How quick was Jim Clark?


I appreciated very much your December issue and Matthew Franey's analysis of the elements which make some drivers great and different from others; of course, Jimmy Clark was one of them.

One of the examples about Clark, apart from being a testimony of his ability to be quick right from the start, may remind us that accuracy, in motor racing history, may be sometimes difficult to attain.

In the article, Trevor Taylor reminds us of the day (French Grand Prix at Rouen in 1964) when Clark tried a vintage ERA 'Remus' and was on his first lap from a standing start from the pits "four seconds a lap faster than the car had been around Rouen, even in its day." But the memories of others seem more than a little at odds with this: Mr Mennem ( in the book The British Racing Hero by Derick Allsop) says that Clark "climbed in, drove one lap and, on the second lap broke the record for vintage cars" In MOTOR SPORT (August 1964) Denis Jenkinson told that "Clark went faster than anyone has even driven an ERA in only four laps". And in Supercar Classics (April 1988), Cyril Posthumus recalled that when Clark tried Pat Lindsay's ERA that day "his first flying lap was only 10 seconds faster than Lindsay's best" (note: these ten seconds seem a bit surprising considering the four seconds, from a standing stand, in Trevor Taylor's example).

It would he very interesting to know if other people, who were at Rouen on that day, can supply more details on those Jimmy Clark laps in a vintage ERA.

I am, yours, etc. L. Beaugad, Paris, France