Jim Clark vs Nigel Mansell

Champion of Champions

Champion of Champions: Jim Clark vs Nigel Mansell

These two British champions may have raced decades apart but there are some interesting similarities between them.

Both clinched champions with technical superior cars – Clark using the Lotus 25 to dominate the 1963 championship and the 33 to claim the 1965 crown. Likewise Mansell wielded the Williams FW14B to devastating effect in 1992.

And it’s possible to argue that car problems were a significant reason why both drivers they didn’t win more races and championships.

For several years mechanical failures were the only thing that kept Clark off the podium. A critical tyre failure cost Mansell the 1986 crown and more bad luck followed on several occasions in 1987.

So how are we to separate these two champions?

Clark lost his life in 1968 at the age of 32. What more could he have achieved had he raced on into his forties, as Mansell did?

It’s down to you to decide which of these drivers should go through to the next round of the Champion of Champions. Vote for which you think was best below and explain who you voted for and why in the comments.

Jim Clark Nigel Mansell
Jim Clark, Indianapolis, 1967 Nigel Mansell, Williams, 1992
Titles 1963, 1965 1992
Second in title year/s Graham Hill, Graham Hill Riccardo Patrese
Teams Lotus Lotus, Williams, Ferrari, McLaren
Notable team mates Trevor Taylor, Mike Spence, Graham Hill Nelson Piquet, Riccardo Patrese, Alain Prost
Starts 72 187
Wins 25 (34.72%) 31 (16.58%)
Poles 33 (45.83%) 32 (17.11%)
Modern points per start1 11.65 8.07
% car failures2 29.17 32.62
Modern points per finish3 16.45 11.98
Notes An oil leak in the final race of 1962 cost him his first title Runner-up in 1986 and 1987, the latter after back-breaking crash
Finished on the podium in every race where his car didn’t break down over the next three seasons Returned to Williams in 1991, taking title in 1992
Killed in a Formula Two race during the 1968 season having won the first race of the year Quit for good after two-race comeback for McLaren in 1995
Bio Jim Clark Nigel Mansell

1 How many points they scored in their career, adjusted to the 2010 points system, divided by the number of races they started
2 The percentage of races in which they were not classified due to a mechanical failure
3 How many points they scored in their career, adjusted to the 2010 points system, divided by the number of starts in which they did not suffer a race-ending mechanical failure

Round one

Which was the better world champion driver?

  • Jim Clark (85%)
  • Nigel Mansell (15%)

Total Voters: 604

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Images ?? Ford (Clark), Williams/Sutton (Mansell)

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119 comments on Jim Clark vs Nigel Mansell

  1. Eggry (@eggry) said on 18th January 2011, 16:27

    Sorry, Nigel.

  2. Sush Meerkat said on 18th January 2011, 19:14

    This is a difficult one for me (if I could vote, I really need to register), while the records state Clark was “the best” of an era, I can’t really have an opinion of him because I’ve never seen him race. I can look at records and stats all day long but I wouldn’t see his racecraft from those.

    Mansell I have seen race, he was a monster with no fear, isn’t there a rumour he drove with a broken back once?, as such I’d have to vote for “Our Nige” as the brits say or “El Lione” as the Italian’s called him when he raced for Ferrari.

    Was Clark the best driver out of a pack of mules?, or was he truely gifted, and was Mansell a monster machine breaker and tyre ruiner in an era of some of the greatest and nastiest rivalries?

  3. Achille Varzi said on 18th January 2011, 20:33

    I have read some of the posts in this Clark vs Mansell and it looks like a landslide for Clark.
    And of course it could not be different, I do not think any driver ever can safely be considered better than Clark.
    The overwhelming superiority is also a result of Mansell sneaking through the last round due to nationalistic sympathy vs the much more gifted and successful Piquet.

  4. macca77 said on 18th January 2011, 20:42

    Here is my list of winners according to the draws:

    Fernando Alonso vs Michael Schumacher -> Michael Schumacher
    Jim Clark vs Nigel Mansell -> Jim Clark
    Mika Hakkinen vs Alain Prost -> Alain Prost
    Alberto Ascari vs Niki Lauda -> Niki Lauda
    Emerson Fittipaldi vs Juan Manuel Fangio -> Juan Manuel Fangio
    Kimi Räikkönen vs Jackie Stewart -> Jackie Stewart
    Graham Hill vs Ayrton Senna -> Ayrton Senna
    Lewis Hamilton vs Jack Brabham -> Jack Brabham

    Michael Schumacher vs Jim Clark -> Michael Schumacher
    Alain Prost vs Niki Lauda -> Alain Prost
    Juan Manuel Fangio vs Jackie Stewart -> Juan Manuel Fangio
    Ayrton Senna vs Jack Brabham -> Ayrton Senna

    Michael Schumacher vs Alain Prost -> Michael Schumacher
    Juan Manuel Fangio vs Ayrton Senna -> Ayrton Senna

    Michael Schumacher vs Ayrton Senna -> Michael Schumacher

    But I know is gonna be Senna the winner, Schumi is not gonna die racing so he will never beat Senna.

    • Marco said on 18th January 2011, 21:33

      Lauda better then Ascari? Don t know what the others say, but for me CLEARLY not…

    • melkurion (@melkurion) said on 19th January 2011, 11:01

      I’m not so sure Lauda will beat ascari… But stragely I would think Ascari has a better chance of beating Prost then Lauda…just a feeling.

      As for Schumacher vs Clark, I am, and always have been a huge Schumacherfan, but I’ll vote Clark on that one…

  5. mrgrieves (@mrgrieves) said on 18th January 2011, 21:40

    Clark wins this hands down. I loved how electric Nigel was but Clark was in my eyes the best there ever was. To be hounest i havent seen that much of him in action but the storys and stats add up to the greatest ever!

  6. clarkfan1 (@) said on 18th January 2011, 23:12

    As a Clark fan from the ‘60’s, it is great to see the comments being generated from this exercise. I always felt that so many newer F1 fans never recognized what a great driver he was. He just loved to drive, compete and win. Thanks Keith!!

    A 4 time winner at Spa (the old track), a place he hated. I always liked the quote from Spa in 1967: “Clark came through at the end of the first lap of the race so far ahead that we in the pits were convinced that the rest of the field must have been wiped out in an accident.”

    Granted, just one small example but when you look at his too short career, he had so much more yet to go.

  7. hope12839 (@hope12839) said on 18th January 2011, 23:33

    Had Clark lived he would have won the title in 1968 and then again in 1970 with the Lotus 72, and again in 1972 and 1973 with the Lotus 72. After which he might have followed Stewarts’ lead and retire from F1 while still relatively young; he would be 37. He would have 6 world titles by that point!! My guess is he may have turned to sports car racing or endurance racing, as it was in sports cars that he got his start back in the 50’s.

    Then again he may have stayed on a few more years and drove the Lotus 79 to another championship.

    Had the above scenario taken place there wouldn’t be any question at all as to the greatest, as Clark used his supreme skills and proper gentlemanly conduct to win. He never resorted to driving his competitors off the road as did Schumacher and Senna; and trust me, I am a huge Senna fan; but he did have his personality faults as did Schumacher.

    Jim Clark all the way!!

  8. melkurion (@melkurion) said on 19th January 2011, 11:26

    I have a general question!

    Look at Clark’s picture, he’s just won a race and his this big Laurel Wreath around his neck, does anybody know why and when they stopped doing those??????????

    I’ve been googling away, but witout any luck….

  9. You know something nice about this? People like Clark, let alone Fangio, were before my time and I suspect that of most people on here. I’m 46, so my earliest memories are Stewart, Fittipaldi, etc. It’s great to see that memories are longer than I would have expected.

  10. Bartholomew said on 20th January 2011, 5:44

    Jim Clark was sublime, divine
    And the green and gold Lotus driven by Clark is the Vision Of Paradise

  11. Bartholomew said on 20th January 2011, 5:48

    In Italy they called Mansell “Il Leone” – he sure was a tough, fast guy.He would be the right one to race against Hamilton like two wild dogs going at each other.

  12. kimbo (@) said on 20th January 2011, 21:03

    I was lucky enough to have seen Jimmy Clark race,in f1 sports and saloon cars and even then you knew you were witnessing something very special – no one comes near in my opinion and i was a ‘Nige’ fan too !

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