Latest issue: Jim Clark's Lotus and lunch with Tommy Byrne
Deputy editor Joe Dunn looks at the February issue, featuring a lost Jim Clark Lotus and 'Lunch with' Tommy Byrne
Okay, so it’s not quite as dramatic as Indiana Jones uncovering a lost archaeological gem, but for racing fans it comes pretty close. The news, revealed in this month’s Motor Sport, that Jim Clark’s 1965 championship-winning Lotus has been unearthed after 40 years in hiding, has all the ingredients of a Hollywood blockbuster.
Driven to victory by Clark before being sold on, the car ended up in the possession of a mysterious private collector who kept it out of sight for four decades. Unlike many such collectors, this one resolved to keep the car in original, unrestored form. Reading his story it is hard to escape the conclusion that he saved the car for the nation and in doing so has managed to safeguard a priceless piece of motor racing history. As the collector says: “For anyone interested in Lotuses, I was being offered the Mona Lisa.”
Our feature contains fine photographs of the car as it was in 1965 as well as how it looks now. And you can see the real thing on our stand at this year’s Race Retro International Historic Motorsport Show, which takes place on February 24-26 at Stoneleigh Park (ticket details). It is worth the price of admission alone.
Motor Sport also delves into the history of one of racing’s biggest “what ifs” with an interview with Tommy Byrne, the Irish racing driver who, for a brief moment in the late 1970s and early 1980s, threatened to become one of Formula 1’s great assets. It was not to be, and Byrne – a combustible character by his own admission – saw his career go up in smoke as bad luck, wild partying and a refusal to play the game saw him banished to the outer reaches of racing, in Mexico.
His story is captivating, not only because of the tantalising question of how good he really was – many observers at the time placed him in the same bracket as Ayrton Senna – but also because it reveals a very human drama: a boy from Dundalk, with no money and little formal training but talent in spades, bludgeoned his way into the upper echelons of motor sport and came within a whisker of making it to the big time. Byrne, now in his 50s, looks back on that time with admirable frankness.
Elsewhere in the issue we take the wheel of a World Rallycross supercar as the sport celebrates its 50th anniversary and offer our winter guide to race fans by counting down the top 30 events you can watch in 2017. We also track down Caitlyn Jenner, the American athlete, TV star and tabloid staple, who talks candidly about her time as a racing driver in the 1980s.
All this plus the usual columns from Nigel Roebuck, Mark Hughes and Simon Arron in the orginal motor racing magazine, on sale now.