RIP Ian Scott-Watson 1930-2023

| 26 May 2023
Classic & Sports Car – RIP Ian Scott-Watson 1930-2023

Unless they are unusually resourceful, every successful competition driver needs someone who can help them to get started in their chosen sport.

In the case of two-time Formula One World Champion Jim Clark, that crucial early support came from Ian Scott-Watson, who died on 24 May 2023, a month and a day after his 93rd birthday.

Known as Ian Scott Watson until the family decided to add a hyphen to its surname, he initially regarded Clark as a danger to traffic on the roads of Berwickshire.

Later, he realised that Clark, though an “absolutely terrible” rally navigator, could drive better than anyone else he knew, and began to offer him his own cars for use in club-level events.

These included a meeting at Crimond in Aberdeenshire in June 1956. Clark thought he had been brought along as a gofer, but Scott-Watson, against the wishes of the Clark family (who found out about it almost immediately), had entered him in his first circuit race, in a DKW Sonderklasse.

Famously, Clark lapped the track 3 secs faster than Scott-Watson could, which tells you more about the former than the latter.

Those of us lucky enough to have sat beside Scott-Watson know that he was an excellent driver himself.

As Clark’s career progressed, Scott-Watson acted as his unofficial manager until 1961, when he was quietly eased out of the scene. He was upset by this, but never blamed Clark, who was not responsible.

Scott-Watson is most famous for his association with Clark, but he was a high achiever in other ways.

Originally a farmer, he developed a successful career designing houses, one of which was commissioned by double British Touring Car Champion John Cleland.

He was also a key figure in the Scottish Motor Racing Club, and designed the short but intimidating circuit at Ingliston, just outside Edinburgh.

His other interests included racing and importing yachts, listening to music from the Classical and Romantic eras, and enjoying the company of various cats.

He had no family of his own, but is survived by his younger brother George, four nephews, and their wives and children.

Image: Tony Baker

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