1960 Dutch GP: Jim Clark Arrives.

Enter: Jim Clark, World Champion.

Jim Clark, by the time he entered the Formula 1 arena, was already a Lotus man.  Before the weekend of June 6, 1960, Clark was racing for Lotus in the junior formulae.  The self-effacing son of a Farmer got his big break for the 1960 Dutch GP.  I feel the need to digress.  I will try and make it brief: As is my practice with project GPevolved, I generally try to stay agnostic of facts and events which occurred after the race that I am writing about (that being said, the full length biography embedded below completely violates what I just said).  This approach has ups and downs.  On the one hand, I get to share some hint of the excitement by not knowing everything that is about to occur.  On the other hand, when a World Champion first shows up on the scene, I won’t always know much about them or what they will be about to accomplish – outside of his reputation.  I suppose this is an admission of guilt, on my part.  I am, and will always be, an outsider to the sport.  So, just like the man vs. food guy: I’m no professional writer, I’m just a regular guy with a serious passion for F1.

What I can convey, at this point, is that Jim Clark came from a humble background.  Before his career began, like many young drivers, he was out to prove to his parents that he was pursuing a worthy (and gainful) endeavor.   Jim Clark immediately hit it off with Colin Chapman, the Lotus boss.  In a sense, a vague comparison can be made to Vettel. Like Vettel, Clark’s greatness will most certainly involve his synergy with the team in addition to his sheer talent.  So, I will leave it at that for now.  For the rest, you’ll have to check back and see how his career develops over the coming seasons.

Honestly though, if I were you, I’d probably just check a few minutes of the embedded BBC documentary, rather than wait for this random blog to write it up:

1960 Dutch Grand Prix at Zanvoort.

To be fair, the ’60 Zanvoort GP was not the most epic of races.  As I mentioned in my last post, certain odd things are inherent to motorsport, generally.  One is contract disputes.  Contract disputes, for better or worse, even spanned over the golden eras of this sport.  In fact, I would contend that there have been so many massive contract disputes, the this particular one barely qualifies as a footnote.  In any event, there was squabbling over prize money and a bunch of teams withdrew.  Stirling Moss, Jack Brabham, Innes Ireland, Graham Hill and other notable drivers remained.  So, the race went on with a relatively solid competitive field.

When Jack Brabham pulled up to the middle of the three-abreast grid, he was sandwiched between Lotus 18’s which had qualified first and third.  The field quickly spread.  Jack Brabham had taken the lead and was followed by Moss and Ireland.  Brabham went on to win the race.  American Dan Gurney had an unfortunate spin.  A spectator was in a prohibited area and was killed when Gurney rotated off the track.  Although race commentary did not readily present itself, I did find a home-movie filmed at the race:

The next grand prix, is at Spa-Francorchamps.  That race composes once of the darkest weekends in all of F1 history.  In a sense, the anonymous footage [above] represents a certain “final innocence” before the tragedy that would unfold at the following race.

Question.

Just before this post was written, Vettel clinched his fourth consecutive World Championship.  Can Vettel be compared against yesterday’s greats, such as Ascari, Fangio, and Moss?  If you can even compare them, does he belong in their company?

Driver’s Championship

  • Bruce McLaren – 14
  • Stirling Moss – 11
  • Jack Brabham – 8

Constructor’s Championship

  • Cooper-Climax – 22
  • Lotus-Climax – 15
  • Scuderia Ferrari – 12

Sources.

  • Eoin Young, McLaren Memories: A Biography of Bruce McLaren, 88-90 (Haynes 2005).
  • Alen Henry, The Top 100 F1 Drivers of All Time, 197-198 (Penguin 2008).
  • Wikipedia: 1960 Dutch GP
  • GrandPrix.com, 1960 Dutch GP Race Report