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Archive for the tag “Lotus”

The little Nurburgring

Race 14 of Jim Clark’s 1964 racing season – 50 years ago – was staged on the south circuit of the Nurburgring.  The Eifelrennen – “the Eifel races” – were already forged in history.  And now, as the second round of the new F2 championship, the tradition would continue. Jim’s opposition was still not at full strength, although a certain Jochen Rindt was on the starting grid and was beginning to make an impression.  In the videos below we look at Jim’s race weekend with the Ron Harris Team Lotus 32 – and then talk to Jonathan Williams, the Englishman who finished third in the F3 support race at the 1964 Eifelrennen  Images: LAT Photographic

Jim walks away…

1964 Aintree 200.

Milliseconds after being forced off-line, Jim spins to avoid Andre Pilette’s Scirocco-Climax at Melling Crossing

The Aintree 200 meeting 50 years ago was significant not only because it was the last major motor racing international staged at the racecourse owned by Mrs Mirabel Topham; it was also the scene of one of Jim Clark’s rare F1 accidents. Racing Jack Brabham hard for the lead, Jim was forced off-line by a back marker and spun heavily into the straw bails at Melling Crossing. His new Lotus 33 was destroyed, obliging Team Lotus to revert to the 25B for the opening rounds of the 1964 Championship. Earlier in the day, as we recount below, Jim finished second in the new Ian Walker-run Lotus 30 and won his class with the Ford Lotus Cortina.

1964 Aintree 200.

The brand new Lotus 33, featuring larger driveshafts and new ZF gearbox, was badly damaged

1964 Aintree 200.

“I was lucky to walk away from the wreck,” said Jim later. “The accident highlighted the dangers when lapping slower cars.”

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Jim debuted the new Lotus 30 at Aintree and finished second after starting from the back of the grid, setting fastest lap on the way. In terms of handling, though, the 30 was a long way from Bruce McLaren’s winning Zerex (now re-named “Cooper-Climax”)

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Jim won his class in the Aintree round of the British Touring Car Championship with the Ford Lotus Cortina. He pushed Sir Gawaine Baillie’s Galaxy hard but the big car always had the legs. Jim headed the other Cortinas driven by Peter Arundell, Frank Gardner and Jackie Stewart

 

A little bit of Oulton

It wasn’t always going to be a free weekend: when Jim Clark opened his red leather agenda over the winter in Edington Mains the Syracuse F1 weekend would definitely have been listed – a race full-square against the new Ferraris. The Italian police decreed otherwise, however. Still the questions were being asked about the Monza accident in 1961. Jim addressed them; he even held a press conference in late 1963 so that the British press would know exactly what was being said. By March, 1964, however, there was still no clarity. Colin Chapman and Jim thus took the decision to avoid Italy for a while; Syracuse was off the schedule. Instead, Jim would race in the British Automobile Racing Club’s traditional spring meeting at Oulton Park. It wasn’t a big international; on the contrary, it was by any standards a “national” meeting. Nonetheless it featured the reigning World Champion in three different cars in three different events; Bruce McLaren in his new Zerex sports car (just purchased from Roger Penske and hastily fitted not only with a 2.7 litre Climax engine but also the lighting, windscreen wiper and luggage space required by the RAC regulations!); Jackie Stewart (Tyrrell F3 Cooper-BMW and Cooper Monaco, which he shunted heavily in practice; Jackie didn’t race the Chequered Flag Elan as I imply below. He would have his first race with it at Silverstone in three weeks’ time and at Oulton it was driven into a good second place by Mr Chequered Flag himself – Graham Warner); Sir John Whitmore (Lotus Elan and Cortina); and Jack Sears (Ford Galaxy and Cobra).  I should also add that Phil Middlehurst, father of the Lotus 25/43-driving Andy, was also very quick at Oulton this spring weekend, winning the Mini class with his very rapid Cooper S.

Why did Jim Clark make the effort to race in such relatively unimportant events? “I really enjoyed myself racing in 1964,” he would say later.”I managed to relax a bit more than usual; somehow the strain was not so great. I had, after all, achieved my ambition of becoming World Champion, so maybe my mind made me relax a little. I certainly felt freer of the cares that had almost obsessed me at times in 1963 and I consciously went out to enjoy myself.  I don’t think this was shown in my driving, for though my attitude might have changed a little, the results will show I was trying even harder in 1964 than I had the previous year.”

Image below: LAT Photographic

1964 Formula One World Championship.

Jim takes time for a spot of polishing at Edington Mains in early 1964

 

To Pau, for the first 1-litre F2 race…

Jim Clark’s 1964 season engendered a wide variety of nice – and sometimes not-so-nice – racing cars. The F2 Lotus 32 fell firmly in the former category. Jim’s first race with it was in the opening round of the French F2 series – itself the first race for the new F2 – around the familiar streets of Pau. Enter Ron Harris Team Lotus:  in this video we’ve tried to uncover a little more about the former motor-cyclist-cum-film distributor-cum Team Lotus entrant. We also chat with with the very rapid John Fenning, himself a Ron Harris Team Lotus driver, and for the bulk of 1964 a front-running F3 star.

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Jim and the Ron Harris Lotus 32-Cosworth were the class of the Pau, 1964, weekend

A record-breaking (seventh) win

ACBCIt seems strange now but in 1963 it was part of motor racing tradition: Christmas and New Year meant South African sunshine. Read more…

More hectic than racing

Continuing our year-long diary of Jim Clark’s epic 1963 season. When we last reported, Jim had flown straight to Indianapolis from Mexico in order to test the new four-cam Ford V8 Lotus 29B. Read more…

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