One of the greatest drivers of all time, legendary Jim Clark, has won his first pole position in Formula 1 on this day 55 years ago in the Lotus 25 of the ingenious Colin Chapman.
The Lotus 25 weighed 450kg and had a centrally positioned 1.5-litre V8 Climax engine with around 200 hp, but what we remember about this car is its construction style – it was the first F1 car with chassis and engine forming one structure – engine and gearbox were integral parts of the chassis and forming its spine, which increases strength and reduces weight. We also see the conceptual legacy of this car in today’s Formula 1 cars.
Clark won his first pole position (from total of 33 in his career), four tenths in front of King of Monaco, Graham Hill in BRM (five wins in Monaco, only Senna has one more).
The race was won by Bruce McLaren in Cooper Climax while Clark retired in lap 55 out of 100 due to clutch problems. However, he has already achieved his first career win (out of a total of 25) in the next race in Belgium.
Although he never celebrated in Monaco, Clark was starting from the best starting position four times in this legendary race (1962, 1963, 1964, 1966), and in 1965 he did not perform because he wanted to race at 500 miles of Indianapolis. That year he became the first driver in history who won the Indy 500 and the Monaco while his victory at Indy 500 in Lotus 38 was the first win in the car race with a centrally mounted engine.
Hill also won Indy 500 in 1966. after winning the Monaco GP in 1963, 1964 and 1965 (and latter also in 1968 and 1969).
Clark won two World Champion titles, both in Lotus (1963 and 1965), and the second title he took in an incredible style – from the first seven races he won everything except Monaco where he did not participate, but won the Indy 500.
Unfortunately, he died too early, with only 32 years, in the almost insignificant race of Formula 2 at Hockenheim.
JIM CLARK, LOTUS 25 ONBOARD (1963.)