Jim Crawford

Full Name:
James Alan Crawford
Born:
13th February 1948
Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland
Died:
6th August 2002 (Aged 54)
Terre Verde, Florida (USA)
Nationality:
British
Most recent race (in database):
Biography

Jim Crawford was a mechanic-turned driver whose promising career suffered when he made his Formula 1 debut too early. He later achieved success at Indianapolis only to suffer injury against those harsh concrete walls. His subsequent races at the Brickyard were epitomised by the raw courage and the stubborn bravery that defined this Scot.

Early racing career and Grand Prix debut

His formative years were spent in British Formula Atlantic from 1973. He lost the 1974 John Player title to John Nicholson but was crowned Southern Organs Champion later that year.

Signed as a test driver for Lotus in 1975, Crawford was drafted in for that year’s British and Italian Grands Prix after Jacky Ickx quit. Rather than be a great opportunity, Lotus was at its lowest ebb and Crawford struggled to qualify 25th for both races. He finished 13th in Italy but was a full six laps behind.

Despite being runner-up in Atlantics once more, Crawford’s F1 experience hampered his search for a suitable ride in 1976. It took almost five years and the occasional outing in Formula 2, F3 and Atlantic before he started to re-establish himself in the 1980 British F1 Championship. His two year old Chevron B45 won the F2 class that year and even defeated all the F1 runners at a wet Oulton Park in September.

That led to a full season of F2 with a Plygrange Toleman TG280-Hart in 1981. But fourth in Silverstone’s opening race was one of only two points scores so he returned to the revamped British F1 series in 1982. His AMCO Racing Ensign N180B-Ford dominated against a poor field of as few as five cars on occasion.

Racing in America

His first foray to America was in the 1983 Can-Am series with a re-bodied version of the Ensign. Crawford then finished fourth on his Champ Car debut at Long Beach a year later with the renamed Theodore RK83-Cosworth.

He suffered a horrific qualifying shunt at Indy in 1987 – hitting the wall at 234mph – and was left with serious leg injuries that never fully healed. That he should lead the race a year later before finishing sixth, despite only walking with a cane and still in pain, was remarkable.

Fourth on the grid for the 1989 Indy 500, Crawford made his last start at the Brickyard in 1993 before retiring to fish near his adopted Florida home. His premature death after a short illness in 2002 prompted his last team owner John Menard to describe him as "the bravest man I ever knew".

Championship seasons

Season Name Starts Poles Podiums Wins Position Points
1993 PPG Indycar World Series
Budweiser King Racing
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1992 PPG Indycar World Series
King Racing
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1991 CART/PPG Indycar World Series
King Racing
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1990 CART/PPG Indycar World Series
Team Menard
2 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1989 CART/PPG Indycar World Series
King Racing
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1988 CART/PPG Indycar World Series
King Racing
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
26th 8
1987 CART/PPG Indycar World Series
Patrick Racing
0 (1) 0 0 0 0
1986 CART/PPG Indycar World Series
Team ASC
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1985 CART/PPG Indycar World Series
Wysard Motor Co
Canadian Tire Racing
BC Pace Racing
7 (1) 0 0 0
0% win rate
20th 16
1984 CART/PPG Indycar World Series
RK Racing
H&R Racing
3 0 0 0
0% win rate
27th 12
1984 Can-Am Challenge
RK Racing
3 0 3 3 0
1983 British Open Trophy
Ensign Racing
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1983 Can-Am Challenge
Fernley Racing
2 0 2 2 0
1982 World Endurance Championship 1 0 0 0 103rd 2
1982 British F1 Championship
Ensign Racing
4 3 3 3
75% win rate
1st 34
1981 European F2 Championship
Plygrange Racing
11 0 0 0
0% win rate
16th 4
1980 European F2 Championship
Plygrange Racing
2 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1980 Aurora AFX British F1 Championship
Plygrange Racing
11 0 2 1
10% win rate
4th 24
1978 European F3 Championship
Toyota Switzerland
Jim Crawford
4 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1976 ShellSport Group 8 European Championship
Peter Williams
Marshall Wingfield
3 (1) 0 0 0
0% win rate
24th 11
1975 F1 World Championship
John Player Team Lotus
2 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1975 European F2 Championship
SDC Racing
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1974 Southern Organs British FAtlantic Championship 1st -