Jim Clarck

Birthday : 1936-04-03
Deceased : 1968-04-07

Biography Jim Clark

James Clark was born on the 4th March 1936 in Kilmany in Fife as the only son of a farmer. Jim was the youngest family member and grew up on the farm with four elder sisters. At the age of 6, the family moved a farm at Edington Mains just outside Chirnside in Berwickshire. Initially, Jim Clark went to school at Chirnside before going to Clifton Hall prep school in Edinburgh. Later Clark visited  Loretto School just outside the city border of Edinburgh.

In 1952 Jim left school to start working on the family farm. At that very moment, there were absolutely no indications that Jim Clark would have a career as a racing driver. He was driving cars and tractors as a child on the farm, but that’s quite a different ball game, isn’t it?  However as soon as Jim Clark discovered the Autosport magazine, he gained interest in racing. In 1953 he obtained a full driving license, joined the Ednam Young Farmers Club and met Ian Scott-Watson in the process. Although he did not yet know it, he was about to be steered towards his future career.

The first actual race was in June 1956 when Ian Scott-Watson entered his DKW Sonderklasse in a race meeting in Crimond near Fraserburgh. Beyond his knowledge, Jim Clark was entered in the race that was far enough from the family farm so his parents wouldn’t find out. After all, they were not very happy with the interest of their son in racing. They believed racing was way too dangerous. Jim’s car was not the fastest and as a rookie, it was no surprise he finished the race last. After that, it took over a year for Jim Clark to compete in another race, at Charterhall in Berwickshire. Jim entered in 3 races and won the final one, the BMRC Trophy.

As a result of this victory, the Border Reivers Racing team was put up by Jock McBain, a local garage owner who was beaten by Jim Clark in that particular race. Jim was the main driver, other drivers being recruited locally, most of which were farmers. None of them were paid to race although there was some prize money to be won. This was the real start of Jim Clark’s racing career. First, the Border Reivers Team raced mainly in Britain. Later the team went international and started racing in continental Europe. In April 1958 Jim Clark won a race in Full Sutton and was the first racer to finish a British sports car race at an average speed of over 100 mph. By the end of 1959, Clark was signed up to the Aston Martin Grand Prix team. They failed to produce their car but Clark was also signed to Lotus to race in Formula Junior with the possibility of driving for the Lotus Grand Prix team as well. 


Jim Clarck and his Porsche 356
Jim Clark and his Porsche 356


1960 was a year of success; Jim won the Formula Junior Championship and raced in four Grand Prix for Lotus. By the end of the 1961 racing season, Jim Clark was the main driver for the Lotus Team winning the non-championship Grand Prix at Pau. Soon after the start of the 1962 season, Colin Chapman revolutionized his single-seater car designs with the introduction of the monocoque Lotus 25. Jim went onto to win four Grand Prix and came second in the World Championship missing out to Graham Hill in the final raced when an oil leak forced him to retire from the South African GP.

In 1963 Jim Clark started in 10 World Championship GP races and won 7 of them. With 3 races to race, Jim Clark was the World Champion, the youngest ever at that time. That same year, Jim Clark made his name in the USA too. The Lotus team entered the Indy 500 where Clark finished 2nd on his first attempt on an oval race-track. In 1965 Jim Clark won another World Championship title. After that he remained the man to beat, even though he did not win a World Championship title anymore.

Jim Clark was killed in a Formula Two motor racing accident in Hockenheim, Germany in 1968. At the time of his death, he had won more Grand Prix races (25) and achieved more Grand Prix pole positions (33) than any other driver. In 2009, The Times placed Clark at the top of a list of the greatest Formula One drivers ever.

Jim Clark’s connection to Porsche is quite simple. Even though he never professionaly raced a Porsche, he owned a Porsche 356A, and he used to race that car for fun.  He loved the car for the same reason we love these classic Porsche’s today : wonderful hand-build quality and a balanced chassis which could allow a driver of Jim Clark’s talent to make swift, relaxed progress on UK roads of the 1960s. Clark was later convinced to sell the car by Lotus Racing chairman, Colin Chapman, who pointed out how bad it would look for the British sports car manufacturer if its star driver in Formula 1 drove a rival’s product on the road.

Jim Clarck’s race results in a Porsche

Year: 1957

Date Race No. Car Drivers Entrant Result
6.10.1957 National Charterhall [BMRC Trophy Handicap]   Porsche Jim Clark   1st
6.10.1957 National Charterhall [Production]   Porsche Jim Clark   3rd

Year: 1958

Date Race No. Car Drivers Entrant Result
5.4.1958 Full Sutton [Production]   Porsche 356 Super Jim Clark   6th
18.5.1958 GP Spa [GT2.0] 21 Porsche 356 Super Jim Clark   5th
24.5.1958 Full Sutton [T/GT]   Porsche 356 Super Jim Clark   1st
1.6.1958 1000 km Nürburgring 56 Porsche 356A Carrera Clark / Niessen Bruno Runte DNS
12.7.1958 Full Sutton [GT1.6]   Porsche 356 Jim Clark   1st
12.7.1958 Full Sutton [GT+1.6]   Porsche 356 Jim Clark   2nd
28.9.1958 Charterhall [GT1.6]   Porsche 356 Super Jim Clark   3rd

Year: 1959

Date Race No. Car Drivers Entrant Result
25.4.1959 Charterhall [GT1.6]   Porsche 356 Super Jim Clark   2nd

Source : Racing Sports Cars and Jim Clark Trust