Today (March 4) marks what would’ve been Jim Clark’s 80th birthday. The quietly spoken, yet fiercely competitive Scottish sheep farmer is still widely regarded as one of the greatest Grand Prix drivers of all time.
At the time of his death, aged just 32 in a Formula 2 race at Hockenheim in Germany in 1968, he’d taken a record 25 F1 wins, 33 pole positions and two Drivers’ titles – all for his beloved Lotus.
The double champion was as versatile as he was quick, famously winning the British Saloon Car title in a Lotus Cortina in 1964 and, a year later, becoming the first driver to win the Indianapolis 500 in a rear-engined car. In fact, he’s still the only man to win the F1 title and the Indy 500 in the same season.
During Clark’s heyday in the ’60s, drivers didn’t restrict themselves to pedalling F1 cars in World Championship Grands Prix. They would also take in plenty of non-championship races, many of them in Britain. Back then, fans didn’t have to rely on a once-a-year appearance by their heroes to get their fix.
And Goodwood, of course, was one of the circuits that hosted many of those non-championship F1 contests. This high-quality British Pathé film shows Clark in action during the News of the World Trophy Race in March 1964.
The reigning World Champion qualified his Lotus 25-Climax second on the grid to Jack Brabham’s Brabham BT7-Climax, 0.2s adrift of the Australian’s 1m21.0s benchmark. Fellow former champion Graham Hill completed the three-car front row, his BRM P261 another 0.2s behind Clark.
The 42-lap race for the 1.5-litre F1 thoroughbreds looked like being a walkover for Hill, until his BRM’s rotor arm failed with two laps to go. There to pick up the pieces was Clark, who took the chequered flag ahead of Lotus team-mate Peter Arundell. Look out for current Goodwood patron Lord March’s grandfather on the podium as Clark received the plaudits.