Jim Clark- A Talent Cut Short in His Prime


Jim Clark bio
Full nameJames Clark OBE
ProfessionRace car driver
Years active1960 – 1968
No. of championships2 (1963, 1965)

Jim Clark was a highly-acclaimed British Formula One driver who earned two World Driver’s Championships in his brief career of only eight years. He was known for his versatility and drove in other major championships in different sports cars, touring cars and Indianapolis 500 tournaments.

Clark died while participating in a Formula Two racing accident in West Germany in 1968. He was only 32 years at the time of his death but had already achieved more pole positions and won more races than any other driver.

The best thing about Clark is that he never intended to make racing his life, let alone become one of the best in history. What started as a hobby turned out to be a revolution in Formula One racing. Although Jim died after only 8 years after starting his career, he remains one of the best F1 drivers in the sport’s history.

Jim Clark Personal Biography

Date of birth4 March 1936
Place of birthKilmany, Fife, Scotland
Date of death7 April 1968
Marital statusUnmarried
ParentsJames Clark, Helen Rorie Niven

James Clark Jr. was born on 4 March 1936 in Fife, Scotland to James Clark and Helen Rorie Niven.

Born into a farming family, Clark was the only boy and had four elder sisters.

Clark attended primary schools in Kilmany and then in Chirnside after his parents moved there.

His parents were never in the favor of Clark’s racing but he still got into racing and started his career in local road rallies and hill climb events.

He used to drive his own Sunbeam-Talbot in these events.

Clark never got married but told his girlfriend that he wanted to settle down and have a family on the farm in Scotland.

Brief Career Highlights

Formula One

  • Clark made his debut in Formula One in the middle of the 1960 season at the Dutch Grand Prix.
  • However, he was forced to retire on lap 49 with a final drive failure.
  • In his second Formula One race Clark got a taste of reality when he saw two fatal accidents which came as a shock to him.
  • The next year, Clark himself got involved in one of the worst accidents in the history of Formula 1 racing.
  • His car collided with Von Trips’s Ferrari which became airborne and crashed into a side barrier.
  • Trips along with fifteen spectators were killed in this accident.
  • Clark won his first Drivers’ World Championship with Lotus 25 in 1963.
  • he made a record by winning seven out of the ten races which was only equaled in 1984 by Alain Prost and broken by Ayrton Senna in 1988.

Indianapolis 500

  • Clark raced in his first Indianapolis 500 in 1963 and finished in second position.
  • For his amazing drive, he was awarded Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year honors.
  • In 1964 Clark was about to win his World Championship crown but couldn’t due to an oil leak.
  • Clark finally won the Indianapolis 500 in 1965 again with Lotus.

Awards & Achievements of Jim Clark

  1. F1 World Champion in 1963 and 1965
  2. Indianapolis 500 winner in 1965
  3. ABC’s Wide World of Sports Athlete of The Year in 1965
  4. British Touring Car Championship Champion in 1964
  5. Tasman Series Cup winner in 1965, 1967 and 1968
  6. Trophées de France Formula Two Champion in 1965
  7. Third place in 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1960
  8. International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1990
  9. Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 1990 in the open wheel class

Formula One World Championship career

Active years1960 – 1968
Championships2 (1963, 1965)
Pole positions33
Fastest laps28
Career points255 (274)
First entry1960 Dutch Grand Prix
First win1962 Belgian Grand Prix
Last win1968 South African Grand Prix
Last entry1968 South African Grand Prix

Accident & Untimely Death

Clark died in a racing accident at the Hockenheimring in West Germany on 7 April 1968.

He was originally slated to drive in the BOAC 1000 km sportscar race but instead chose to drive in the Formula Two race, Deutschland Trophäe.

The event was run in two heats and Clark was driving for Lotus in the Gold Leaf Team.

While on the fifth lap of the first heat, Clark’s Lotus veered off the track and crashed into the trees.

Clark suffered a broken neck and skull fracture and died even before he could reach the hospital.

According to the investigators, the crash was most likely due to a deflating rear tyre.

Frequently Asked Questions

What made Jim Clark one of the best race car drivers?

Among many other qualities, it was Clark’s braking that made him a great driver.

How did Clark die?

He met an accident when his car crashed into trees at a racing event in 1968.

Did Jim Clark race at Le Mans as well?


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