he is still the idol of the Italian sporting world, even if he does drive a Japanese car.

When the tumult and the shouting died down, which was nearly two hours later, the Lotus mechanics filled the tanks on Clark's car and found that there still had been 3 gallons left in them, so he had not run out of petrol due to a miscalculation as was supposed, but the pumps had failed to pick up the last 3 gallons, even though they were working all right. On Baghetti's car in practice the fuel system had worked down to the last pint of petrol, on Clark's car with an identical fuel system the pumps had dried up with 3 gallons still in the tanks. The perversity of things mechanical."

#11 byrkus

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Posted 24 October 2001 - 16:49

Wow! :eek: :eek: That was one of the most excellent race reports I have ever seen!! Taken form that, it must've been a race, which today could only be seen (sadly for F1!) in CART or IRL... Excellent job.

#12 oldtimer

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Posted 24 October 2001 - 20:46

Brykus- that race report is very typical of Denis Jenkinson's work. There are many more. Which is why some of us have steadfastly kept an enormous collection of MotorSports.

#13 leegle

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Posted 24 October 2001 - 21:34

Amen to that! :) One so readily forgets and it is reminders like this that leads you to go through your pile of green magazines from time to time. I keep a couple in that place where one goes to be quiet and think every so often.;)

#14 Roger Clark

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Posted 24 October 2001 - 23:53

The trouble with this thread is that there are so many contenders, people tend to think of Jim Clark and flag-to-flag victories yet he was one of the greatest racers we have ever seen. some examples not yet mentioned:

Solitude 1963: left behind at the startwhen the lotus broke it transmission. He persuaded the team to replace the drive shafts and went out, 16 laps behind, just to please the crowd. he broke the (admitedly old) lap recod by 6.5 seconds. While waiting for the mechanics to repair his car, he acted as pit signaller for tte oter Team Lotus cars.

Reims 1963: not a drivers circuit, but he won with a misfiring engine mainly because he had driven so aggresively in te early stages to build a lead

Monaco 1964: Built a big lead but ade a small mstake which broke the rear anti-roll bar. Adjusted his driving to compensate but was eventually called in to remove the debris. continued to chase the leaders until the car broke.

Brands Hatch 1965: many will say that Dan Gurney pushed him into making a mistake. That may be true, but don't forget that Clark finished 20 seconds ahead of Gurney in the first heat and had no need to race him. It was the racer in Jim Clark that we saw that day.

Monaco 1966: Left behind at the start when the Lotus stuck in first gear, lat on lap 1, took third by lap 61 before the suspension broke.

Monaco 1967: took the escape road at the chcane when he thought a multiple accident was about to happen. rejoined last, reached fourth before the suspesion broke (again!)

In the context of the last two, remember that monaco wa a difficult circuit to overtake on, even in those days.

Watkins Glen 1967: finished (and won) with a rear wheel leaning over following a suspension breakage.

The greatest driver of all time?

#15 oldtimer

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Posted 25 October 2001 - 03:07

[QUOTE]Originally posted by Roger Clark
[In the context of the last two, remember that monaco wa a difficult circuit to overtake on, even in those days.

Did anyone tell Graham Hill that? :)

#16 Don Capps

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Posted 25 October 2001 - 03:38

F1 myopia causes folks to lose focus on the fact that he was a wonderfully talented 'all-arounder' and had some great drives in other classes, such as leading the Nurburgring 1000k's in a twiddler Lotus 23 and smokin' off into the distance -- leading by 27 seconds on lap the 1st lap, 47 seconds on the second -- before it dried out and Chunky's under-engineering did him in: the exhaust pipe broke and fumes seeped into the cockpit and a sickened Clark lost it and went into a ditch. Despite all that, he was gaining on the leader cutting the lead by 12 seconds on his last lap.

That he managed to bring a Lotus 30 home in 3rd place at the Times GP at Riverside in 1964 is a remarkable achievement often overlooked. That was one bad car and he did a remarkable job keeping it together and finishing the race with it.

His drive at Rockingham in 1967 has been mentioned elsewhere on the forum in another thread, but that was a superb effort and I often think that it just shows how good he really was.

And one that may not be obvious is the 1963 Indianapolis 500. He drove a very, very good race under less than optimal conditions -- the botched fuel stop, the oily track (and not just from Parnelli Jones by any means), and the knowledge that Chunky was never one to over-engineer as he dove into the turns....

However, I still think the '62 German GP was the best demostration of his superb abilities as a Racer.

#17 Bernd

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Posted 25 October 2001 - 04:38

As do I Colonel. From memory in At the Wheel Jimmy himself agrees with us.

As for the Lotus 30 that car was shocking the rear end was like a soggy biscuit. All it lacked was the 10 extra mistakes of the Lotus 40.

#18 Roger Clark

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Posted 25 October 2001 - 06:04

F1 myopia causes folks to lose focus on the fact that he was a wonderfully talented 'all-arounder' and had some great drives in other classes,



Not to mention the 1966 RAC Rally

#19 Barry Boor

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Posted 25 October 2001 - 06:44

...from Roger Clark:

The greatest driver of all time?



In my book, YES, definitely!

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#20 David J Jones

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Posted 25 October 2001 - 13:50

Barry

I believe Jim rates after Ascari, Fangio and Schumacher in post war rankings.

This is not to downplay Jimmy in any way but Schumacher also has that special driving ability and the determination to use it to his gain in as many situations as possible.
Jimmy was the greatest all round driver I ever saw up till the time I saw MS but I cannot say he lorded it over his contemporaries as MS does.

I saw him win in almost anything he drove where ever he chose to drive. But I cannot chose any F1 drive out over and above another.

It is with regret that I look back to 1968 and wonder how the Clark / Hill team would have performed in a second year in a developed car.

#21 dmj

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Posted 25 October 2001 - 14:41

Jimmy was the greatest all round driver I ever saw up till the time I saw MS but I cannot say he lorded it over his contemporaries as MS does.


I will never stop regreting MS hadn't competition of such quality level Clark had...

#22 Gary Davies

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Posted 25 October 2001 - 15:39

Originally posted by Don Capps
... such as leading the Nurburgring 1000k's in a twiddler Lotus 23 and smokin' off into the distance -- leading by 27 seconds on lap the 1st lap, 47 seconds on the second -- before it dried out and Chunky's under-engineering did him in: the exhaust pipe broke and fumes seeped into the cockpit and a sickened Clark lost it and went into a ditch. Despite all that, he was gaining on the leader cutting the lead by 12 seconds on his last lap.


Something I love about TNF is how it causes one to relive the time. I remember a sense of amazement at learning, through Motoring News, of Jimmy's wonderful but abortive drive in the 23 at the Ring.

That memory, of course, led me to recall the saga of Team Lotus at Le Mans in 1962 and I suspect that it was the Nürburgring display by the Lotus 23 that galvanised the Le Mans organisers into action.

A little of Jenks (from Motor Sport August 1962) in high feistiness: "... All these Experimental Prototypes were very exciting and great fun, and the organisers were happy until Colin Chapman arrived with
his Experimental Prototype. This was a Lotus 23 rear-engined sports car with a 997cc version of the twin o.h.c. Ford engine that had run at Nürburgring when Clark had led the race for eleven laps, to everyone's consternation. It was not obvious at the time but the consternation was deeper than imagined, for without question of doubt, the twin o.h.c. Lotus 23 was excluded from Le Mans in the minds of many officials before it even appeared for scrutineering. The shilly-shallying that went on was terrible and wasted everyone's time, and the excuses for excluding the car were futile and even after complying with certain requests Team Lotus were still refused on other grounds. Had the Lotus not gone so fast at Nürburgring it would have competed at Le Mans, but it was a dead certainty for winning the Index of Performance, and probably the Index of Thermal Efficiency, providing it held together for 24 hours, and that was a chance certain people were not prepared to take."

Later in the piece, Jenks makes a link with the Panhard, which was la belle France's Great Hope for both indexes.

In his autobiography, Jim Clark recounts that the Le Mans scrutineers pinged them on oversize fuel tanks, insufficient ground clearance, too great a turning circle and the fact that the rear wheels had six studs whereas the front wheels had four studs. They changed the rears to four studs and finally the organisers declared the cars unsafe, which led to Chapman swearing never to enter a Lotus at Le Mans again.

I was about to chortle at the prospect of a Lotus lasting vingt-quatre heures anyway but of course, two Lotus Elites came first and second in the Index of Energy that year, beating out the Panhard and one of them, the Hobbs/Gardner car finished a splendid 8th outright.

To finish off even more off-topic, I noticed in Clark's book that the reason the 23 had six stud rear hubs was because Chapman had planned to put the BRM V-8 Formula One engine in it! Now that would have caused some right royal consternation!

Vanwall.

#23 Don Capps

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Posted 25 October 2001 - 15:41

To me, putting Michael Schumacher and Jim Clark in the same sentence is almost obscene, much less placing Clark after Schumacher in any evaluation of talent. Schumacher is at best an "F1 driver" and Clark was a "Grand Prix Racer" -- a huge difference. Schumacher only "lords" over his contemporaries because he and they are merely midgets.

Sorry, but I am probably just expressing the not so polite thoughts of someone who is probably just an anachronism and cares little for the current state of things in what used to be Grand Prix racing.

#24 Martyj

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Posted 25 October 2001 - 16:06

Let me add to what Don Capps says regarding the Schumacher/Clark comparision. Regardless of their abilities behind the wheel, Schumacher losses points -- BIG points -- when it comes to sportsmanship. What the German did to Damon Hill in Austrailia in 94, and Villenueve in Portugal in 97 seriously flaws any overall assesment of his merits as an all-time great.

Jim, on the otherhand, was the epitome of the classic gentleman sportsman, as were many of the drivers of his era. He always drove clean and gave competitors room to race him fairly. Just read what all his contemporaries say about him in this regard in you don't believe me.

#25 David J Jones

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Posted 25 October 2001 - 16:15

Don

I now feel much as I did when DSJ acclaimed Senna to be the greatest driver ever - above JMF because the latter was not very very good in Sports Cars! When had Senna driven one?

Perhaps I am guilty of some crime but I genuinely feel that F1 has to be the pinacle of the sport - technolgy is a part of it wether we like it or not. I too enjoy CART but today's is no comparison with that of ten years ago - it is poor in comparison. IRL is a tragedy and should not exist, IMHO, and perhaps is the reason why CART is not what it was to me. Indy belongs in CART and should be back there without delay.

I am sure if MS competed outside if F1 we would then see the true measure of the man - perhaps we will see when he takes on all comers in go-carts?

Maybe this should be in another thread?

#26 Barry Boor

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Posted 25 October 2001 - 18:29

This is not really the thread for discussing the relative merits of great drivers, but I MUST counter an earlier message, thus:

David, while I can fully accept that Fangio, and maybe Ascari could be considered ahead of Jim Clark, in NO WAY will I be persuaded of Michael Schumacher's relevance to such a high position.

It is most assuredly NOT Michael's fault that he is unable to ply his undoubted talents in an assorted variety of racing cars, but his clear advantage over his current contemporaries is no basis, IMHO, for his elevation to the category which includes the above named drivers, plus Messrs Moss and Nuvolari.

I think it is widely accepted that the modern F1 racing car is so technologically advanced as to be 'ALMOST' driveable from the pit garage. The relative closeness of qualifying times between two drivers from the same team gives the game away. If you are sat in an Arrows, I don't care who you are, you are NOT going to qualify in the first 10. If you are sat in a Ferrari - you ARE. End of story.

In a way, I feel sorry for MS, in that for many of us, his behaviour in various races is going to be the factor that colours our opinions; see Don's recent post. He IS a very very good race driver and were he to have been born 40 years earlier, who knows, he may well have won Le Mans, the Mille Miglia, Indianapolis or whatever. But he wasn't, so for me, 50-odd Grand Prix wins and 10,000 points do not raise him above the level of being the best in his era; which he most certainly is.

#27 Don Capps

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Posted 25 October 2001 - 19:29

David,

Barry makes an excellent point about Michael Schumacher and I must apologize for my lack of sensitivity.

First, you are certainly not guilty of any crime and may perhaps be spot on. That we may differ doesn't mean I'm correct I've discovered. :lol: Plus, it is obvious that you have given your assessment some serious thought. I have to respect that and continue to re-learn that I often llok but do not see.

Second, Barry's point is a blinding flash of the obvious: Michael Schumacher certainly cannot be condemned because he chose the "wrong" parents and the "wrong" time to be born.

However, I am still very uncomfortable with the "modern" F1 while I can easily relate to the GP racing of Clark's day. Could there be another '62 German GP or '65 British GP performance today? I don't really know, but I tend to think not. The balance between the input from the driver, the team, and the machine are so much different today than was the case in 1960's. Drivers like Clark and Denny Hulme could drive around a problem and still be competitive while that seems not to be the case today, except in the rarest of cases.

#28 Jaxs

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Posted 25 October 2001 - 21:36

Jimmy Clark in Formula One was the Ultimate, numerous drives citing his enormous talent becomes repepitive, his drives in the Lotus Cortina, at Brands, a loose battery dropped him back in the field, pulled into the pits and took the ' short cut' to re enter the race minus half a lap, his antics from there on were a lesson to all. but his greatest drive, this may cause some consternation but for me, Wilwaukee Mile, upset that he had lost the Indy and in the manner of the lose. he returned to annihilate the field and win by one clear lap.

All this in a formula and a car that he had not driven over countless GPs or practice but to prove a point. The man was head and shoulder above the rest of the field.

Rgds

Jaxs

#29 Bernd

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Posted 26 October 2001 - 00:05

Jaxs not to mention the fact that he lapped Dan Gurney in an identical Lotus! Considering that Jimmy held Dan in the highest regard, on an oval to lap him is an absolutely astonishing achievement.

Oh yeah & Schumi better than Jimmy......... Yeah Right! :lol: :lol:

#30 bobbo

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Posted 26 October 2001 - 00:52

1966

Watkins Glen, USGP

Lotus-BRM H-16

Any Questions??:D :D

Bobbo

#31 Mike Argetsinger

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Posted 26 October 2001 - 00:58

Yes, that Milwaukee win was a remarkable drive. A.J. Foyt finished 2nd in that race and was the only driver Clark did not lap - although he clearly could have. After lapping 3rd place Gurney, Clark closed up on Foyt - and then held station until the end. This was quite simply a mark of respect toward another great driver and an example of Clark's fine sense of sportsmanship - he had made his point and there was no need to rub it in. By the way, my friend Ron Nelson took a great photo of Gurney chasing Foyt in that race. At some time or another Foyt signed the photo for him and last month Ron asked me to have Dan sign it as well - as he knew I would be seeing him. Dan did sign it and I was able to return it to Ron - while he was recuperating in hospital from a heart bypass operation! - so Ron has this magnificent photo signed by both of these great drivers. I have mentioned Ron's work before but for those who haven't seen his fine photos from the 60's and early 70's I recommend a visit to his web site - by the way he has a fabulous image of Clark and Gurney side by side in that very race on the site. www.prairiestreetart.com

#32 buzard

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Posted 26 October 2001 - 04:05

1966 US GP.

1st place with a BRM H-16 engine.

No one else ever did that, NO ONE!

buzard

#33 Dmitriy_Guller

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Posted 26 October 2001 - 04:55

Don, have you ever heard the saying: "When I was young, I had to walk 8 miles on snow to school, uphill both ways?"

#34 oldtimer

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Posted 26 October 2001 - 05:21

I have always admired the 1966 win in the US GP. Having seen the win in 1965 in the British GP with a sick car, it figured. I began to feel that Clark would be looking for first place if entered in a motorised wheel-chair after those efforts. What a car carrier!

#35 David J Jones

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Posted 26 October 2001 - 07:41

Don / Barry

I have considered your comments but I find that we must, it seems, beg to differ on that topic. I must find the Senna / Schumacher thread and read that up.

I must confess to a bias against Jimmy though caused by his involvement in the Monza accident in 1961. You see I was a 'Taffy' fan in that year.
Maybe it worked against Jimmy too because he was always more calculating after that and the 'take a chance' moves perhaps did not take place so often as they had. From my studies of the his career I understand that the Monza incident haunted him.

In later years I forgave Jim and came to rank him as the leading British driver of all time. I remember the Aintree 200 in 62 when after his own car failed he took over Taylor's 25 and afterwards lapped around 2 sec quicker! He always made things look easy didn't he?

To finish I must relate that in 67 the cars of the 66 Lotus team were put up for sale. I was about to buy my first car and for a couple of weeks considered buying Jim's US GP car (for £350 ) My family refused permission to house it in the garage so.........

.......Missed chance!

#36 Rainer Nyberg

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Posted 25 April 2002 - 19:13

A nice Jimmy Clark wallpaper for his fans :

Posted Image

#37 The Runner

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Posted 26 April 2002 - 05:33

,,okay so the 1967 Italian Grand Prix was covered by Eurovision, so is it not possible that somewhere is the whole redording of this great event, instead of just the finish? Can we find out, and whar about other Grand Prix also from the fifties and sixties, surely these recordings are all not lost... did German TV cover the 62 GP, did Italian TV cover the 71 race?
I have a clip of Amon chasing Siffert at Brands in 68, it is only a few seconds but the atmoshere is outstanding..... Black and white, grainy cars as my wife says but it makes my stomach flutter when I see clips like that and I long to see more....

#38 Joe Fan

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Posted 26 April 2002 - 06:00

Originally posted by Mike Argetsinger
Yes, that Milwaukee win was a remarkable drive. A.J. Foyt finished 2nd in that race and was the only driver Clark did not lap - although he clearly could have. After lapping 3rd place Gurney, Clark closed up on Foyt - and then held station until the end. This was quite simply a mark of respect toward another great driver and an example of Clark's fine sense of sportsmanship - he had made his point and there was no need to rub it in. www.prairiestreetart.com


Wasn't this the race that A.J. crashed his car at Indy and had to resort to racing a dirt car at Milwaukee, with dirt tires to boot!, yet he still managed a second place finish? Sorry to get off on a tangent but I remember A.J. saying that this race I am referring to was one of his best efforts.

#39 Bernd

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Posted 26 April 2002 - 06:17

I have trouble believing the scrutineers would let him on the circuit in that configuration Joe, but then again it was A.J Foyt would they dare not to?
Anyway I've watched about 10 minutes of footage from this race and I certainly didn't notice.

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#40 Jaxs

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Posted 26 April 2002 - 07:22

I've just watched the video. Champions, Jim Clark,which includes footage of the Wilwaukee Race and I must agree with Bernd, I could not see any difference with the cars. Might be another Urban Legend to save A. J. Foyt's reputation.

Rgds

Jaxs

#41 Joe Fan

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Posted 26 April 2002 - 07:42

Originally posted by Bernd
I have trouble believing the scrutineers would let him on the circuit in that configuration Joe, but then again it was A.J Foyt would they dare not to?
Anyway I've watched about 10 minutes of footage from this race and I certainly didn't notice.


Well, they let Rodger Ward race in an Offy midget in the very first US Grand Prix didn't they? Yes, this A.J. story is true. He even blew a tire late in the race which prevented him a shot at winning. I am not sure this is the same race as Clark won but I think he may have been in the field.

#42 Vicuna

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Posted 27 April 2002 - 12:51

Having recently finished Andrew Fergusson's book about Lotus at Indy, I'd say the 2nd place in 1966 would have to be near the top.

It's a great read - thoroughly recommend it.

#43 ensign14

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Posted 27 April 2002 - 17:37

Originally posted by Vicuna
Having recently finished Andrew Fergusson's book about Lotus at Indy, I'd say the 2nd place in 1966 would have to be near the top.

It's a great read - thoroughly recommend it.


Or was it 1st? :lol:

That little known clause in the Indy 500 Rule Book cited by Graham Hill - cl. 31.1(2)(a) - in case of doubt caused by spinning orange car, the winner of the Indianapolis 500 shall be deemed to be the first person after the checkered flag has been shown who drank milk in Victory Lane.

#44 Vicuna

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Posted 27 April 2002 - 22:48

Yes good point Ensign - I love the story about Jimmy going up to Graham in Victory Lane and saying words to the effect ' Graham, they think there's a mistake with the lapscoring - I may have won'

To which the immortal response came

'Sowwy dear boy, but I've just dwunk the milk'

#45 Gary Davies

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Posted 29 April 2002 - 13:47

Originally posted by Don Capps
Nurburgring 1962 -- he stalled on the grid, got off late, passed 16 cars on the first lap, and screamed through the field to finally finish 4th despite fuel feed problems in a race run in wretched conditions. ...


Sacreligious as it may be in some quarters to equivocate about anything Jimmy did in a racing car, it is not, IMHO, logical to cite his 1962 German Grand performance as his best. Yes he drove some sensationally fast laps and for a while was catching the leaders at a prodigious rate, but viewed overall, his effort that day was sufficiently flawed as to disqualify it as his best ever.

Keep in mind it was Jim who omitted to switch his fuel pumps on at the start and it was Jim who came within a gnat's whisker of disaster on lap 11. Sure he got to within 14 seconds of Graham Hill at one point but at the end he was some 42 seconds shy of Hill who also set the fastest lap.

A performace on Clark's part that was remarkable and breathtaking in several ways, but his Greatest Race? 'Fraid not.

Gary.

#46 Ray Bell

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Posted 29 April 2002 - 15:25

Can I throw the 1965 Australian Grand Prix into the ring?

If this was Phil Hill's greatest race, and he says it was, then surely it was Jim Clark's too... or at least one near the top of the pile of contenders.

He drove it with a high speed engine miss, after all, on a circuit that was all about top speed. Right in company with Graham Hill for the whole distance, and kept it off the fence when Phil passed him over the Long Bridge.

I would really like to know what everyone thinks about this...

#47 Bernd

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Posted 29 April 2002 - 23:36

Well Longford is certainly not a circuit I would want to even drive with a high speed misfire I can tell you that, it certainly was quite an achievement. Again this shows the tiger that so many deny he had.
After having studied Longford in studious detail I find Hills move to overtake Clark on Long Bridge quite stupifying really, man was he on fire that day or what.

Gary, Clark himself claimed that the 1962 German Grand Prix was his greatest drive.

#48 Gary Davies

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Posted 30 April 2002 - 01:20

Originally posted by Bernd
Gary, Clark himself claimed that the 1962 German Grand Prix was his greatest drive.


Bernd, I am aware of that and it was not without some uneasiness that I entered this particular fray. Perhaps what the great man was really saying was that it was his greatest drive for that part of the race after his first error and before his second error.

Gary. :D

#49 Ray Bell

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Posted 30 April 2002 - 02:12

I'd agree... he would have long since forgotten his first error... it wouldn't be included in his thoughts about 'driving'...

#50 William Hunt

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Posted 02 May 2002 - 01:47

Originally posted by Barry Boor
...But NOT 1964 because we all know who should have won that one! ;) [/B]


Dan Gurney in the Brabham ?