Jim Clark. Portrait of a Great Driver
extract from chapter by Walter Hayes
courtesy of Graham Gauld. http://grahamgauld.com
Graham Gauld on Walter Hayes, extracts from pages 143-144:
A brilliant and successful man at his craft, Hayes has become an internationally known figure in motor racing, a man as respected for his judgement as his cars are respected for their performance. It was he who pushed forward the idea that Ford should be committed to racing and rallying and in doing so he was breaking with the Ford past, so to speak. He felt in the early 60s that the time was right to foster the sport and for Ford to do themselves what others had been doing anyway with their engines.
When the decision was taken to go into motor racing money, was diverted to the most likely sources of success – to Colin Chapman at Lotus and to Mike Costin and Keith Duckworth at Cosworth, and later to Alan Mann. The outcome was the decision by Ford to build a Grand Prix engine, something which would have been unthinkable to the late Henry Ford and probably unimaginable to the board of Ford Motor Company before Walter Hayes came along. But Hayes stuck his neck out even further and gambled, literally, his own reputation as well as his job on this giant commitment – and it has paid off. Today, Ford sales around the world are leaping ahead and their competition successes have played a big part in making the name mean something different.
Walter Hayes on Jim Clark, extracts from pages 146-153:
It was probably late in 1962 that I first came into contact with Jim Clark when the Cortina was coming along and we were about to think intelligently about going further into the competition business. I had known Colin Chapman for a good many years and indeed when I used to edit the Sunday Dispatch and he had his small garage up in Hornsey, I had hired him as motoring correspondent. He was an unknown sort of boy at that time, but obviously a bright up-and-comer.
When we decided to come into closer touch with the sport we decided that one of the things we would do would be to go into motor racing with Lotus, and so I had a part to play in bringing Lotus and Ford together with things like the Lotus Cortina. When we decided to do a proper racing programme it seemed natural we should talk about drivers and then of course came the first meeting I had with Jim Clark. Even then I had the feeling there were a number of people who didn’t know too much about him. He had a comparatively brief time at the absolute top and from then on we had a friendly-cum-business-cum-advisory sort of relationship which lasted right up to the very last minute. The arrangement we always had was that we had a contract with Colin Chapman and a separate contract with Jim Clark because there were a number of things we wanted him to do for us which had nothing to do with Lotus. He did a lot of testing and the occasional rally.
When I first met Jimmy he found it extremely difficult to speak in public and he was exceptionally shy about it. In the last years of his life he was really very good, not as good as Graham Hill but good all the same. The great and extraordinary thing about him was this sincerity which seemed to come over. He could say things and people knew he was telling the truth, because he was so patently sincere in what he was saying. You could never get him to say anything he didn’t really believe. There was no question of this, and one would have been insane to try to dictate what he said, so although he used to ask us what he should say about the car we used to tell him to say what he liked about it. He was endlessly willing to drive people around circuits, talk about cars and discuss cars and he was always very interested. He really was a tremendous ambassador for us overseas.
He was terribly un-businesslike. To my knowledge September had arrived one year not so long ago and there was still no signed contracts with anyone. Where we were concerned we would tell him what we would like him to do and he would tell us what he wouldn’t do, and we would then agree how much we thought we ought to pay him. Then we would say ‘fine’ and it was never referred to again, never mentioned. I used to have in the early days a slight suspicion that he wouldn’t really argue for money and he never ever asked us for more than we offered. One became very protective and felt one had to take care of this young man because he didn’t know how to ask for more. There was one occasion when he rang me up and asked me if I could meet him in London, and he said that he had never really thought about money – and this I swear was after he was World Champion – but now he was in a difficult situation for he was getting into the bigger time and could I advise him as to how much he should ask people? He emphasised it had to be on a reasonable basis because he didn’t want to be greedy and yet at the same time he didn’t want to let the other drivers down. I don’t believe he ever had the first idea of his market value until the last two years of his life. Now I know this isn’t the popular belief, and it isn’t what people say, but the first year Clark drove for us we paid him £1500. We paid him this because I didn’t know any better and he didn’t know any better. When I said to him halfway through the season ‘I don’t think it’s enough’, he replied ‘why not?’
He was also a very honest racing man and I have never told the story before – to my mind it is an extraordinary Jim Clark story. We signed Graham and Jimmy for the Lotus for team in 1967 because we particularly wanted to have two good drivers running in the team together. I told Jimmy we were thinking of hiring Graham and asked if it would upset him in any way. He replied that it would not, for he and Graham were old friends.
The press was full of the stories of who was the number one and who was the number two in the team, but this was something we never discussed and never felt that it needed discussion. I don’t think there was any question but that they should both drive as individuals, and if need be should be allowed to race against each other. However, there was one exception during the season and that was the American Grand Prix at Watkins Glen. The night before the race Jimmy, Colin, Graham and I gathered in Graham’s bedroom and I said that I felt this was a race vitally important to all of us and, though I hadn’t said it before, I would like to run it under a little discipline. I asked them how they would like to run the race and Colin said we could toss a coin to see who would come first and who would come second – we were very confident. Both agreed they didn’t mind. We tossed a coin, Graham called, Graham won and it was decided that Graham would be first and Jimmy would be second. I again asked if anyone was worried about this and they said ‘no’. If the decision had to be made this is how they would finish. Then in the race, when Graham was leading Jimmy a few laps from the end, he lost a gear and it looked as if he was in real trouble for he dropped right back. Jimmy came past the pits and put both hands up in the air shrugging his shoulders, knowing he had taken the lead and wondering what should he do. Chapman said ‘what should we do?’ and I said we had no alternative. So we put out the ‘Go’ and waved our fists at him and he went. Then Graham, though he had apparently lost a gear, suddenly began to motor very fast and catch up again, but we had no time then to start playing games, so the race in fact finished the opposite way to what we had planned.
The first thing which Jimmy did when he got out of the motor car was to rush back to Graham and say, ‘they told me to and I hope you don’t mind.’ Graham said, ‘I know what happened, mate, everything is fine.’ It is quite extraordinary that the first thing Jimmy should do is go back to Graham and say he was driving under instruction. This, incidentally, is the only time the question of priorities ever came up, for it was the one race where we had reached the high peak of confidence where we knew we were going to have a one-two because the cars and engines were going so well.