DRIVERS: JIM CRAWFORD
Name: Jim Crawford
Nationality: Great Britain
Date of birth: February 13, 1948 - Dunfermline, Fifeshire, Scotland
Date of death: August 6, 2002 - Tierra Verde, Florida
Born in 1948 in Dunfermline, to the north of Edinburgh in Scotland, Crawford began racing in Formula Ford in Scotland but did not have the money to progress and so ended up working as a mechanic. He travelled south to Bolton in Lancashire where Derek Bennett was running Chevron Cars. He moved on to work with Stephen Choularton's SDC Racing and built himself a March 73B Formula Atlantic car from spares. This he used to win the Southern Organs title that year, which resulted in him getting a Chevron factory Formula Atlantic drive in 1975. He also did a deal to be test driver for Team Lotus which, as a veteran of only 20 races, was a rather elevated position for one of his experience.
He finished second in the JPS Formula Atlantic series in 1975 and had his chance to drive a Lotus after Jacky Ickx decided he had had enough and quit the team. Colin Chapman gave Crawford his chance alongside Ronnie Peterson in the British GP. Not surprisingly he struggled and Lotus dabbled with John Watson and Brian Henton before Crawford returned at the Italian GP. But despite his efforts he was dropped
Struggling to rebuild his career, he did only occasional races in 1976 and then moved to Switzerland where he helped Toyota to develop a number of racing programmes before returning to racing in 1979 in Formula Atlantic. That year he scored four wins and was runner-up in the British Championship. In 1980 he raced in the Aurora British Formula 2 series and scored 10 wins. He then moved to European F2 in 1981 in an ex-works Toleman with backing from Plygrange. He finished fourth at Silverstone and sixth at Spa and after racing in the British F1 series with RK Racing he went to America in 1982 to race an Ensign CanAm car.
He was then hired by RK Technologies, which was a carbon fibre manufacturing company to race a Paul Brown-designed CanAm car, which was known as the RK-March 847. He finished second in the CanAm series that year, repeated the success in 1984 and made his Indycar debut with the Theodore chassis. In 1985 he joined the Wysard Indycar team but thereafter raced only at the Indianapolis 500. He suffered serious leg injuries in a huge accident at the Speedway in 1987 but returned in 1988 and finished sixth in the race. He continued to enter the Indianapolis 500 until 1995 but failed to qualify in his final two years. By then he had settled in Florida where he worked as the captain of a fishing boat. Alas he died in 2002 at the age just 54.