|Proof, if it were needed that Stirling Moss |
|The sleek Lotus 25|
The championship proper got underway at Zandvoort in May, Colin had already superseded the 24 with the 25, another one of his seminal achievements in race car design, it was the first Monocoque and had the driver almost lying down to reduce frontal area. It led for twelve laps before the gearbox packed up dropping Jim down to 9th after a long pit-stop. Graham Hill, in the very quick vee 8 BRM took the win.
|A drowsy Clark at the Nurburgring|
Clark put in probably the best sports-car drive of his career in the wet at the Nurburgring 1000kms. Against all expectation he propelled the tiny 100bhp Lotus 23 into a commanding lead over the all conquering works Ferrari’s, most of whom had 300+bhp, and kept it there. Even Phil Hill, reigning world champion and acknowledged sports-car master was powerless to catch him, but unbeknownst to Jim the exhaust manifold had cracked and he was getting a face full of carbon monoxide, after two hours of peerless driving, with fading brakes and half stupefied by the fumes even Clarks famously sharp reactions had been too dulled to catch the slide when the car jumped out of gear, his race came to an untimely and in the bushes of the hocheichen.
|The first of 25 at Spa in '62|
Again the gearbox prevented a finish at Monaco. Bruce McLaren Won the race but Jim had set a new lap record before retiring. Yet more mechanical difficulties blighted practice at Spa but cometh the hour, cometh the man. From the fifth row of the grid Clark stormed to his first championship Grand Prix win. He towered above all his misgivings about the circuit to prove that when the Lotus didn’t break down it was the car to have, and he was the man to beat. Those misgivings were far from diminished by the victory though, Trevor Taylor was lucky to escape with his life, let alone unhurt, after a fiery coming together with Willie Mairesse left the Ferrari driver In Hospital.
|Mr Chapman, a grateful world|
The little 23 Jim had impressed with at the Nurburgring was dusted off for Le Mans but the notoriously fickle French scrutineers had decided there was no way that it was going to run in their race and set about compiling a list of, at best spurious technical infringements. Colin and the boys duly set about rectifying everything from insufficient ground clearance to odd wheels before re-presenting the cars, only to be told they were now ‘’unsafe’’. The whole debacle had left a bitter taste for Chapman, he swore never to return to Le Mans (and never did). Interestingly, the engine they were using was a 997cc Ford Anglia motor with the then newly developed, but now legendry Lotus twin cam cylinder head.
|Gurney wins at Rouen (note the upright seating position|
when compared with the Lotus)
This year the French GP had moved to Rouen and was bookended by non-championship events at Rheims and solitude. Reliability Issues again conspired to smother Jims clearly blistering vein of form, he took seven and a half seconds off the old 2½ litre lap record at Rouen but retired in all three races. Dan Gurney won at Rheims to become the fourth winner in four Grands Prix. However, a fine performance coupled with a reliable car put the British Grand Prix beyond doubt, a Delighted Jimmy dominated at Aintree to stamp his authority as the seasons’ first double winner. Hill responded two weeks later with his second at a rain soaked Nurburgring. Jim had stalled on the line after forgetting to turn the fuel pumps on, but produced another inspired drive to climb back up to fourth and keep his championship alive
|Innes' Pale Green GTO|
Back to the UK for the TT race at Goodwood and another outing in the Zagato bodied, Essex Racing DB4 GT. Again, the car proved somewhat of a handful and despite his best efforts Jim was unable to keep pace with the Ferrari’s. This time it was the formidable 250 GTO’s (another candidate for best looking sports car ever) driven by Graham Hill, Innes Ireland, John Surtees and Mike Parkes. Already a lap down and on cold tyres Jim held a tight line through Madgwick to allow Surtees, the leader, through but got caught out by the notorious bump and collected big john on his way into the tyre wall. Innes Held off a hard charging Hill to take the win and Mike Parks completed an all GTO podium
Graham hill turned the screw at Monza with another win, his third of the season. Jim again had to pull up with gearbox trouble, he now needed to win both remaining races to have any chance of becoming world champion. Graham battled hard at the Glen but Clark kept him at bay to take the points he desperately needed. Everything now hung on the last championship GP at East London in South Africa.
|The great Graham Hill|