Sunday, September 4, 2011

Nostalgia: Jim Clark, One of the Best if not The Best

Image LAT Photographic
There are many drivers that F1 observers think are great, but there are few in which there is near universal agreement on, Juan Manuel Fangio, Ayrton Senna and Jim Clark. Driving in an era where death was common place Clark demonstrated his utter worldly speed and natural ability to drive all things mechanical; Indycars, NASCAR, Sportscars, Rallying, farm tractors (okay, not really but he would have). He boasts 2 World Championships (1963, 1965) and one of the highest win percentages in history (.342) only outdone by Fangio and the great Alberto Ascari. You will still find his name near the top of other F1 records: wins, win % in a season, consecutive wins, pole positions, pole position %, front row start %, fast laps, consecutive podium finishes, most lap led, pole-win-fast lap in the same race, and you get the picture.

Tragically and common of the era, Clark was killed in a F2 race at Hockenheim in 1968. He was 32 and easily still in his prime. In his last F1 race, he took the pole, set the fastest lap and won the race; a feat he achieved 11 times and only bettered by Michael Schumacher. He participated in 73 grand prix which by contemporary F1 standards would be a little more than 4 seasons. So, when you think about his statistical achievements and factor in his passing, and the lack of safety in this era, it is truly staggering. Of course, stats are not even the half of it. There is the famous quote of fellow racer, Chris Amon, "If this can happen to Jimmy, what chance do the rest of us have?" which speaks to the magnitude of the respect and level of his skill in an era with drivers like Graham Hill, Jackie Stewart, Jack Brabham, and Dan Gurney.

Clark had many great drives. I have uploaded a few videos of the grand prix legend; some of which are considered some of his very best performances in a race car. 

1 comment:

Dex said...

Thanks for sharing. Definitely a must see material. :)