50TH Anniversary of “Flying Scot’s” Indianapolis Win, Pro-Am Field Grows
The Sportscar Vintage Racing Association (SVRA) today announced it will honor one of auto racing’s all-time greatest champions with a display of his Indianapolis 500 cars at its June 11-14 Brickyard Invitational at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS). Jimmy Clark, nicknamed by fans and press “The Flying Scot,” will be honored for his many accomplishments in the 50th anniversary year of his 1965 Indianapolis 500 triumph.
Regarded by many of his generation as the greatest race driver that ever lived the Hall of Famer and Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) racked up an impressive list of achievements to earn such recognition. His Indianapolis career alone would have made him a legend but the two-time Formula 1 World Champion (1963 & ’65) was one of those versatile drivers who not only won but dominated in numerous branches of the sport from Formula One to Indy cars to saloon cars, stock cars and sports cars. He tackled NASCAR once and scored a third-place overall very early in his career at Le Mans in a private entry Aston-Martin behind two factory-backed Ferraris.
In just five Indianapolis 500s Clark not only won once but also came home second twice, both in controversial finishes that bench racers continue to debate today. He could easily have been a multiple winner. Victory was within sight in 1964 when tire chunking triggered suspension failure on his pole-winning car. On the Formula One front Clark established the all-time record for race victories when he won his final Grand Prix outing at South Africa in 1968. While that record has been surpassed by several drivers Clark’s mark was set in just seven full seasons during an era that conducted about half as many events as are presented today. He still ranks at the top in winning percentage at nearly 35 percent. His record of F1 pole positions (33) even now ranks fifth in the history books.
“We just could not come to IMS on the 50th Anniversary of Jim Clark’s victory and not do justice to this great champion,” said SVRA President & CEO Tony Parella. “I also thought it appropriate to announce this decision to remember him on April 7, the anniversary of the very sad day of his passing.”
For Parella and all of SVRA a connection to Jim Clark holds a special and personal meaning. Sally Swart, the former Sally Stokes, who was Clark’s close companion during his most triumphant years from 1963 through ’65, is the wife of West Coast SVRA executive Ed Swart.
“I have nothing but golden memories of Jimmy,” says Sally. “His mastery in the car made him a true artist. I am so pleased Tony and the SVRA have chosen to honor Jimmy in this way.”
While the tribute to Clark has yet to be fully defined it will involve an array of his Indianapolis 500 cars, all Lotus, including the entry he won Rookie-of-the-Year with in 1963, his ’65 winner and the Lotus Turbine he took his very last laps around the Brickyard in just before his fatal accident weeks later in Germany on April 7, 1968.
The SVRA today also announced two more additions to its second annual “Indy Legends” Charity Pro-Am field that has now grown to 12 drivers. Indianapolis 500 veterans John Martin and Scott Harrington, who competed last year, have filed entries.
Harrington began his motorsports career on two wheels earning success in both AMA Motocross and Supercross. He transitioned to four wheels racing in Formula Atlantic and SCCA Can-Am, where he won the 1992 series championship. He earned a starting spot in the 1996 Indianapolis 500 and later won the Rookie-of-the-Year award for the series in 1999, his first year running the full season.
John Martin is a five-time starter in the Greatest Spectacle in Racing but also boasts outstanding credentials in road race competition. Martin, who was featured last year on the cover of Vintage Motorsport magazine, launched his career in sports car racing. An excellent mechanic he converted his 1963 Corvette Sting Ray into an A-Production race car and entered Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) competition. He was national champion in 1964 and went professional in 1966. He drove an AMC Javelin in the classic days of Trans-Am and tackled the Indianapolis 500 in 1972. He is one of those amazing competitors who wore several hats as driver, mechanic, engineer and owner.
Like last year, the SVRA, America’s premier vintage racing organization, is presenting the “Indy Legends” Charity Pro-Am as a return to competition for veterans of the Indianapolis 500. The event is a 40-minute race of American muscle cars on the Speedway’s 2.43-mile Grand Prix road course on Saturday, June 13. The SVRA expects to attract a field of 33 Indianapolis 500 veterans. All the veterans will be in 1963 to 1972 vintage Corvettes, Camaros and Mustangs of “Group 6,” with an engine displacement limit of 355 cubic inches. Professionals will be paired with amateur drivers, splitting stints at the wheel at their discretion.
The Indy Legends Pro-Am is the crowning event of the Brickyard Invitational but there is literally a festival of other activities. Like last year, the storied 2.5-mile oval will be utilized with exhibition runs by a wide variety of cars including several of the crowd-favorite 1950’s Indianapolis 500 “roadsters.” The 2015 weekend not only promises a huge gathering of race cars but also some of the finest collector cars. Motostalgia, with offices in Austin, Mexico City and Monaco will stage a June 12 auction of select automobiles from around the world. The Brickyard Invitational will also expand out onto the world-famous infield IMS golf course with car corrals for organizations and clubs united by special marques and vintages.
The SVRA has 11 groups of race cars spanning 100 years of vintage machines and all will be at IMS. The array of entries include select pre-war machines, classic sports cars, Formula One and Le Mans prototypes as current as 2009. Race fans can enjoy every minute of the action with overnight camping inside IMS. Pro-Am cars and drivers will also participate in a Fan Walk through the starting grid prior to the opening ceremonies allowing fans to see the cars up close, take photos and chat with the drivers. All entry fees will be donated to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum Foundation.
Brickyard Invitational ticket information: Fans can order Brickyard Vintage Racing Invitational tickets for all or any one of the four days of the event online through the Speedway or by calling 800-822-INDY or 317-492-6700 between 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET) Monday through Friday. Fans can also visit the ticket office at the IMS Administration Building at 4790 West 16th Street between 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET) Monday through Friday. Tickets for groups of 20 or more also are available. Contact the IMS Group Sales Department at (866) 221-8775 for more information. Children 12 and under are admitted free each day when accompanied by an adult. Tent camping passes in the IMS infield start at $30 and are available all four days.