F1: Jim Clark diary 1963

Having started the year preparing for his Indy 500 debut, Clark also had an F1 title to win, among other things. Paul Fearnley charts his extraordinary 1963 campaign

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The year of Profumo, great train robbers, ‘loveable mop tops’ – and the grassy knoll. In its midst, a quiet Scottish hill farmer delivered on all the promise that had been so smack-in-the-face obvious to lovers of motor racing in the three seasons past. In 1963, Jim Clark embarked on a run of success that would confirm him as the greatest racing driver in the world, perhaps the greatest we’d yet seen – or would ever see. These were indeed halcyon days.

No wonder. In this unforgettable year, Clark and Team Lotus first headed west to take on the Indianapolis 500; back in Europe and armed with Colin Chapman’s groundbreaking monocoque Type 25, they won the first of five British grands prix; then between regular (and endless) continental sorties – perhaps in Chapman’s Piper Commanche or Jack Brabham’s Cessna – they claimed that historic first world title. The scope of Clark’s season would be unrecognisable, impractical and plain impossible for contemporary F1 drivers. So for the record, here it is: the breakdown of the days, weeks and months that made Jimmy the most cherished talent of his era.