It wasn’t quite as we’ve known it…but it was glorious nonetheless. Here are some of my favourite cars and people, as seen on a golden Friday in Autumn.
Nurburgring, 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.
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.
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
Courtesy of AP, here are the Movietone News race highlights that hit the cinemas within a few days of Jim’s momentous win:
A big thankyou to AP and their superb new archive for this short colour Movietone film of the 1962 British GP at Aintree. The race resulted in a resounding win for Jim Clark and the Lotus 25-Climax but until now our feel for the occasion – well, mine, at least – has been limited to classic photographs – particularly those of Jim shaving the grass through Melling Crossing and of those famous shots taken from behind the grid as the flag dropped. Now the last British GP to be staged at the Liverpool circuit comes to life as never before. Image above: LAT Photographic
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.
Zandvoort, 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
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…”
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.