On April 7 1968, in an accident that was never fully explained, Jim Clark died during the Formula 2 Deutschland Trophäe race at Hockenheim.
On April 7 1968, in an accident that was never fully explained, Jim Clark died during the Formula 2 Deutschland Trophäe race at Hockenheim. Although the circuit has held the German Grand Prix since 1977, alternating with the Nürburgring in recent years, it is still Clark’s death for which it is best known. The circuit originally stretched from the edge of Hockenheim town to the Ost Kurve. When the Autobahn was built in 1966, the circuit was reduced in length and redesigned by John Hugenholtz, who introduced a tight stadium section around the pits. Hockenheim first held the Grand Prix in 1970 while the Nurburgring was being modernised. Chicanes were built on the two main flat-out sections for that race and a third added at the demanding Ost Kurve after Patrick Depailler was killed while testing in 1980. Visibility was appalling in the wet due to the dense woodland and that was a contributing factor to the accident that ended Didier Pironi’s career in 1982. Hockenheim’s lap was among Formula 1’s longest and most unique, but a new section linking the first and third chicanes and bypassing the Ost Kurve was built for the 2002 Grand Prix. As a result, drivers lost the full-throttle blast through the forests that had given Hockenheim its character. However, the Hermann Tilke-designed new layout has prompted plenty of good racing with the wide, new hairpin a prime overtaking opportunity. The cost of hosting the Grand Prix has meant that Hockenheim has shared the race with the Nurburgring in recent years.