Died, F1 Legend

Jim Clark


  • Kilmany, Fife, Scotland Place of Birth
  • 4 March 1936 Date of Birth
  • 1960 Dutch Grand Prix F1 Debut
  • Team Lotus Current/Last Team

James Clark OBE, born on 4 March 1936 and died 7 April 1968, was a British racing driver from Scotland who won the Formula 1 World Championship twice, in 1963 and 1965. As well as competing in F1, Clark raced in sports cars and touring cars and won the Indianapolis 500 in 1965. He was closely associated with Team Lotus, driving for them throughout his entire Formula 1 career from 1960 to 1968.

BornJames Clark
4 March 1936
Kilmany, Fife, Scotland

Clark tragically died in a Formula 2 racing accident at the Hockenheimring in West Germany, on April 7 1968. At 32, he held the record, at the time, for the most Grand Prix wins (25) and pole positions (33). Into the 21st century, he still held several Formula 1 records, including those related to the Grand Chelem and percentage-based achievements. His record for the highest percentage of laps led in a season stood until 2023.

Born into a farming family at Kilmany House Farm, Fife, Clark was the youngest of five children and the only son. Despite his parents’ initial opposition, Clark began his racing career in local road rallies and hill climbs, driving his own Sunbeam-Talbot. He quickly demonstrated his skills behind the wheel and on 16 June 1956, he took part in his first event, driving a DKW Sonderklasse at Crimond, Scotland. By 1958, he was racing for the Border Reivers team, led by Ian Scott-Watson, and competed in Jaguar D-Types and Porsches at national events, winning 18 races. On Boxing Day 1958, Clark raced against Colin Chapman at Brands Hatch in a ten-lap grand touring race, finishing second and catching Chapman’s eye.

Chapman placed Clark in a Lotus Elite for the 1959 24 Hours of Le Mans, where he finished in tenth place, partnering with John Whitmore. Impressed by Clark’s talent, Chapman offered him a seat in one of his Formula Junior (FJ) cars and in March 1960, Clark won the inaugural FJ race at Goodwood, finishing ahead of John Surtees and Trevor Taylor. With impressive results, Clark was soon promoted to Team Lotus for the latter part of the 1960 Formula One season. However, that year in Belgium, he endured one of Formula One’s darkest weekends. Early in the race at Spa, Chris Bristow crashed fatally in a Cooper. Clark narrowly avoided Bristow’s mutilated body, which left his Lotus spattered with blood. A few laps later, Clark’s friend and teammate, Alan Stacey, lost control after being hit in the face by a bird and was killed. These gruesome incidents nearly made Clark quit racing forever. He developed a deep hatred for Spa, despite winning there four times in succession later on.

In 1961, during his first full Grand Prix season, Clark was involved in a collision at Monza with Wolfgang von Trips’ Ferrari. Although Clark was innocent and unharmed, the incident resulted in von Trips’ and 14 spectators’ deaths, leaving Clark devastated and considering retirement. Colin Chapman persuaded him to stay, recognising the emerging brilliance of his star driver.

Over the next four seasons, Clark and Chapman’s partnership saw the Lotus excel whenever mechanical issues did not arise. The Lotus chassis, powered by Climax V8 engines, were exceptionally fast but notoriously unreliable. Clark lost the 1962 championship due to an oil leak in the final race. In 1963, with everything in place, he won seven championship races, securing his first drivers’ title. An oil leak again deprived him of the 1964 championship in the last race. In 1965, he won six of the ten races, earning his second World Championship.

After a less competitive 1966 season, Clark considered leaving but was rewarded with a return to form the following year. A victory in the first Grand Prix of 1968 brought his total to 25, surpassing Fangio’s record. Like Fangio, Jim Clark rarely made mistakes and had few accidents, making his sudden death all the more shocking. On April 7, 1968, his Lotus suffered a tyre failure during a Formula Two race at Hockenheim in Germany, resulting in a fatal crash. The racing world was stunned, feeling as though the heart had been ripped out of the sport. Colin Chapman said he lost his best friend, and Graham Hill expressed that he would miss Jim Clark’s smile most of all.

Source: formula1.com

Jim Clark Formula One World Championship career

F1 Career1960–1968
Entries73 (72 starts)
Championships2 (1963, 1965)
Career points255 (274)
Pole positions33
Fastest laps28
First entry1960 Dutch Grand Prix
First win1962 Belgian Grand Prix
Last win1968 South African Grand Prix
Last entry1968 South African Grand Prix


Driver Nationality Current/Last Team F1 Debut Status
British Brabham 1958 Monaco Grand Prix Died, F1 Legend
British Surtees 1971 Austrian Grand Prix Died, F1 Legend


Team Nationality Debut Season Status
Team Lotus British 1958 Historic