It’s fifty years and more since his tragic death and Jim Clark’s charismatic reputation still reigns supreme in the racing world.
Born into a Scottish Borders farming family, Jim is widely regarded as one of the greatest and naturally gifted motor racing drivers of all time, a national hero for Scotland and international sporting icon of the 1960’s.
Jim Clark’s tragic death at Hockenheim in 1968, at the age of 32, stunned the world and in terrible circumstances helped redefine the future of Formula 1. Thereafter there was a much greater emphasis on safety led by his close friend Sir Jackie Stewart, now Honorary President of the Jim Clark Trust.
And it was Sir Jackie who was the guest of honour at the re-opening of a £1.6m project to redevelop and expand the Jim Clark Room at Duns in the Scottish Borders.
The new museum allowed an expansion of exhibition space showcasing memorabilia and the trophy collection, two of Jim Clark’s race cars, new image galleries, film footage, interactive displays, technology and an education zone.
The new look facility, highlighting the remarkable achievements of Jim Clark, is expected to draw visitors from across the world. He is credited with being one of the greatest racing drivers of all time – a double Formula One World Champion (in 1963 and 1965), 25 grand prix races, the Indianapolis 500 and a host of other races in a variety of cars.
The Jim Clark museum offers a fascinating look at his many achievements. He was the first driver to do the double of winning the famous American race and also the Formula One World Championship.
In 1960 he also came third in the Le Mans 24 Hour Race. He was regarded as a totally natural driver, which is what made him so outstanding.
Jim Clark driving his Lotus-Cosworth 49 on his way to winning the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in July 1967.
Shona Sinclair, Curator at Live Borders, said: “Jim’s replica Indianapolis 500 trophy will be on display in the new museum alongside new items, film footage and photographs to showcase his inspirational racing career.
“A huge amount of work has gone in to researching and preparing the collection for display and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the volunteers who have assisted the Jim Clark Motorsport Museum team with this task. We can’t wait to start welcoming visitors.”
In conjunction with the opening of the new museum, The Jim Clark Trust is working on the development of a tourist trail around the area, taking in locations associated with Jim Clark, such as historic racing venues and his grave at Chirnside Church.
For more information www.jimclarktrust.com
For opening times www.liveborders.org.uk
Pictures: Top – Jim’s great, great nephew Callum, recreating the famous image of Jim in front of the Lotus Elan he used as his every day car locally.
Centre – Andrew Tulloch, Assistant Curator of the Jim Clark Motorsport Museum, shows Sir Jackie Stewart around the new museum and above in action on the Forumla 1 circuit.
Museum opening pictures – Tony Marsh/Live Borders.