Everyone has their favorite iconic Indianapolis 500 car. For some, it might be Ray Harroun’s Marmon “Wasp” or the STP turbines. For others, it might be a Novi-powered roadster of Duke Nalon or Johnny Rutherford’s famous “Yellow Submarine” 1980 Pennzoil Chaparral.
For me, the list starts and ends with the Type 38 Lotus that Jim Clark drove to Victory Lane in 1965 at Indy. It’s a gorgeous race car, so elegant in its simplicity. Lithe, no wings, rear engine, British Racing Green paint with the yellow stripe and a beautiful labyrinth of yellow exhaust pipes snaking from the rear of the Ford V8. Perfection.
That car begged to be restored and run, and 45 years after Clark’s victory, Lotus completed that magic task this year so Sir Jackie Stewart – a Scottish racing legend like the late, great Clark – could drive the car up the hill in July at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in England.
Another Scottish racing great, reigning Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti, fulfilled a dream this week by driving the Type 38 Lotus around the IMS oval for a feature story and pictorial to be published in a Road & Track magazine series focusing on the 100th anniversary of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” next year.
To say that Dario is fond of Clark is a gross understatement. He reveres Gentleman Jimmy and is an avid collector of Clark memorabilia, so you can only imagine the thrill Dario felt at speed in the cockpit of one of the greatest racing cars ever wheeled by that one of the greatest racing drivers of all time.
Goosebumps, indeed. You might feel the same way after watching the video above. I know I did.