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Jim Clark - Versatile? Or Not?


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#1 10kDA

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Posted 28 November 2022 - 19:45

The discussion about Jim Clark on the Nuvolari GOAT Or Not thread brings some questions to mind. Why was Jim Clark not an all-rounder? Was it because of agreement, arrangement, understanding, contract? Ford had loads of money and I would have thought they would have wanted Clark at the wheel of Ford-powered cars at other championship events even if Chapman would not run at Le Mans. Clark's driving style would seem to make him able to drive anything and win. I know Clark debuted the 23 at the Nurburgring and ran away from the field until exhaust fumes dropped him from the lead, but did he run other championship sports car races in that time frame? Did Chapman make it worth his while to stick with Lotus formula cars and of course, Indy, with its prospects of big-money winnings, to the exclusion of other series/events? Were there other reasons?



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#2 SamoanAttorney

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Posted 28 November 2022 - 20:00

Is this post serious? 



#3 10kDA

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Posted 28 November 2022 - 20:07

Yes. Why would you ask? I can't think of many GP drivers of that era who were not also contracted to Ford, Ferrari, Porsche, or teams running their sports cars.


Edited by 10kDA, 28 November 2022 - 20:07.


#4 SamoanAttorney

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Posted 28 November 2022 - 20:18

Seriously, do you not see the contradictions in your post?

A great, humble champion who won and raced in F1, Indy, Cortinas and Lotus sportscars, even rallies.

The very definition of versatile I would suggest.

#5 ray b

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Posted 28 November 2022 - 20:20

he was not a winner at can-am or nasty car contests or trans-am like some other f-1 guys did

 

did win small sedan lotus-ford races in addition to f-1 and f-2 and indy

 

sports cars ? early days only for lotus only ?

lotus 30 and 40 mostly broke when he drove

I do not think he ever got entered in a ford gt wonder why ?



#6 Charlieman

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Posted 28 November 2022 - 20:22

Is Not Bothered an option?

Jim Clark delivered an apocryphal fast lap in an ERA.

He raced in lots of minor events.

#7 chr1s

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Posted 28 November 2022 - 20:24

The answer to your question is yes, he was versatile, very very versatile!



#8 D-Type

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Posted 28 November 2022 - 20:26

Let's see.  From memory:

- 3rd at Le Mans in a private entry;

- British Touring Car Champion in a Lotus Cortina;
- His legendary appearance in the RAC Rally before he crashed;

- Trying a prewar ERA , never having driven a car with a preselector gearbox before, after a few laps acclimatisation he was lapping faster than the owner who knew the car backwards and was a regular front runner in historic racing.

That sounds pretty versatile to me.

 

I think he chose not to drive for Ford as  a member of the GT40 assault on Le Mans or in the AC Cobra attack on the GT Championship.  But, as you say, it would be interesting to know why.  Unlike some drivers he was not motivated by the desire to maximise his earnings.  He did race the Lotus 30 and Lotus 40 - but the relative lack of success is down to the car not to Clark.



#9 10kDA

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Posted 28 November 2022 - 20:32

I was not questioning Clark's ability. In the United States everyone who followed racing knew who Jim Clark was, and that he drove a Lotus Powered By Ford to a near -win at Indy in 1963 and a dominant win at Indy in 1965, and was WDC both years as well. Much of the racing scene in Europe was not covered in the US press, though the sports & GT championship rounds were.

Specifically then - why was Clark not a regular in the world-class sports - GT - endurance championships?

#10 ray b

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Posted 28 November 2022 - 20:39

did he ever test a gt-40 or other ford race cars mark 2 or 4

 

and was the lotus 30 and ten more errors car very limited only a very few races not the whole or even most of a USRRC or can-am races schedule



#11 Tim Murray

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Posted 28 November 2022 - 20:41

Some posts have been edited. Please keep the discussion civil. Thanks.

#12 10kDA

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Posted 28 November 2022 - 20:43

did he ever test a gt-40 or other ford race cars mark 2 or 4

 

and was the lotus 30 and ten more errors car very limited only a very few races not the whole or even most of a USRRC or can-am races schedule

I wish I knew but nobody's talking.



#13 Tim Murray

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Posted 28 November 2022 - 20:52

These earlier threads may be of interest, although so far we’ve never got to the bottom of why Clark didn’t do more endurance sports car racing.

Jim Clark and Ford

Jim Clark and the Ford GT

Jim Clark and Le Mans

Clark, Chapman and Ford

#14 ray b

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Posted 28 November 2022 - 20:59

dan had some v8 ford powered  lotus cars 19 and 23 or drove them if owned by others

 

did the lotus team ever race a sports car ford v8 before the 30

 

did jim ever drive a v8 lotus ford other then the 30 and+10 errors 40 sports cars ?

 

I do not think/remember jim in an Italian racecar or german  ether

 

what was his non lotus record if any ? and all pre lotus ?



#15 LittleChris

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Posted 28 November 2022 - 21:05

I'd always thought that he saw his main profession as a farmer and so was happy to take part in UK based activities such as the RAC or the Saloon Car championship whereas other forms of racing might mean more time travelling at the expense of returning to the farm. Of course that changed with tax exile in 1967 so perhaps after adjusting to living in Paris he would've considered other forms of racing not being able to visit Chirnside as much as he'd have liked.



#16 Collombin

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Posted 28 November 2022 - 21:11

what was his non lotus record if any ? and all pre lotus ?

I have all his races on a spreadsheet somewhere, so when I get chance in a couple of days I will give a brief summary statistical breakdown if you like.

I do recall that a victory in a Ford Galaxie at Brands Hatch was seemingly his only win in the 1960s in a non-Lotus. Obviously this treats the Lotus Cortina as a Lotus rather than a Ford.

Edited by Collombin, 28 November 2022 - 21:11.


#17 Charlieman

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Posted 28 November 2022 - 21:17

I'd always thought that he saw his main profession as a farmer and so was happy to take part in UK based activities such as the RAC or the Saloon Car championship whereas other forms of racing might mean more time travelling at the expense of returning to the farm. Of course that changed with tax exile in 1967 so perhaps after adjusting to living in Paris he would've considered other forms of racing not being able to visit Chirnside as much as he'd have liked.

Jim didn't do a lot of lambing. His family owned a posh farm. Jim went to a posh school -- a Scottish school for rich Scots.



#18 ensign14

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Posted 28 November 2022 - 21:24

Specifically then - why was Clark not a regular in the world-class sports - GT - endurance championships?

Because Lotus was not.



#19 ray b

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Posted 28 November 2022 - 21:34

I have all his races on a spreadsheet somewhere, so when I get chance in a couple of days I will give a brief summary statistical breakdown if you like.

I do recall that a victory in a Ford Galaxie at Brands Hatch was seemingly his only win in the 1960s in a non-Lotus. Obviously this treats the Lotus Cortina as a Lotus rather than a Ford.

well the lotus ford gt if jim drove was a team lotus car so that is theirs mostly

save the borrowed auto box car



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#20 Tom Glowacki

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Posted 28 November 2022 - 21:52

well the lotus ford gt if jim drove was a team lotus car so that is theirs mostly

save the borrowed auto box car

 

 

?????????????????????



#21 cedricselzer

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Posted 28 November 2022 - 22:30

There were about 20 F1 races a year in the 60's. Tasman took up a further 3 or 4 weekends.  Indy. plus the other races in the US. Not a lot of time left for other racing. 



#22 Glengavel

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Posted 28 November 2022 - 22:55

Jim didn't do a lot of lambing. His family owned a posh farm. Jim went to a posh school -- a Scottish school for rich Scots.

 

True, but he left school early to help his father run another family farm, Kerchesters(?), after a relative died. He would have been hands-on - the Clarks were well-off but hardly landed gentry.


Edited by Glengavel, 28 November 2022 - 22:55.


#23 opplock

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Posted 28 November 2022 - 22:58


Jim Clark delivered an apocryphal fast lap in an ERA.
 

 

He was also very quick when he sampled the Lycoming Special during practice day for the 1966 Teretonga International. During the 8 week Tasman Cup series.  

 

He was due to race the Ford F3L prototype at Brands Hatch on 7th April 1968 but ended up racing an F2 Lotus at Hockenheim..... 

 

"Did Jim ever drive a V8 Lotus Ford other than....". Yes, the 49.  



#24 ray b

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Posted 28 November 2022 - 23:27

?????????????????????

in one of the other threads listed about jim and lotus up thread

 

there is the story of a swapped in auto tran car jim drove at sebring one year as non team lotus loaner



#25 ray b

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Posted 29 November 2022 - 00:00

There were about 20 F1 races a year in the 60's. Tasman took up a further 3 or 4 weekends.  Indy. plus the other races in the US. Not a lot of time left for other racing. 

not really

about 10 points races and two non points english early tests would be run

sure there were others but only locals showed up not team lotus 



#26 2F-001

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Posted 29 November 2022 - 03:36

not really

about 10 points races and two non points english early tests would be run

sure there were others but only locals showed up not team lotus 

What on Earth gave you that idea?!

Just looking at the 1963 season, I can see 20 events for F1 cars recorded that Jim took part in. I suspect that '62 and '64 would show a similarly large number of races.

And Cedric would know - I imagine he was there for most of them...



#27 GregThomas

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Posted 29 November 2022 - 07:00

Opplock has already posted the correct timeframe for the Tasman rounds. 8 weeks. then probably straight into testing for the next season upon return to the UK.

One of the major selling points for doing the Tasman was the holiday possibilities between rounds. So well chronicled by Eoin Young.

One of the very few chances during the year for any real downtime given the sheer number of race weekends.

 

I believe Bruce McLaren taught Jim Clark to waterski. He became quite good at it too.



#28 Doug Nye

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Posted 29 November 2022 - 07:46

I am staggered to find this thread just now...although the basic question in the opening post seems quite reasonable to me, if perhaps rather clumsily expressed, asking "Why was Jim Clark not an all-rounder?".

 

The question as worded infers that the person asking believes Clark was NOT an all-rounder - i.e. one capable of being competitive in any and perhaps every kind of competition car and in every kind of competitive motor sport .  

 

From the bald list of cars and types in which he competed one can surely appreciate a newby developing such an assumption.  However, anyone who saw him drive in the Jaguar D-Type or the Lister-Jaguar, in the RAC Rally - or in F1, F2, Junior, small-capacity single-seaters, yet also in unlimited-capacity sports cars, saloon cars (medium-capacity and gigantic), in the Elite at Le Mans (finishing well), leading the Nurburgring 1,000Kms in the Lotus 23 - will have no doubt that any doubter is missing a tile or two. Consider the torque, power and differing characteristics and sheer mass of a 1-litre F2 Lotus, a 4.2-litre Indy Lotus (or Vollstedt), a Lotus-Cortina, a Ford Galaxie and the 4-wheel-drive Felday-BRM - not to mention the ERA at Rouen - the Lotus 38 at St Ursanne les Rangiers - and the Lycoming in New Zealand and the stunned-mullet reaction has to be "can you seriously doubt that he was???".

:eek:   :confused: 

 

DCN 



#29 Ray Bell

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Posted 29 November 2022 - 08:32

He also raced an Aston DB4 GT Z...

 

And made a big impression if I recall reading about the TT race correctly.

 

He was the only driver to win with the BRM H16 engine, too. I think that must count for something.



#30 absinthedude

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Posted 29 November 2022 - 09:37

I am not aware of Jim Clark's exploits in the ERA. Could someone please point me to where this is documented so I can learn more?

 

Likely in the late 80s I recall an entire saloon car race which he won being shown on BBC TV. I am unsure of the occasion or reason for the repeat and equally unsure why I didn't record it. But I sat mesmerised watching it, thinking "there's no way Senna or Prost would drive that car that well".



#31 RCH

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Posted 29 November 2022 - 09:37

When people refer to drivers from the 1960's driving different types of car and thus being "all rounders" they tend to use Jim Clark as an example. And I certainly wouldn't disagree with that. However may I suggest that other drivers such as Graham Hill and certainly Roy Salvadori drove more variety and were perhaps even more "all rounders"? I get the impression that Lotus drivers were more restricted (by contract?) than others.

 

I suspect that any Grand Prix driver worth his salt would be capable of excelling elsewhere if he was actually able to do so.



#32 Collombin

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Posted 29 November 2022 - 09:44

I am not aware of Jim Clark's exploits in the ERA. Could someone please point me to where this is documented so I can learn more?


He took Pat Lindsay's ERA out for a few laps at Rouen in 1964, that's all. He didn't actually compete in it, but in this unfamiliar car was quicker than the owner within two or three laps. And the owner was no slouch.

#33 FastReader

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Posted 29 November 2022 - 10:15

I am not aware of Jim Clark's exploits in the ERA. Could someone please point me to where this is documented so I can learn more?

Get hold of David Tremayne's book Jim Clark - The Best of the Best. This is an extract from the review on the Speedreaders website:

 

"Tremayne recounts how Clark relished driving anything and everything and was able to adapt his style almost instantly to whatever demands a car made of him. This was never better illustrated than by Clark’s few laps at Rouen in the prewar ERA R5B “Remus” owned by the Hon. Patrick Lindsay. The car’s owner, no mean racer himself, had put the car on pole for the 1964 French Grand Prix support race and Clark, on pole too for the main event, was invited to try the old racing car. That he was quicker than Lindsay might not have been a surprise, but by four seconds and within only a couple of laps?"

 

*edit* Perhaps the thread starter should also get hold of a copy of Tremayne's book.


Edited by FastReader, 29 November 2022 - 10:18.


#34 68targa

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Posted 29 November 2022 - 10:17

and just for completeness he also competed in a Sunbeam Talbot, Triumph TR3, DKW, Goggomobil, Tojeiro, Gemini FJ and Vollstedt. 


Edited by 68targa, 29 November 2022 - 11:48.


#35 Tim Murray

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Posted 29 November 2022 - 10:32

He took Pat Lindsay's ERA out for a few laps at Rouen in 1964, that's all. He didn't actually compete in it, but in this unfamiliar car was quicker than the owner within two or three laps. And the owner was no slouch.

To be fair to Patrick Lindsay, his son Ludovic has stated that Patrick had never driven at Rouen before, and had not done that many laps before Jim had his run. My understanding is that Jim’s best lap was 2 min 48.7 sec. Patrick then managed 2 min 51 sec later in practice, and in the race itself he got down to 2 min 50 sec. So while Jim’s achievement in the car was extraordinary, he knew Rouen well, while Patrick was obviously still on a learning curve right up to the race.

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#36 Vitesse2

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Posted 29 November 2022 - 10:48

Although as stated above, Jim had almost certainly never previously driven a racing car with a Wilson preselector gearbox. There were road cars which had them too, of course - but, again, would he have ever driven a 1930s Armstrong-Siddeley, Daimler or Lanchester?



#37 Jim Thurman

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Posted 29 November 2022 - 18:37

When people refer to drivers from the 1960's driving different types of car and thus being "all rounders" they tend to use Jim Clark as an example. And I certainly wouldn't disagree with that. However may I suggest that other drivers such as Graham Hill and certainly Roy Salvadori drove more variety and were perhaps even more "all rounders"? I get the impression that Lotus drivers were more restricted (by contract?) than others.

 

I suspect that any Grand Prix driver worth his salt would be capable of excelling elsewhere if he was actually able to do so.

A lot of that in America as well, but it also should be noted that contracts (tires, manufacturer) played a big role in drivers competing in many different forms of racing during that era. That, plus far fewer races in top series and, to be quite blunt, the drivers wishing to make a good income by driving in more events.



#38 Doug Nye

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Posted 29 November 2022 - 18:44

Moss, Brabham, Clark, Graham Hill all talked of the Tasman series - for example - providing very handy earning opportunities during the European closed season.  Moss and Hill, of course, also viewed 'The Monte' in the same light...as paying fun; yet such challenges always became deadly serious from the moment the start was signalled.

 

That much hasn't changed.   :cool:

 

DCN



#39 marksixman

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Posted 29 November 2022 - 19:13

When people refer to drivers from the 1960's driving different types of car and thus being "all rounders" they tend to use Jim Clark as an example. And I certainly wouldn't disagree with that. However may I suggest that other drivers such as Graham Hill and certainly Roy Salvadori drove more variety and were perhaps even more "all rounders"? I get the impression that Lotus drivers were more restricted (by contract?) than others.

I suspect that any Grand Prix driver worth his salt would be capable of excelling elsewhere if he was actually able to do so.


I totally agree with you RCH. As two examples, look at how Jonathan Palmer went in Peter Milward's Lola-Aston Martin T70 (before he was a GP driver), and Mike Wilds in Thundersports and Historic GTs , in various cars, (after he was a GP driver).

But I do think Clark was exceptional, in that he was able to diversify at will. As were Gurney, (G)Hill, and Ickx.

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#40 nicanary

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Posted 29 November 2022 - 20:02

Wot? No Mario?



#41 ensign14

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Posted 29 November 2022 - 20:03

I totally agree with you RCH. As two examples, look at how Jonathan Palmer went in Peter Milward's Lola-Aston Martin T70 (before he was a GP driver), and Mike Wilds in Thundersports and Historic GTs , in various cars, (after he was a GP driver)
 

 

Heck, even the much-derided Alex Yoong took a one-gear 72 to second at the Historique in 2002.  Took Stretton until the last lap to squeeze past.



#42 ray b

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Posted 29 November 2022 - 20:06

What on Earth gave you that idea?!

Just looking at the 1963 season, I can see 20 events for F1 cars recorded that Jim took part in. I suspect that '62 and '64 would show a similarly large number of races.

And Cedric would know - I imagine he was there for most of them...

10 POINTS RACES

 

I bet if clark in a lotus you have f-2 events in the mix

 

MC B N GB F G I us mex SA points the was a easter and an other preseason english NONpoints races
 

taz was not f-1 or 2 maybe you count them but the old 2.5 limit and separate points for down under


Edited by ray b, 29 November 2022 - 20:11.


#43 marksixman

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Posted 29 November 2022 - 20:36

Wot? No Mario?

Ah, yes, Sir Mario. Possibly the greatest all-rounder of all, if he could just get an entry for Rally GB ! 

 

I would like to think he, and Clark, and Quick Vic, were mutually appreciative.



#44 jtremlett

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Posted 29 November 2022 - 21:08

I totally agree with you RCH. As two examples, look at how Jonathan Palmer went in Peter Milward's Lola-Aston Martin T70 (before he was a GP driver), and Mike Wilds in Thundersports and Historic GTs , in various cars, (after he was a GP driver).

But I do think Clark was exceptional, in that he was able to diversify at will. As were Gurney, (G)Hill, and Ickx.

I've long thought the versatility thing is a bit of a myth.  A top racing driver is a top racing driver and if you put them in pretty much anything they will be competitive after a few laps.  The opportunities may be different and fewer now, but you still see it with F1 drivers racing at Le Mans or, say, Alonso doing Indy.  



#45 GregThomas

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Posted 29 November 2022 - 21:23

I've long thought the versatility thing is a bit of a myth.  A top racing driver is a top racing driver and if you put them in pretty much anything they will be competitive after a few laps.  The opportunities may be different and fewer now, but you still see it with F1 drivers racing at Le Mans or, say, Alonso doing Indy.  

 

IMO anyway, true versatility is sucess on different surfaces. Mario with a dirt track background then winning in F1 goes back to the sort of background Fangio had.

I'm reasonably sure the levels of car control shown nowadays by the top rally guys would transfer quite well to single seaters.



#46 Bloggsworth

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Posted 29 November 2022 - 21:57

I was not questioning Clark's ability. In the United States everyone who followed racing knew who Jim Clark was, and that he drove a Lotus Powered By Ford to a near -win at Indy in 1963 and a dominant win at Indy in 1965, and was WDC both years as well. Much of the racing scene in Europe was not covered in the US press, though the sports & GT championship rounds were.

Specifically then - why was Clark not a regular in the world-class sports - GT - endurance championships?

He probably didn't realise that you considered it compulsory...



#47 Henri Greuter

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Posted 29 November 2022 - 21:59

Ah, yes, Sir Mario. Possibly the greatest all-rounder of all, if he could just get an entry for Rally GB ! 

 

I would like to think he, and Clark, and Quick Vic, were mutually appreciative.

Quick Vic is definitely a European driver who comes to my mind if we talk about versatility.



#48 2F-001

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Posted 29 November 2022 - 22:26

10 POINTS RACES

 

I bet if clark in a lotus you have f-2 events in the mix

 

MC B N GB F G I us mex SA points the was a easter and an other preseason english NONpoints races
 

taz was not f-1 or 2 maybe you count them but the old 2.5 limit and separate points for down under

Yes, we all know that they were not all points-paying races.

I was more concerned with your contention that Team Lotus didn't bother with the other (non-championship) races which clearly does not stack up.

 

All of the races I had in mind were in a Lotus 25; and no, I was not counting Tasman or F2 races.

 

If you didn't think Cedric knew the score, I think there are lists of all of Clark's races in one of Graham Gauld's books. 



#49 2F-001

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Posted 29 November 2022 - 23:09

Well, here is Jim Clark’s 1963 schedule of races with a Lotus 25, all run to F1 rules, as documented by Graham Gauld, with results, in “Jim Clark: portrait of a great driver” (Hamlyn, 1968)

 

30 Mar  Lombank Trophy @ Snett (2nd)

15 Apr   Pau Grand Prix (1st)

21 Apr   Imola Grand Prix  (1st)

27 Apr   Aintree 200 (3rd - shared drive with Trevor Taylor)

11 May   Intn’l Trophy @ Silverstone  (1st)

26 May   Monaco Grand Prix. (ret)

9 Jun   Belgian Grand Prix  (1st)

23 Jun   Dutch Grand Prix  (1st)

30 Jun   French Grand Prix  (1st)

20 Jul   British Grand Prix  (1st)

28 Jul   Solitude F1 race  (8th)

4 Aug   German Grand Prix  (2nd)

11 Aug  Kannonloppet @ Karlskoga  (1st)

1 Sep   Austrian Grand Prix @ Zeltweg  (ret)

8 Sep   Italian Grand Prix  (1st)

21 Sep   Oulton Park Gold Cup  (1st)

6 Oct   US Grand Prix  (3rd)

27 Oct   Mexican Grand Prix  (1st)

14 Dec  Rand Grad Prix @ Kyalami  (ret)

28 Dec  South African Grand Prix  (1st)

 

(1964 season kicked off with the Daily Mirror Trophy at Snetterton on March 14, so he’s actually shown there as doing 21 races within a 12-month period) 



#50 opplock

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Posted 29 November 2022 - 23:15

In 1963 he also raced

 

Lotus 23B - 6 races

Lotus 29    - 3 races

Lotus 19    -  1 race

Lotus Cortina - 1 race

Ford Galaxie - 1 race

 

In 1965 he competed in 62 races and a hillclimb, using Lotus 33, Lotus 32B, Lotus Cortina, Lotus 30, Lotus 32, Lotus 38, Lotus 35, Lotus 40. 

 

Source: Jim Clark, author David Tremayne. 

 

Didn't leave a lot of time for world championship sportscars or banger racing.    


Edited by opplock, 29 November 2022 - 23:35.