Throttle-Back Thursday: It took Jim Clark two cars to win the inaugural Mexican GP

This weekend, the F1 roadshow sets up camp at Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez, the 2.674-mile circuit located high in the mountains of Mexico City. The track has hosted races since 1962, though not continuously (its most recent run began in 2015 after a 23-year gap).

Today, we’re looking back at the very first grand prix race held at the circuit. Back then the track was known as the Magdalena Mixhuca circuit; it was soon renamed after the Rodríguez brothers, two promising Mexican racers who both died behind the wheel. Ricardo was actually killed in practice for the ’62 Grand Prix. Such tragedies were, sadly, much more common in those days.

The race itself was no cakewalk for the contenders; the high altitude of Mexico City probably didn’t help. Much of the field suffered mechanical failure. Jim Clark, driving a Lotus, barely even got underway — it took a desperate push-start to get the car firing. Then, 10 laps later, his fragile car began spewing oil and he was disqualified.

Or was he? Clark somehow commandeered Trevor Taylor’s Lotus and set down some very quick laps, blowing past the rest of the pack and taking the checkered flag. Jack Brabham finished second. Clark would go on to win the Mexican two more times before his death in 1968.

All that said, we came away from the first-time event with a fairly positive impression. “Altogether,” we said, “the meeting came off better than expected.”

Read all about it in the excerpt of the November 10, 1962 issue of Competition Press below.

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