Jim Clark was an F1 driver. He drove for Team Lotus, and his Ford Lotus rear engine “British racing green” racers were (and shall remain) the quintessential Grand Prix rides.
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Clark won seven of ten races in 1963, and six of ten races plus the Indy 500 in 1965. He was killed on April 7, 1968 when he went off the course and into the trees at Hockenheim. He was a major world sports figure at the time and the news of his death was devastating, as he had fans on all continents. This might have been bigger headlines but things were turbulent all over in 1968. For example, Martin Luther King had been assassinated just three days previous, American cities were burning, and three days later LBJ signs civil rights legislation, terrorist bombings and student riots in Germany, ‘Rolling Thunder’ was in full swing against North Viet Nam, and the Tet Offensive is still hot. The world was doing back flips just about every day. Robert Kennedy would soon be shot in L.A. In the middle of all this Jim Clark hits a fucking tree.
But there’s some cool things to remember about Jim Clark. “Jim Clark’s drive in the 1967 Italian Grand Prix is regarded one of the greatest ever in F1. After starting from pole, he was leading in his Lotus 49 (chassis R2), when a tyre punctured. He lost an entire lap while having the wheel changed in the pits. After rejoining sixteenth, Clark then showed his genius by driving at his own limit, something which was not required when leading. He ripped back through the field, progressively lowered the lap record, eventually equalling his pole time of 1m 28.5s, to regain the lost lap and the lead. He was narrowly ahead of Brabham and Surtees starting the last lap, but his car had not been filled with enough fuel for such a performance — it faltered, and finally coasted across the finish line in third place.” – wiki
He didn’t have to win though. He was the man and everyone knew it.