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Archive for the tag “Team Lotus”

Championship won

progNurburgring, August 1, 1965. German GP  Very quickly, the F1 calendar brought an end to the Ingliston Interlude and the Scots R&R that came with it: the German GP was scheduled to take place at the Nurburgring the following weekend. The press billed it as a “Championship decider” but in truth it was Jim Clark’s first opportunity to clinch his second World Title. A win at the ‘Ring would secure it. Should he fail to do so, then there was always Monza, or Watkins Glen…

For Jim, this was a big race for another reason: he had never won at the ‘Ring. He’d always been quick, both in sports cars and F1, but always there had been problems. Now he had the almost-perfect car (the Lotus 33B, fitted with a larger-capacity oil tank in the wake of the Silverstone near-miss) and the almost-perfect engine (the 32-valve Climax V8, now running tapered valves to curb excessive oil consumption). All he needed was a trouble-free weekend.30445 1965GermanGP

This he had. It wasn’t easy, because he backed-off a fraction late when the car was airborne in the early laps, buzzing the Climax up to 11,200 rpm; and, late in the race, when light rain began to fall, the engine lost its sharpness due to a broken exhaust. Jackie Stewart, though, had problems with the BRM, leaving Graham Hill as Jim’s only real threat, while Dan Gurney’s 16-valve Brabham-Climax was very slow in a straight line.30403 1965GermanGP

So Jim secured the 1965 Championship on the world’s most demanding circuit. He started from the pole; he was never headed for two hours, 10min; and he set fastest lap. It was a fitting result, you might say. Afterwards, with the garland, he was joined for the long celebratory lap in an open sports car by a beaming Graham and Dan (in neat, light blue Goodyear jacket). Win No 28 

Images: LAT Photographic30398 1965GermanGP

Courtesy of AP, here are the Movietone News race highlights that hit the cinemas within a few days of Jim’s momentous win:

Ingliston Interlude

Jim Clark had been impressed by Jackie Stewart from the moment he saw him drive.  Jackie hailed from Glasgow, Jimmy from the Borders; Jackie’s family ran a garage, Jim’s ran a farm: the differences were pronounced. In common, though, was their love of driving nice racing cars on the absolute limit. Quite what defined that limit, in their respective minds, is still an open question: Sir Jackie today remembers Jim saying very little to him about how he actually drove. “You knew, with Jimmy, when to push and when not to push,” he says. “He always gave me the impression that he didn’t want to talk about the very precise details. They were private to him – and I respected that. Of course we talked about cars and racing in general and strategy and those sorts of things…but Jimmy always kept a little bit in reserve. That was his nature.”

Their friendship blossomed in 1965. Jackie also became a familiar face at Sir John Whitmore’s Balfour Place apartment and in so doing opened Jim’s perspectives to a very different way of life. Jackie, even then, was both fashion- and financially-sophisticated. Jim was less so. The interesting thing, looking back, is that Jackie had no doubt about how to solve the high-earner’s tax problems: he would move to Switzerland and operate as a pro racing driver from that one, central base. Jim, despite his friendship with Jackie, continued to do his own thing with his own, local advisers. He would take the complicated option of moving his “goods and chattels” to Bermuda while residing for a full racing season in Paris.

By the mid-1965, Jackie had also finished second to Jim at Spa, Clermont and Zandvoort: the magazines were calling it a “Highland Fling” and referring to “The Flying Scotsmen” in the plural. None of this troubled Jim.  On the contrary, he was delighted for Jackie – for that was his nature. Jim had persuaded Colin Chapman to give Jackie a quick F1 outing during practice for the 1964 British GP and Jackie had stood-in for Jim in the Rand GP later that year. With Jim’s Indy win paving the way for drivers like Jackie also to race in the States, motor racing north of the border had never looked healthier.

Thus the two friends attended a race meeting at the new Ingliston circuit in Edinburgh on July 25 – in the time between the Dutch and German GPs (at the vortex of what was already a breathlessly intense season). Already well-known to Jim as the site of the Royal Highland Showground, the new circuit was made up from in-field and perimeter roads. It wasn’t long or too demanding – but it was another motor racing circuit for Scotland.  In many ways it was a product of Jim’s success.

The race meeting itself, organised by the Scottish Motor Racing Club, was relatively low-key, as you would expect.  Jackie would have been interested in Bill Stein’s Ecurie Ecosse Tojeiro while Jim would have had a laugh with his old Normand team-mate and fellow F2 competitor, Mike Beckwith, who raced spectacularly at Ingliston in his Elan.  The Rover-BRM turbine “hoover” was on-hand, fresh from Le Mans, for Jackie to demonstrate with Jim alongside him (!) and Jim, ever the man of detail, performed the start-line duties for the Guards Trophy event, stop watch in hand, flag accurately poised. It’s also worth noting that both Graham and Gerry Birrell raced on this day at Ingliston – both were quick and destined for greater things – and that Jock Russell was much in evidence: the irascible Scot would later buy Jim’s 1966 US GP-winning Lotus 43-BRM.

Click on the first image to open this short gallery of the Ingliston Interlude.

 

Five in a row for Clark

30133 1965DutchGPZandvoort, Holland. July 18, 1965. Dutch GP  Jim Clark’s amazing 1965 season continued unabated. Following his victories in the Silverstone-Rouen double-header, Jim returned quickly to London for Wednesday’s British Racing Automobile Club (BARC) function at the Grosvenor House hotel.  Olympic Gold Medallist, Mary Rand, presented a special award to Jim for his Indy 500 win – but by this stage of the year it could just as well have been for his F1 success. He’d missed Monaco to win at Indy but he’d won every other GP of the season, plus the Tasman Series. Little was the time for relaxation, however, for the next day Jim flew to Zandvoort, Holland, for the Dutch GP.  Jim headed the times on Friday, when the winds blew, and qualified second on Saturday in perfect conditions.  Again, though, the new 32-valve Climax engine proved unreliable, obliging Clark to switch to the 16-valve spare car for the race. Thanks to British Pathe, we can now take a short look at the Dutch GP in the following video. Note a young Clive Chapman near the start, pensive in Mike Spence’s helmet and goggles. Win No 27

 

 

The British GP celebrations – as they really happened in 1965

My colleague, Peter Darley, was quickly in touch last week after we posted the summary of Jim Clark’s stunning 1965 British GP victory. I’m indebted to him for the gallery below. As the official photographer to Team Lotus in the 1960s, Peter was invited onto the British GP podium “float” in 1965. He clicked away as, first, the winning Lotus 33B was wheeled up onto the flat-top and then as Jim donned Jim Endruweit’s pullover before receiving the garland and trophy. “Actually, I was holding Jim’s favourite cardigan,” recalls Peter, but Jim Endruweit offered him his sweater while I was busy taking photos. When Colin saw the cardigan in my hand he said ‘Good.  I’ll have that. It’s a bit chilly up here…’ – which is why you see Colin wearing Jim’s cardigan and Jim Clark the baggy Endruweit sweater. Jim E sat at the front, looking a bit cold…” PD000

Here’s Peter at the head of the victory group, recording history. (Peter has already published two superb books that no serious enthusiast should be without – Jim Clark – Life at Team Lotus and 1965: Jim Clark & Team Lotus: the UK races.  And he has a new book due out shortly, juicily entitled Pit and Paddock.)

To enter the gallery, click on the first image – but please note that all the photographs are the copyright of Peter Darley and cannot be reproduced without his written permission.

 

No time to relax…

July 11, 1965. Rouen Grand Prix (F2) Incredibly, Jim had little or no time to enjoy the Silverstone win. He was due to race the following day (Sunday) at Rouen in another F2 event, again in the Ron Harris Lotus 35-Cosworth. Jim had always been very quick at the fast, demanding, sweeping, uphill-downhill Rouen circuit but to date had never won there: he had led both the 1962 and 1964 French GPs at Rouen before having to retire. Now he was returning with a nimble F2 car against the usual, formidable, opposition. Rouen was nothing less than a complete drivers’ circuit and Jim, his Silverstone victory still ringing in his ears, was as hungry as ever.

The logistics, with the passing of time, seem incredible: Jim (together with the other F1 drivers) practised at Rouen on the Wednesday before flying that night to Silverstone. They all then returned to Rouen a few hours after the British GP to be practising again at Rouen on Sunday morning for a race that afternoon. In the midst of all that, Jim’s Cosworth engine was flown from Rouen to Northampton on Wednesday night, completely rebuilt, and sent back to France on Saturday night.

Jim qualified on the pole but it was Jochen Rindt who led into the first, fast, downhill right-hander. Jim slipped past on the ultra-quick uphill section after the famous Nouveau Monde hairpin – then it was Rindt again, slipstreaming back into the lead before the final hairpin.1965 Rouen F2

Again it was Clark versus the Winkelmann team, for Alan Rees was quickly up there too. The two Brabhams burst past the pits – then Jim drew gasps from the crowd as he darted out of the tow and dived for the inside for the flat-out right-hander. And so it went on – with Jack Brabham and Graham Hill joining the fight. The racing was spellbinding. It was slipstreaming…but on very fast, sweeping corners…

Jim’s concentration, given recent events, was astounding. Inch by inch, braking area by exit, his monotonous perfection began to give him some space. Jochen and Graham became enmeshed in a battle; Rees retired with a broken drive-shaft.

Suddenly Jim found himself on top. It was one of the best bits of driving he’d produced all year.

And yet…and yet…

In an eerie re-run of Silverstone, his Cosworth engine suddenly lost its edge with but two laps of the race to go. Graham Hill, in John Coombs’ Brabham-BRM, was catching him quickly. Colin Chapman jumped from the pit wall in disbelief. In the cockpit, Jim again nursed the engine, winding down the revs and saving it on downshifts. More than ever, he focused on massaging the dynamic weights, eliminating the lumps.1965 Rouen 2

And he did it. He crossed the line to win a relatively minor F2 race in about the time it takes to win a Grand Prix today – 1hr 48min. In this amazing of seasons, it was win No 26. Images: LAT Photographic

Thanks to my colleague, Richard Wiseman, we can see a little of the action from Rouen in this short AP Archive newsreel. There’s no sound but there are some nice shots of Jim, Graham Hill and the Winkelmann Brabhams. It’s a huge field, too, that rushes down to the first corner. Note, at the end, Jim asking Graham Hill to join him on the podium. A nice touch in the days when three-driver podia were rare. http://www.aparchive.com/metadata/view/bcffc7a67072bdb29e559f55e7e19ca4?subClipIn=00:00:00&subClipOut=00:01:56

A classic victory at home

July 10, 1965. RAC British GP, Silverstone  Jim Clark strolled onto the grid for the British GP wearing his fawn Sally Swart cardigan over his blue Dunlop overalls. As with all the drivers on all the cars that day, his name was big on the side of the car: “Clark”. In the red-upholstered seat of the 33B (now R11 again, with the four-valve Climax) sat his dark blue Bell Magnum with its crisp, white peak. For this race he chose tan kangaroo skin “Jim Clark” driving gloves (from a range that also included red and black). No-one in the Silverstone crowd denied they were about to see an absolute master again at work. It wouldn’t matter if the race was another Jim Clark walkover: that was as it should be. The home crowd accepted Clark for what he was – a quiet genius who was also a sheep farmer from the Borders. There were no complaints back then about the “lack of overtaking” or the “one or two place-changes” that would invariably characterise the race; in 1965, when the Beatles had yet to grow their hair long and Mini Coopers were genuinely mini – like the Mary Quant skirts – and the girls wore headscarves when they rode in open-topped MG Midgets, life was there to be touched, not consumed in ever-larger spoonfuls.

1965 Sil panJim qualified on the pole but only 0.2sec away from Graham Hill’s BRM. Richie Ginther was third in the much-improved Honda, fractionally quicker than Jackie Stewart in the other BRM. Richie was quickly away from the line in a nice demonstration of Honda power but Jim was soon in front.1965 British Grand Prix.1965 British Grand Prix.

And for much of the distance the race indeed belonged to Clark and the Team Lotus 33B. Graham Hill, in the BRM – absolutely a part of the BRM, with his graceful opposite-lock slides and his London Rowing Club Everoak helmet looking as though they were the two key fixtures around which Tony Rudd had designed the car – pushed Jim hardest; Grahamby three-quarter distance, however, the race seemed clearly to be another one for Clark. By lap 64, with 16 to run, Hill, in brake trouble, was some 35 seconds away in second place.Graham

Then Jim’s Climax V8 began to lose oil pressure – first at Stowe, momentarily, and then at Club and Woodcote. On the straights the needle would flicker back to centre. With every passing lap, the plunges grew worse; a blow-up – a rare blow-up in this final year for Coventry Climax in Formula One – seemed inevitable. What to do? What to do?

Jim had no help from the pit wall other than the usual updates about the diminishing gap. With no radio communication, Colin Chapman was oblivious to the problem. They could hear reports of what seemed to be a mis-fire but on the pit straight the Climax engine sounded strong. Jim needed to think it out for himself – think it out with all his brainpower and with the experience of his days as a part-time mechanic in the Jock McBain garage, and the time spent in many a track- and roadside moment, mending broken cars. Even in 1965 Jim could often be seen helping with wheel changes or plug checks or obscure mis-fire diagnoses at major races throughout the world.1965 Sil slide

And so he decided on a cure: he decided to kill the engine through all the fast corners, thus minimising the piston or main bearing damage when the surge was at its greatest and the lubricant at its thinnest.

He would think it through and then he would do it: he would approach Stowe in top, brake and change down to fourth – and then find neutral at probably 130 mph before switching off the engine. He would have no throttle to help him balance a slide; he would not be able to apply any power until the 33B was straight. Instead, Jim realized that he was going to have to attempt an even earlier-than-normal approach to the corner – an approach based around exactly the right moment and speed at which to rotate the car; and then, when it was more or less straight, he was going to have to declutch it back to life. All this without losing the race to a fast-approaching Graham Hill. Prior to the problem, Jim had been lapping comfortably in the mid-1min 33s/34s. Now, in switch-off mode, his lap times were up in the 1min 35/36s.

Stowe, Club, Woodcote…Jim focussed his de-clutching remedy on these three (long, fast) corners. At Copse and at Becketts he kept the engine running but again tried extending the straights as much as possible. Sometimes he fought oversteer (left); other is was understeer (below). Only the year before, when he had been giving Colin Chapman a ride around Silverstone in a Cortina-Lotus, had his boss been surprised by what he perceived to be Jim’s “very early” approach to the corners. Jim had replied that this was the way he always drove, regardless of whether he was in the F1 car, the Lotus 30, the Cortina or the F2 Lotus 35.

Now, in these excruciatingly long and dramatic closing minutes, he was turning in to all the corners even earlier. He could hear the Dunlop tyres scrubbing off speed in the bland silence of the cut engine, mid-Stowe – but only in the distance, as if he was vaguely aware of aircraft flying overhead. His mind, his concentration, was a tunnel. Feel the moment. Apply the steering lock…now…engage third…de-clutch…now.1965 British Grand Prix.

Pit signalThose pit signals narrated a story he didn’t want to read. Once before – at the ’62 International Trophy – Graham had passed him on the line at Silverstone. Literally on the line. (Bruce McLaren had also pipped him the same way in a Mini race – but that was another story.) Today it was different. Today it was Jim Clark versus the failing engine. It was the Lotus 33B, with all its grip and balance and driveability, suddenly racing within itself. And he was the man in the middle.

Three laps to go. Two. He had consistently managed to keep his lap times about two and a half seconds adrift of par. Once or twice the engine had sputtered before screaming back to life. He could see Graham in his mirrors as he reached top gear on Hangar Straight. Concentrate. One more time around Stowe. Once more around Club. The crowd, in his peripheral vision, was a waving sea of arms. Graham was with him now, catching him assuredly. Jim re-lit the Climax one more time. Third. Fourth. Abbey Curve. Fifth. Down to Woodcote. Fourth. Extend the straight. Delay the lateral load. Power on.

Chequered Flag. Last lap: 1min 36.8sec. Enough to win by 3.2 sec – a whole half-a-second more than the Clark-Hill margin in the 1964 British GP!Bruce takes the glory

Cooper’s Bruce McLaren, whose British GP was dogged by a problem with fourth gear, was almost lapped for the third time as Jim took the chequered flag.  He quipped later in his Autosport column: “At least I’m the only driver this year who can claim to have been in a photo finish with Jim Clark!”

In the style of the day, the newspapers would report on Sunday that “Jim Clark was forced to nurse his engine in the closing laps due to a mechancial problem”, with emphasis on Graham’s fighting finish. Nothing more. Easy reading. Something about which to talk – a little. No-one suggested – as is clear now – that not a single other driver in the history of our sport, with the possible exception of Stirling Moss – could have won that race, that day, in the way that Jim Clark won at Silverstone.

Afterwards, the 33B was pushed up onto a flat-top. Everyone clambered aboard – Colin, with his children, Sarah, Jane and Clive; Mike Spence, who had pushed John Surtees hard on the way to finishing an excellent fourth; all the Team Lotus mechanics; and Sally, of course. A Lotus Elan split the crowds ahead. The tractor chugged forwards. Jim, remarkably fresh, shivered as a late Saturday breeze feathered in from the north. He looked around for the cardigan that wasn’t there. Instantly, Jim Endruweit removed the (fawn) pullover he’d been wearing on the pit wall throughout the race. It was a perfect fit. Win No 25 (appropriately!)1965 Sil podiumJC - Sil 65 trophy

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