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1968 FIA Formula 1 Season (ICM)

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1968 FIA Formula 1 Season (ICM)
Photo Credit: Attribution Unascertained.
Champion Constructor: Lotus Ford (GB,3,2)
Putative Constructor: Lotus Ford (GB)
Champion Driver: Graham Hill (GB,2,2)
Putative Driver: Graham Hill (GB)
Putative Constructor Entry Specification: Model 49B, 2.99-liter, eight-cylinder vee DFV, aluminum engine, DOHC, fuel injection, five-speed, ventilated Girling disc brakes, aluminum monocoque with frontal subframe, lower-reversed wishbone independent suspension, front/rear aerofoils, 435 horsepower (Colin Chapman, Maurice Phillippe).

Lotus with its Model 49B entry snatches a much needed victory by driver Graham Hill in the season finale at Ciudad México in October to win the 1968 Formula 1 constructors' title over contenders McLaren and Matra. Lotus ascends as the all-time F1 modern era series championship leader at three as Hill earns his first drivers' crown since 1962 season. The tragic passing of Lotus pilot Jimmy Clark at Hockenheim in April utterly stuns the global motorsport community, joining the array of other tragic world events (deaths of M.L. King, R.F. Kennedy) that take place during the year that casts a tremendous pall upon the 1968 season. The extremely popular Clark ascends as the all-time career leader in victories with 25 with his cross at Kyalami in January, supplanting the great Juan Manuel Fangio. F1 makes its inaugural visit to Jarama, Spain in May. The victory by Matra behind Jackie Stewart at Zandvoort in June stands as the first F1 victory for a French make since Gordini in 1952. The tragic death of Jo Schlesser at Rouen in July prompts Honda to withdraw from Formula 1 at season end. F1 makes its inaugural visit to Mont-Tremblant, Quebec in July. American Champ Car star Mario Andretti makes his debut with Lotus at Monza in September. Departures: James Clark Jr. OBE, 32, b. Kilmany, Scotland 1936, d. F2 Hockenheim, Baden-Württemberg, West Germany, April. Michael Spence, 31, b. Croydon, England 1936, d. at practice, USAC Indianapolis, Indiana USA, May. Ludovico Scarfiotti, 34, b. Turin, Italy 1933, d. Rossfeldstrasse Hillclimb, Berchtesgaden, West Germany, June. Joseph Schlesser, 40, b. Liouville, France 1928, d. GP France, Seine-Maritime, France, July. Racing Evolution: Aerodynamic foils for F1 racing (Lotus). Full facial coverage helmet (Gurney). Integrated structural 'pontoon' fuel tanks (Matra).

HeM applies the Putative Model to all racing seasons for two primary purposes: First, to effectively normalize all racing seasons for empirical comparison across the decades, and second, to step clear of series organizers which score season championships primarily out of commercial interest or to attract manufacturer participation. The Putative Model simply scores all seasons in the same fashion as a standard track and field meeting, with the only purpose of tracking what takes place at the finishing stripe If the Putative Champion differs from the nominal Series Champion, please note the (SC) notation below.

Lotus Ford82     Hill G65
McLaren BRM/Ford70     Stewart J46
Matra Ford67     Hulme41
Scuderia Ferrari45     Ickx34
Owen BRM30     McLaren29
Cooper BRM22     Rodriguez P22

Noteworthy 1968 Races

1968 XXVI Grand Prix Automobile de Monaco Monte Carlo1968 1968 XXVI Grand Prix Automobile de Monaco At Monaco for the Grand Prix (251.5 kilometers) in May, the race comes to a British Lotus 49B Ford Cosworth under Graham Hill (GB) in 2:00:32.3 (record average 77.70 mph), under three seconds ahead of a B.R.M. driven by Richard Attwood. Hill moves out front on Lap 3 and fights off an uncharacteristically persistent Attwood all afternoon to seal the victory. Hill ascends as the all-time career leader with four wins in the principality, surpassing the great Stirling Moss. Photo Credit: David Phipps.
1968 XXVIII Grand Prix de Belgique Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium1968 1968 XXVIII Grand Prix de Belgique At Spa-Francorchamps for the Belgian Grand Prix (395 kilometers) in June, a British McLaren M7A Ford under Bruce McLaren (NZ) takes race honors in 1:40:02.1 (average 147.14 mph), under thirteen seconds ahead of a B.R.M. entry. McLaren moves out front after race leader Jackie Stewart in his Matra exhausts his fuel supply on the final circuit, granting Team McLaren its maiden F1 constructors' victory. The Honda entry under John Surtees posts a fast lap of nearly 150 mph during the event. Photo Credit: LAT Photographic Archive.