Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner and four-time IndyCar Series champion Dario Franchitti grew up idolizing fellow countryman Jim Clark. Franchitti captured the 91st Indy 500 in 2007, becoming only the second Scottish-born driver to win the Indy 500, after Clark in 1965. In a video interview with “Road and Track,” Dario said that his admiration with Clark began in 1993 at a dinner that honored the anniversary of Clark’s passing in 1968. Franchitti lists Clark as one of his favorite drivers of all time, not just for the way he raced on the track but also for how he conducted himself off of the track. At the dinner, Dario was able to meet several of Clark’s old associates, mechanics and even competitors, and was quick to catch on to the impact that Clark, whom he had never had the chance to meet, had on other people’s lives.
There are similarities between the two. They both are from Scotland and began racing while they were young. Both won the Indy 500, among other major races, and both had their careers cut short due to crashes (Clark perished in a 1968 racing accident at the Hockenheimring in Germany). And both drove iconic Lotuses — Clark of course in the 1965 “500” and Franchitti in 2015, paying tribute to Clark’s a win a half-century later.
The impact that both Clark and Franchitti left on the racing world can still be seen. Clark is considered one of the best drivers ever while Franchitti, known for handling and smoothly driving whatever car he was given, has had his likeness engraved three times on the Borg-Warner Trophy. Franchitti no longer races on the famed oval at Indy but he’s still a fixture here in May, consulting for Chip Ganassi Racing and often seen hanging with old teammates Tony Kanaan and Scott Dixon.