McNish backs new Jim Clark museum plans

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Allan McNish, a triple Le Mans 24 Hour race winner, has become the latest Scottish motorsport personality to support plans for a new Jim Clark museum in Duns.

The Jim Clark Trust has announced the 2013 FIA World Endurance champion, ex-Formula One driver and proud Scot as its latest patron to support plans to have the museum in place by 2018.

Clive Chapman, Ian Calder, Doug Niven, Allan McNish with historic trophies from 1965 and The Lotus Type 38 winner of The Indianapolis 500. Picture: Malcolm Griffiths

Clive Chapman, Ian Calder, Doug Niven, Allan McNish with historic trophies from 1965 and The Lotus Type 38 winner of The Indianapolis 500. Picture: Malcolm Griffiths

The Dumfries-born driver was confirmed as a patron at the Autosport International Show 2015, celebrating 50 years since Jim Clark won his second F1 World Championship and famous Indianapolis 500 victory in 1965.

To mark the occasion The Jim Clark Trust reunited historic trophies with Classic Team Lotus winning cars.

At the same time plans were announced for Classic Team Lotus to visit Duns on May 16 and 17 for a Jim Clark Weekend to celebrate the 50th anniversary with Club Lotus. It will feature classic racing cars, touring cars and modern sports cars.

McNish joins a number of other high-profile supporters for a new Jim Clark museum in Duns. Sir Jackie Stewart is honorary president and other patrons include Clive Chapman, Dario Franchitti, David Coulthard and Lord March.

“I am very proud to be a patron of The Jim Clark Trust. I, like many other Scottish racing drivers, have looked to follow in his footsteps,” said McNish.

“He was a massive inspiration and as I sit composing a few words, I am actually looking at a painting of Jim, which is hanging in my office, as he rounds the Loews hairpin, which was called the Railway Station hairpin corner at that time in Monaco – a beautiful sight – and he still inspires to this day.

“I think it is only fitting that there is a new museum showing the man that literally drove Scottish motorsport into the history books. I hope, and am sure that with the dedication of all the people involved, we make this a reality in the near future.”

Doug Niven, the trust’s family trustee and cousin of Jim Clark, said: “We are absolutely delighted that Allan has joined us a patron and we would like to thank him for his support.

“He is much admired and respected after a hugely successful career. It is also very fitting as president of the Scottish Motor Racing Club that Allan should lend his support to the trust and plans for a new museum – with the two previous presidents being Sir Jackie and Jim Clark.

“As a small organisation we are very fortunate to have Allan on board and welcome interest from anyone inspired by Jim to get in touch and help support our future plans.”

Clive Chapman, Team Principle of Classic Team Lotus and Patron, added: “It is wonderful that the Jim Clark Trust has attracted such excellent support from so many prominent figures in motorsport and no doubt Allan McNish will be able to make a very significant contribution to the momentum building up around exciting developments for a new museum.

“The Chapman family looks forward to working together with Allan, fellow patrons and the trust to remember and celebrate the spirit of Jim Clark for future generations.”

Fifty years ago in 1965 Jim Clark enjoyed his most successful year ever with six consecutive wins helping to secure his second F1 World Championship. He became the first non-American in a generation to win the Indianapolis 500, effectively leading from start to finish.

He also won the F2 World Championship and Tasman Series in Australia. All four stunning historic cars were on display at Autosport International with Classic Team Lotus.

Winning both the F1 and the Indy 500 titles in the same year has never been repeated – and in a different era catapulted Clark to superstar status in contrast to his farming roots in the Scottish Borders.

From 1960 to 1968 Clark started in 72 Grand Prix, claiming 33 pole positions and 25 victories, winning two world championships in 1963 and 1965.

Plans for a new museum are awaiting final confirmation of a commitment from Scottish Borders Council in mid-February of £540,000 of capital funding investment to upgrade the existing small museum in Duns.

The current museum is run by the council in partnership with The Jim Clark Trust and contains more than 100 historic trophies. Plans for a new museum by 2018 include expanding the current collection with new memorabilia to inspire future generations with a celebration of Jim Clark’s incredible career and impact on motorsport around the world with trophies, pictures, film footage and some of the cars in which he raced.

The Classic Team Lotus and Club Lotus weekend in May is a repeat of the successful event first held in 2013 to celebrate Clark’s first world title in 1963 and attracted thousands of visitors. with classic and modern sports cars parading through Duns.

Clark is widely regarded as one of the greatest and most naturally gifted motor racing drivers of all time, a national hero and international icon still much admired around the world to this day. He was a farmer at heart, revered not just for his ability in all types of motorsport, but also for his sportsmanship and modesty.

Born on March 4, 1936, in Fife, Clark was a young boy when his family moved to Edington Mains Farm near Duns. He died tragically during an F2 race at Hockenheim, Germany on April 1968.