Mike Spence was a works Lotus driver from 1963 to 1966, then he drove for the Parnell team until 1968 when he joined BRM. In 1967 he and Phil Hill won the BOAC 500 at Brands Hatch in the Chaparral. He was killed at Indianapolis in 1968 in the Lotus 56 turbine car.
McLaren were among the first to join the Ford-Cosworth DFV users after the engine became generally available in 1968. This photo shows an M7A being assembled at the McLaren works.
One of the 4WD cars that did make an appearance on the track was the Matra MS84. Although more successful than most, the MS84 was overshadowed by the success of its conventional rear-wheel-drive stablemate, the MS80.
The Loss of Jim Clark
The 1968 season lost all meaning to many people on 8 April when Jim Clark was killed in an inexplicable accident in a minor Formula Two race at Hockenheim in Germany. With Clark, motor racing lost one of its greatest-ever exponents and a true hero to hundreds of thousands of people. Once again there was a void to be filled at the top. Clark's team-mate and greatest rival eased the burden, if only by the smallest amount, for Team Lotus, by taking the 49B to the title. On his way to his second championship, Hill won in Spain, Monaco and Mexico.
Clark had given Lotus another victory in the opening race of the season in South Africa taking his number of wins to the quarter century - one more than Fangio. Lotus were given another memorable victory when Jo Siffert won the British Grand Prix at an average speed of 104.83 mph in a Lotus 49B entered privately by Rob Walker.
The other winners of the season were Bruce McLaren, scoring his first victory in his own car at Spa (at a remarkable 147.14 mph), Jackie Stewart with the Ford-engined Matra in Holland, Germany and the USA, Denny Hulme - now McLaren mounted - in Italy and Canada, and Jacky Ickx at Rouen.
Rouen was marred by the death of Jo Schlesser, giving the air-cooled V8 Honda its debut. Mike Spence and Ludovico Scarfiotti were also victims of their cruel sport, the former dying at Indianapolis and the latter in practice for a hill-climb. What did emerge from 1968 was that if any driver might be a future heir to Clark's crown it was his countryman, Stewart, who shone out of a galaxy of new talent which was taking over from the old brigade. After finishing second to Hill in 1968, Stewart took his first title in the following year with a series of magnificent performances with the Ken Tyrrellentered Matra-Ford.
After Clark's tragic death at Hockenheim, Hill's capture of the world title was a much needed morale booster for Lotus. The 1968 car was the 49B, a long wheelbase development of the 49. Technically, 1968 was most significant for the proliferation of fins, spoilers and, ultimately, huge, moveable, suspension-mounted aerofoils, on both ends of many cars. Several near tragedies, directly attributable to these devices, led to their size and location being strictly limited by new regulations. While rules on wings had been tightened up, limits on advertising on cars were relaxed and racing took on a colourful new face.