Welcome to 365 Days of Motoring

An Everyday Journey Through Motoring History, Facts & Trivia

Belt up and enjoy this 365-day ride as you cruise past the most momentous motoring events in history. Packed with fascinating facts about races, motorists and the history of the mighty engine, this is a must-visit web site for any car enthusiast.

Lotus

Lotus


A chronological day-by-day history of Lotus.

Tuesday 1st January 1952

65 years ago

Colin Chapman and Michael Allen formed the Lotus Engineering Company.

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Saturday 26th March 1955

62 years ago

Just before filming began on Rebel Without a Cause, actor James Dean driving a Porsche 356 Speedster, won the first formal motor race he entered, a qualifying race during the California Sports Car Club event at Palms Springs, California, USA. The following day he finished second in the main event.second overall in the Sunday main event. Dean also raced the Speedster at Bakersfield on May 1–2, finishing first in class and third overall. His final race with the Speedster was at Santa Barbara on Memorial Day, May 30, where he started in the eighteenth position, worked his way up to fourth, before over-revving his engine and blowing a piston. He did not finish the race. During the filming of Giant from June through mid-September, Warner Brothers had barred Dean from all racing activities. In July, Dean put down a deposit on a new Lotus Mark IX sports racer with Jay Chamberlain, a dealer in Burbank. Dean was told that the Lotus delivery would be delayed until autumn. As Dean was finishing up Giant's filming, he suddenly traded in his Speedster at Competition Motors for a new, more powerful and faster 1955 Porsche 550 Spyder on September 21 and entered the upcoming Salinas Road Race event scheduled for October 1–2. He also purchased a new 1955 Ford Country Squire station wagon to use for towing the new Spyder to and from the races on an open wheel car trailer. According to Lee Raskin, Porsche historian, and author of James Dean At Speed, Dean asked custom car painter and pin striper Dean Jeffries to paint Little Bastard on the car: "Dean Jeffries, who had a paint shop next to Barris did the customizing work which consisted of: painting '130' in black non-permanent paint on the front hood, doors and rear deck lid. He also painted "Little Bastard" in script across the rear cowling. The red leather bucket seats and red tail stripes were original. The tail stripes were painted by the Stuttgart factory, which was customary on the Spyders for racing ID." Purportedly, James Dean had been given the nickname "Little Bastard" by Bill Hickman, a Warner Bros. stunt driver who became friendly with Dean. Hickman was part of Dean's group driving to the Salinas Road Races on September 30, 1955. Hickman says he called Dean "little bastard", and Dean called Hickman "big bastard." Another version of the "Little Bastard" origin has been corroborated by two of Dean's close friends, Lew Bracker, and photographer, Phil Stern. They believe Jack L. Warner of Warner Bros. had once referred to Dean as a little bastard after Dean refused to vacate his temporary East of Eden trailer on the studio's lot. And Dean wanted to get 'even' with Warner by naming his race car, "Little Bastard" and to show Warner that despite his sports car racing ban during all filming, Dean was going to be racing the "Little Bastard" in between making movies for Warner Bros. When Dean introduced himself to British actor Alec Guinness outside the Villa Capri restaurant in Hollywood, he asked him to take a look at his brand new Porsche Spyder. Guinness thought the car appeared 'sinister' and told Dean: "If you get in that car, you will be found dead in it by this time next week." This encounter took place on September 23, 1955, seven days before Dean's death. He died Dean on September 30, 1955, near Cholame, California. Dean was traveling to a sports car racing competition when his "Little Bastard" crashed at the junction of California State Route 46 (former 466) and California State Route 41. He was 24 years old.

James Dean - 1955 Porsche 356 Super Speeder

James Dean - 1955 Porsche 356 Super Speeder

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Saturday 24th March 1956

61 years ago

Ferrari, Aston Martin, Jaguar, Porsche and Lotus all entered the Sebring 12 Hour World Sports Car Championship race. Also on hand was an official team of 4.4 liter Corvettes. Moss' Aston Martin fell out early, the Mike Hawthorn/Desmond Titterington Jaguar led 6 hours before retiring with brake failure, and Carlos Menditeguy crashed. Juan Fangio and Eugenio Castellotti won in a brakeless Ferrari. 1955 Indy 500 winner Bob Sweikert impressed by taking third in a private Jaguar he co-drove with Jack Ensley.

1956 Sebring 12 Hours Grand Prix

1956 Sebring 12 Hours Grand Prix

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Saturday 14th July 1956

61 years ago

The death of two one-race Formula One drivers - Bill Whitehouse (48) and Herbert MacKay-Fraser (30) - came during an Formula 2 race at Reims. Whitehouse died when his borrowed Cooper-Climax left the track after a tyre burst, somersaulted and exploded in flames, while later on MacKay-Fraser lost control of his Lotus at high speed and was killed on impact.

Bill Whitehouse

Bill Whitehouse

Herbert MacKay-Fraser

Herbert MacKay-Fraser

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Tuesday 15th October 1957

60 years ago

The Lotus Elite (Type 14) with its highly innovative fibreglass monocoque construction, made its debut at the 1957 London Motor Show, Earls Court. The 75 hp 1.2 litre Coventry Climax all aluminium straight-four-engined Elite had spent a year in development, aided by "carefully selected racing customers", A road car tested by The Motor magazine in 1960 had a top speed of 111.8 mph (179.9 km/h) and could accelerate from 0–60 mph (97 km/h) in 11.4 seconds. A fuel consumption of 40.5 miles per imperial gallon (6.97 L/100 km; 33.7 mpg) was recorded. The test car cost £1966 including tax.

Lotus Elite (Type 14)

Lotus Elite (Type 14)

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Sunday 18th May 1958

59 years ago

The Lotus made its Formula One debut at the Monaco Grand Prix with Cliff Allison finishing in fifth place. The Lotus Engineering Company was founded by Colin Chapman in 1952 as a result of Chapman's great success in building and racing trial cars. Located in Norfolk, England, Lotus has become over the last few decades one of racing's most dominant teams. Currently limited to Formula One competition, Lotus was initially a diverse racing team. Lotus dominated Le Mans in the '50s. The mid-1960s saw the Golden Age of Lotus racing as its British drivers Jim Clark and Graham Hill enjoyed great success. Jim Clark won the first World Driver's Championship for Lotus in 1963. Lotus has in recent years been represented by such virtuoso drivers as Emmerson Fittipaldi and Alessandro Zanardi.

1958 Monaco Grand Prix (Graham Hill) Lotus 12 - Climax

1958 Monaco Grand Prix (Graham Hill) Lotus 12 - Climax

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Friday 26th December 1958

58 years ago

Colin Chapman met Jim Clark for the first time during a race meeting at Brands Hatch, England. Chapman won with Clark second, both driving Lotus Elises .

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Saturday 19th March 1960

57 years ago

Jim Clark drove a Ford-Cosworth powered Lotus 18 to victory in the Formula Junior race at Goodwood, England. It was the first win for a Lotus 18. In second place was motorcycle world champion John Surtees making his 4-wheel race debut in a Ken Tyrrell entered Cooper-BMC.

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Monday 18th April 1960

57 years ago

The 8th Glover Trophy, run to Formula One rules held at Goodwood Circuit, England. The race was run over 42 laps of the circuit, and was won by the British driver Innes Ireland in a Lotus 18.

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Sunday 29th May 1960

57 years ago

Stirling Moss scored his first ever win for Lotus when he won the Monaco Grand Prix driving Rob Walker's Lotus 18. This was the first Formula One race for Ginther and the first for a mid-engined, Ferrari Grand Prix car, the 246P. Jack Brabham was disqualified on lap 41 after officials ruled he was pushed started.

Stirling Moss - 1960 Monaco Grand Prix

Stirling Moss - 1960 Monaco Grand Prix

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Sunday 5th June 1960

57 years ago

Racer Jim Clark made his Formula 1 debut driving a Lotus in the Dutch Grand Prix. Clark, who won two World Championships, in 1963 and 1965, was a versatile driver who competed in sports cars, touring cars and in the Indianapolis 500, which he won in 1965. He was particularly associated with the Lotus marque. He was killed in a Formula Two motor racing accident in Hockenheim, Germany in 1968. At the time of his death, he had won more Grand Prix races (25) and achieved more Grand Prix pole positions (33) than any other driver. In 2009, The Times placed Clark at the top of a list of the greatest-ever Formula One drivers

Jim Clark - 1960

Jim Clark - 1960

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Monday 6th June 1960

57 years ago

Jack Brabham won the Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort driving a Cooper-Climax. Although there were disputes over prize money and several teams withdrew after qualifying, there was still a decent field for the race with Stirling Moss on pole position in his Walker Lotus-Climax. Jack Brabham was alongside in his Cooper-Climax and Innes Ireland was on the outside of the front row in his factory Lotus 18. The BRMs of Jo Bonnier and Graham Hill shared the second row. Brabham made the best start and led Moss and Ireland with Team Lotus's Alan Stacey up from the third row on the grid and Phil Hill sixth in his Ferrari from the fourth row. Stacey passed Ireland on the second lap but Innes soon took back the place while Bruce McLaren moved ahead of Phil Hill in the his Cooper. He would retire early however with a driveshaft problem. Dan Gurney moved into fifth in his BRM but he crashed at the hairpin after a brake failure. A spectator in a prohibited area was killed. Jim Clark had made rapid progress in the early laps and took Gurney's fifth place behind his Lotus teammates Ireland and Stacey. On lap 17 Brabham's car threw up part of a curb and this hit Moss's car and caused a puncture and damage to the wheel hub. Moss had to pit for repairs. He drove a storming comeback. Up front the order remained static until Graham Hill passed Clark who retired soon afterwards with gearbox failure. Stacey would disappear with a similar problem later on leaving Hill to finish third, just ahead of the charging Moss.

Jack Brabham - Cooper T53 Climax, Dutch Grand Prix 1960, Zandvoort

Jack Brabham - Cooper T53 Climax, Dutch Grand Prix 1960, Zandvoort

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Sunday 7th August 1960

57 years ago

Stirling Moss drove a Lotus 19 Monte Carlo to victory in the 75-kilometer sports car race at Karlskoga, Sweden.

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Sunday 20th November 1960

56 years ago

Stirling Moss won the season-ending United States Grand Prix at the Riverside International Raceway in California from Lotus team-mate Innes Ireland. But the event failed to capture the imagination of the US public despite local Dan Gurney's involvement and only attracted a crowd of 25,000 people. A PR blunder by organiser Alec Ullmann did not help as he alienated all the local media who consequently ignored the event. Ullmann lost substantial sums on the event but paid Moss's winnings of $7500 and all other creditors out of his own pocket. Gurney endured a miserable race and retired on lap 18 with an overheated engine. Bruce McLaren finished third ahead of newly-crowned world champion Jack Brabham. With nothing at stake, Ferrari opted to stay away but allowed drivers Taffy von Trips and Phil Hill to race with other teams.

Maserati 250F of Juan Manuel Fangio

Maserati 250F of Juan Manuel Fangio

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Monday 13th February 1961

56 years ago

Enzo Ferrari introduced the mid-engined Ferrari Dino 156 Formula 1 car, to comply with then-new Formula One regulations that reduced engine displacement from 2.5 to 1.5 litres, similar to the pre-1961 Formula Two class for which Ferrari had developed a mid-engined car also called 156. The 1961 version was affectionately dubbed "sharknose" due to its characteristic air intake "nostrils". A similar intake duct styling was applied over forty years later to the Ferrari 360. Ferrari started the 1961 F1 season with a 65 degrees Dino engine, then replaced by a new engine with the V-angle increased to 120 degrees and designed by Carlo Chiti. This increased the power by 10 hp (7 kW). Bore and stroke were 73.0 x 58.8 mm (2.3 in) with a displacement of 1,476.60 cc and a claimed 190 hp (142 kW) at 9,500 rpm. For 1962 a 24-valve version was planned with 200 hp (149 kW) at 10,000 rpm, but never appeared. In 1963 the 12-valve version fitted with Bosch direct-fuel injection instead of carburetors achieved that power level. The last victory for the Ferrari 156 was achieved by Italian Lorenzo Bandini in the 1964 Austrian Grand Prix. A V-6 engine with 120 degree bank is smoother at producing power because every 120 degree rotation of engine crankshaft produces a power pulse. Phil Hill won the 1961 World Championship of Drivers and Ferrari secured the 1961 International Cup for F1 Manufacturers, both victories achieved with the 156. Sadly on September 10, 1961, after a collision with Jim Clark's Lotus on the second lap of the Italian Grand Prix, the 156 of Wolfgang von Trips (Hill's teammate) became airborne and crashed into a side barrier, fatally throwing him from the car and killing fifteen spectators.

Ferrari 156 F1

Ferrari 156 F1

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Monday 3rd April 1961

56 years ago

The 21st Pau Grand Prix, a non-Championship motor race, run to Formula One rules, held at Pau Circuit, the street circuit in Pau. Jim Clark in a Lotus 18 won the race run over 100 laps of the circuit. This was Clark's first Formula One victory.

Pau Grand Prix - 1961

Pau Grand Prix - 1961

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Sunday 16th April 1961

56 years ago

The 2nd Vienna Grand Prix, run to Formula One rules, was held at the Aspern Circuit. Run over 55 laps of the circuit, the Grand Prix was won comfortably by British driver Stirling Moss in a Lotus 18.

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Sunday 14th May 1961

56 years ago

The Monaco Grand Prix was held on the Circuit de Monaco in Monte Carlo, Monaco. It was the first round of the 1961 World Championship of Drivers, and the first World Championship race under the new 1.5 litre engine regulations. Ritchie Ginther led Jim Clark and Stirling Moss into the first corner but Clark quickly ran into trouble with a faulty fuel pump. Ginther dropped to third on lap 14, when Moss and Bonnier passed him in quick succession. At quarter distance, Moss had an impressive 10 second lead (in the underpowered Lotus 18-Climax) but the Ferraris of Phil Hill and then Ginther found their way around Jo Bonnier and began to close the gap. At half distance, Moss' lead was 8 seconds, and down to 3 seconds on lap 60. Ginther moved into second on lap 75 and tried to close the gap, but Moss proved able to match his lap times, despite the 156's horsepower advantage, to claim a famous victory.

Monaco Grand Prix - 1961

Monaco Grand Prix - 1961

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Saturday 3rd June 1961

56 years ago

The 2nd Silver City Trophy run to Formula One rules, over 76 laps of Brands Hatch, was won by British driver Stirling Moss in a Lotus 18/21. The race was overshadowed by a fatal accident during qualifying when Shane Summers crashed his Cooper T53 into the concrete entrance to the paddock road tunnel.

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Sunday 25th June 1961

56 years ago

Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (formerly Mosport Park and Mosport International Raceway), the second purpose-built road race course in Canada, held its first major race, the Player's 200, a sports car race bringing drivers from the world over to rural Ontario. Stirling Moss won the two-heat event in a Lotus 19. Second was Joakim Bonnier with Olivier Gendebien third. The proposed hairpin was expanded into two discrete corners, to be of greater challenge to the drivers and more interesting for the spectators, at his suggestion, and is named Moss Corner in his honour.

Tunnel, Whites Corner - Turn 10 and Event Centre at the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park

Tunnel, Whites Corner - Turn 10 and Event Centre at the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park

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Saturday 15th July 1961

56 years ago

Following a wet weekend, with torrential rain affecting both qualifying and the race start, the British Grand Prix at Aintree was ultimately dominated by Scuderia Ferrari, with their drivers taking all three podium positions. The race was won by German Wolfgang von Trips, who had led for much of the race after starting from fourth place. This was von Trips's second and last Grand Prix victory, as two races later he was killed in an accident during the 1961 Italian Grand Prix. Pole position winner Phil Hill drove to second place, on his way to winning the World Drivers' Championship at the end of the season. Tony Maggs, driving a Lotus in his Formula 1 debut, finished 13th. The Ferguson, financed by Harry Ferguson, designed by Claude Hill and driven by Jack Fairman and Stirling Moss, made its only Formula 1 appearance, but was disqualified for receiving a push start - the Gilby also made its debut with the car driven by Keith Greeene finished 15th, the marque's best result in its three Formula 1 appearances.

Start of the 1961 British Grand Prix, Aintree

Start of the 1961 British Grand Prix, Aintree

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Sunday 6th August 1961

56 years ago

The German Grand Prix was won by British driver Stirling Moss, driving a Lotus 18/21 for privateer outfit the Rob Walker Racing Team. Moss started from the second row of the grid and lead every lap of the race. It was the first German Grand Prix victory for a rear-engined car since Bernd Rosemeyer's Auto Union Type C took victory in 1936. Moss finished just over 20 seconds ahead of Ferrari 156 drivers Wolfgang von Trips and Phil Hill, breaking a four-race consecutive run of Ferrari victories. The result pushed Moss into third place in the championship points race, becoming the only driver outside of Ferrari's trio of von Trips, Hill and Richie Ginther still in contention to become the 1961 World Champion with two races left.

Stirling Moss winning the 1961 German Grand Prix

Stirling Moss winning the 1961 German Grand Prix

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Sunday 8th October 1961

56 years ago

Innes Ireland drove a Lotus-Climax to victory in the first United States Grand Prix held at Watkins Glen, New York. It was the first Team Lotus win in a championship qualifying Grand Prix. Tony Brooks finished third in his last Grand Prix.

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Thursday 11th January 1962

55 years ago

Dan Gurney and Frank Arciero drove a Lotus 19B to victory in the Daytona Continental 3 Hour race in Daytona, Florida, USA.

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Sunday 11th February 1962

55 years ago

Dan Gurney driving a Lotus 19B-Coventry Climax won the World Sportscar Championship Daytona 3 Hour race, covering a distance of 502.791 km.

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Monday 23rd April 1962

55 years ago

During the 10th Glover Trophy, won by Graham Hill, held at the Goodwood race track, Stirling Moss suffered serious injury at the wheel of his Lotus Climax, cutting short his racing career. On emerging from a 38 day coma, Sir Stirling found he had partial paralysis of his left side. Although he made a full recovery, he felt his reactions were no longer fast enough for racing.

Stirling Moss - Goodwood - 1962

Stirling Moss - Goodwood - 1962

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Monday 23rd April 1962

55 years ago

The 22nd Pau Grand Prix, a non-Championship race run to Formula One rules, over 100 laps of a street circuit in Pau, was won by Maurice Trintignant in a Lotus 18/21.

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Sunday 29th April 1962

55 years ago

The 7th Aintree 200 motor race, run to Formula One rules, was held at Aintree Circuit, England. The race was contested over 50 laps of the circuit, and was won by British driver Jim Clark in a Lotus 24.

Aintree 200 - 1962

Aintree 200 - 1962

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Sunday 20th May 1962

55 years ago

The Dutch Grand Prix held at Zandvoort was won by Graham Hill driving a BRM P57. It was the first Grand Prix victory for the future dual-World Champion and the second time a BRM driver had won the race after Jo Bonnier in 1959. Hill finished over 27 seconds ahead of Team Lotus driver Trevor Taylor driving a Lotus 24. The reigning World Champion, Ferrari's Phil Hill (Ferrari 156) completed the podium.

Graham Hill (GB) - BRM P57

Graham Hill (GB) - BRM P57

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Sunday 27th May 1962

55 years ago

The 1498cc Lotus-Ford Twin Cam engine made its race debut in a Lotus 23 sports car during the Nurburgring 1000km race.

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Sunday 17th June 1962

55 years ago

Jim Clark won his first Formula One Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps, and the first of four consecutive victories in Belgium for the Scotsman (despite thoroughly disliking the circuit) and Team Lotus. It was also the first win for the famous Lotus 25, and the beginning of the famous 6-year-long rivalry between Clark and Graham Hill. Clark would go on to one of the most storied careers in F1 history. His 1965 season was his crowning achievement as the sport's most dominant racer. Clark led every lap of every race he competed in, and he became the first Briton to win the Indy 500. Clark died in a tragic accident in a Formula Two race in Germany.

Jim Clark, Belgian Grand Prix, 1962

Jim Clark, Belgian Grand Prix, 1962

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Sunday 8th July 1962

55 years ago

Dan Gurney won the French Grand Prix at Roue-Les-Essarts driving a Porsche 804, the only Formula 1 victory for the marque.Gurney won a non-championship race in Stuttgart the following week, but Rouen remains Porsche's only Grand Prix win. Qualifying resulted in Jim Clark setting the fastest time for Team Lotus with Graham Hill's BRM and McLaren's Cooper alongside on the front row. On the second row Jack Brabham's private Lotus was beside John Surtees's Reg Parnell Lola while the third row featured Dan Gurney's Porsche and the two British Racing Partnership Lotuses: Masten Gregory's BRM-engined car being slightly faster than Innes Ireland's Climax-engined one. Hill took the lead with Surtees, Clark, McLaren and Brabham chasing him. McLaren dropped out after 10 laps when he spun because of a gear-selection problem and crashed. Brabham retired at the same moment when his suspension failed but McLaren did manage to get going again and spent a long time in the pits having the car repaired. On lap 13 Surtees pitted because of fuel feed problems and he dropped down to eighth place, leaving Hill to be chased by Clark, Gurney, Gregory and Jo Bonnier (Porsche). Gregory and Bonnier soon dropped out of the running with mechanical troubles. On lap 30 Hill was hit by backmarker Jack Lewis when the privateer Cooper driver suffered brake failure. Clark took the lead but he was in trouble with his suspension and stopped three laps later. This put Hill back in the lead but in the closing laps his BRM began to misfire and he dropped quickly back, leaving Gurney to take the lead. He duly won his first and Porsche's first World Championship victory. Tony Maggs survived to get second in his Cooper while third place went to Ritchie Ginther's BRM, who drove the final laps controlling the throttle by hand after the cable came loose from the pedal. Surtees struggled across the line with gearbox trouble and then slowed dramatically, Maurice Trintignant was caught by surprise by this and had to swerve his Rob Walker Lotus to avoid hitting the Lola. In doing so, the Frenchman moved into the path of Trevor Taylor's Lotus and there was a nasty accident - although both drivers escaped without injury.

Dan Gurney - Porsche 804 - 1962 French Grand Prix

Dan Gurney - Porsche 804 - 1962 French Grand Prix

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Saturday 21st July 1962

55 years ago

Jim Clark in a Lotus-Climax 25 won the last British Grand Prix staged at Aintree. Innes Ireland was out of luck on race day when his car failed to get off the line with a gearbox problem and that allowed Clark to get into the lead with Surtees, Gurney and McLaren chasing. Jack Brabham made a good start in his private Lotus to be ahead of Hill's BRM. Hill retook the position on the seventh lap but otherwise little changed in the early laps. Clark built up his lead with Surtees second while Gurney ran into clutch trouble and so dropped behind McLaren and later G Hill and Brabham. There was very little action for the rest of the afternoon and Clark won by nearly a minute.

Starting grid for the 1962 British Grand Prix at Aintree

Starting grid for the 1962 British Grand Prix at Aintree

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Sunday 29th July 1962

55 years ago

Although Roger Penske and Hap Sharp each won one heat of the USAC Road Race Championship Hoosier Grand Prix at Indianapolis Raceway Park in Indianapolis. The event was won on aggregate by Jim Hall, who drove his Climax-powered Lotus 21 to second and third place finishes in the two heats.

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Sunday 7th October 1962

55 years ago

Jack Brabham, in the second Formula 1 appearance with his new Brabham, finished 4th in the US Grand Prix, becoming the first driver to earn Championship points driving a car of his own design. The 100-lap race was won by Lotus driver Jim Clark after starting from pole position. Graham Hill finished second for the BRM team and Cooper driver Bruce McLaren came in third.

1962 United States GP Jim Clark takes the chequered flag

1962 United States GP Jim Clark takes the chequered flag

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Sunday 14th October 1962

55 years ago

Washington State racer Pat Pigott died from race-incurred injuries at Riverside International Raceway when suspension failure of his Lotus 23 sent the car wedging under the guard rail at turn 9. He was 37 years old.

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Wednesday 17th October 1962

55 years ago

The Triumph Spitfire was launched at the London Motor Show .To quote Ronald ‘Steady’ Barker, writing in Autocar: ‘It is very civilised, with winding windows and plenty of luggage space, and £730 for a 90-plus mph car seems reasonable enough.’ While the other new cars at the Motor Show (Ford Cortina, Morris 1100, MGB, Lotus Elan, etc) also received equally good coverage in the motoring press, the front-page headlines of the October ’62 newspapers were focused on the confrontation between the USA and USSR, and the outcome of the Cuban missile crisis. Thankfully, by the end of the month, the threat of a nuclear war had been averted after the Russians agreed to withdraw their weapons from Fidel Castro’s Caribbean island.

Triumph Spitfire Mk1

Triumph Spitfire Mk1

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Sunday 4th November 1962

55 years ago

The first Mexican Grand Prix, run at Mexico City, 7,300 feet above sea level, was won by Jim Clark and Trevor Taylor, sharing a drive in a Lotus Climax at 91.31 mph.. The race meeting was marred by the death during practice of local driving prodigy Ricardo Rodríguez. The circuit would later be renamed the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez to honour him and his brother Pedro. Pole-sitter Clark suffered a flat battery and so required a push start to get his engine going. However, due to a lack of communication between the starting officials, the start flag was waved while marshalls were still on the track. For John Surtees, the delay caused a cylinder to burn out and his race was over before it even started. The race stewards decided that the push start had been illegal (despite it being caused by race officials) and black-flagged Clark's car on lap 10. Clark's Lotus team-mate Trevor Taylor was lying third, behind Jack Brabham and Bruce McLaren, and Clark took his car over during a pit stop. The Scot put in a superb drive to claw back the 57 second deficit on the leaders, passing both with over one third of the race distance still remaining. Clark completed the remainder of the race with very little opposition, scoring an easy win. This would prove to be the final time that a Grand Prix victory would be shared by two drivers, a situation that was relatively common in the 1950s. Also notable was the participation of German driver Wolfgang Seidel, who competed despite having had his FIA licence suspended over two months previously. The Porsche works team did not attend, Porsche having withdrawn from motor sport at the end of the 1962 World Championship season. Despite the starting confusion, the race earned the Mexican Grand Prix full World Championship status from 1963, which it would retain until 1970.

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Saturday 1st December 1962

54 years ago

High praise for Stirling Moss who was described by Enzo Ferrari as the world's best driver, likening him to the legendary Tazio Nuvolari. At the same time at Monza, Peter Arundell won a challenge from a German sports writer who claimed Lotus had used oversized engines in winning the formula junior races that season. Lotus offered £1000 that one of their cars could match speeds achieved in races.

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Sunday 2nd December 1962

54 years ago

Peter Arundell won a one-car "race" at Monza, Italy. Journalist Richard von Frankenberg had accused Lotus of using an illegal engine in Arundell's car in a race there a few months earlier. He challenged them to match their race speed in an "inspected, standard" Lotus 22. Arundell bested his race average by 2.5 mph.

Peter Arundell

Peter Arundell

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Friday 21st December 1962

54 years ago

Gary Hocking (25), a former world motorbike champion who had switched to cars as he felt they were safer, was killed practising for the Natal Grand Prix. After leaving his country of birth Rhodesia to compete in motorbike racing Europe in 1958 and made an immediate impact, finishing 3rd behind the works MV Agustas at the Nürburgring. He was sponsored by Manchester tuner/dealer Reg Dearden, who provided him with new 350cc & 500cc Manx Norton racers.[citation needed] He spent the winter of 58/59 with the Costain family at their home "Lindors" in Castletown on the Isle of Man, learning the Isle of Man TT course with George Costain, an established rider for the Dearden team, who had won the Senior Manx Grand Prix on a 500 Dearden-tuned Manx in 1954.[citation needed] In the 1959 Junior TT, he finished a credible 12th from 22nd on the grid, an impressive achievement for a first-timer to the circuit. In 1959, he was offered a ride by the East German MZ factory and finished second in the 250cc championship. During practice for the 1959 Junior TT, his and the machines of team mates Terry Shepherd and John Hartle 350 Manx's were fitted with the top-secret works 350cc Desmodromic engine, but they ran standard engines for the actual race. MV Agusta offered Hocking full factory support for the 1960 season and he repaid their confidence by finishing 2nd in the 125cc, 250cc and 350cc classes. Following the retirement from motorcycle racing by defending champion, John Surtees in 1961, Hocking became MV Agusta's top rider and went on to claim dual World Championships in the 350cc and 500cc classes, in a dominant manner against little factory mounted opposition. Hocking was deeply affected by the death of his friend, Tom Phillis at the 1962 Isle of Man TT. After winning the Senior TT, he announced his retirement from motorcycle racing and returned to Rhodesia. He felt motorcycle racing was too dangerous and decided a career in auto racing would be safer. Later that year, on the 22nd of December he was killed during practice for the 1962 Natal Grand Prix at the Westmead circuit. His car, a Rob Walker entered Lotus 24, ran off the edge of the track at the end of the long right hand corner & somersaulted end over end twice. Gary's head struck the roll hoop & he died some hours later in the Addlington hospital in Durban. It is possible that the car suffered a front nearside suspension failure & this cased the car to veer sharply to the left & somersault. He was 25 years old. Hocking is buried at Christchurch Cemetery, Newport, Gwent in Wales.

Gary Hocking

Gary Hocking

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Monday 15th April 1963

54 years ago

The 23rd Pau Grand Prix, a non-Championship motor race, run to Formula One rules, held at Pau Circuit, the street circuit in Pau. The race was run over 100 laps of the circuit, and was won by Jim Clark in a Lotus 25. Clark and his team-mate Trevor Taylor dominated the race from start to finish, with their nearest rival finishing the race five laps adrift.

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Monday 15th April 1963

54 years ago

The 11th Glover Trophy was a motor race, run to Formula One rules, held on 15 April 1963 at Goodwood Circuit, England. The race was run over 42 laps of the circuit, and was won by British driver Innes Ireland in a Lotus 24, after polesitter Graham Hill suffered fuel injection problems while leading in his BRM.

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Sunday 21st April 1963

54 years ago

The 4th Imola Grand Prix was run to Formula One rules at the Autodromo di Castellaccis. The previous three Imola Grands Prix were sports car races held in the mid-1950s, and this was the first Formula One event held at the circuit. From 1981, the circuit was the venue for the San Marino Grand Prix. Run over 50 laps of the circuit, the race was won by British driver Jim Clark in a Lotus 25, lapping the entire field except for second-placed Jo Siffert. Trevor Taylor set the fastest lap after losing more than ten laps with a gear selector problem.

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Saturday 27th April 1963

54 years ago

The 8th Aintree 200 motor race, run to Formula One rules, was held at Aintree Circuit, England. Contested over 50 laps of the circuit, the race was won by British driver Graham Hill in a BRM P57. This race saw one of the last instances of car changing in Formula One, as it was already illegal in World Championship races. Jim Clark's Lotus 25 was left on the starting line with a flat battery and joined the race a lap down, but after 16 laps, he swapped cars with his team-mate Trevor Taylor who was in fifth place at the time. Clark moved up to finish third, while Taylor was left in seventh place. Clark set the fastest lap of the race in Taylor's car.

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Thursday 30th May 1963

54 years ago

Parnelli Jones won the Indianapolis 500 despite his car (nicknamed "Calhoun") spewing oil from a broken tank for many laps. Officials put off black flagging him until the oil level dropped and the trail stopped. Colin Chapman, whose English built, rear-engined Lotus Ford finished second in the hands of Scotsman Jim Clark, accused the officials of being biased towards the American driver and car. Additionally, driver Eddie Sachs was punched by Jones at a victory dinner after Sachs told Jones that his win was tainted.

1963 Indy 500: Parnelli Jones in the #98 Agajanian Willard Battery Special

1963 Indy 500: Parnelli Jones in the #98 Agajanian Willard Battery Special

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Sunday 9th June 1963

54 years ago

Jim Clark won the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa in a Lotus-Climax on his way to clinching his first world drivers Championship.The weather was so bad towards the end of the race, that Colin Chapman, head of Lotus and Tony Rudd, BRM's chief engineer, asked officials to stop it, but their pleas were ignored and the full 32 laps were completed. This race was notable for the debut of the new ATS team, set up by former Ferrari chief engineer Signor Carlo Chiti, with Phil Hill and Giancarlo Baghetti as drivers. They had to wait for their cars to arrive because of customs problems at the Belgian border, and were unable to take part in the practice sessions. As a result, both started at the back of the grid, and were forced out with gearbox problems before halfway. Graham Hill started on pole, but it was Clark who got a sensational start from the third row, taking the lead after only one lap. He soon pulled clear of Hill and after eight laps was over 13 seconds ahead, making up an extra second on each lap. By the halfway stage, Clark was 27 seconds in front of Hill, and when, on the 18th lap, thunder exploded overhead, Hill was forced to retire when his gearbox gave out, leaving Clark to drive on to victory.Dan Gurney now lay second in the Brabham Climax, with Richie Ginther and Bruce McLaren fighting it out for third. The weather then deteriorated rapidly, as lightning forked down through the pine forests and the rain became heavier and heavier. Twenty-foot plumes of spray trailed behind the cars, making visibility for the drivers almost impossible. Clark said afterwards; "Towards the end visibility was appalling. I had to hold the car in top gear for most of the race and my speed was dropping by nearly 100mph in the last stages. Some cars were spinning off on the straights and it was extremely dangerous." Clark, driving brilliantly in the conditions, managed to splash his way to victory well ahead of the five other cars that finished. The pace was drastically slowed in the last six laps as the drivers had to shield their eyes from the blinding rain, making it extremely difficult to drive at high speed. McLaren managed to claw his way up into second and picked up six championship points, putting him ahead of Clark and Hill by one point.

1963 Belgian Grand Prix: Jim Clark leads the field towards Eau Rouge, despite having started in eighth position

1963 Belgian Grand Prix: Jim Clark leads the field towards Eau Rouge, despite having started in eighth position

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Sunday 23rd June 1963

54 years ago

Jim Clark won the 1963 Belgian Grand Prix scoring Team Lotus’ 10th victory in the World Championship. After starting eighth on the grid Clark passed all of the cars in front of him, including early leader Graham Hill. About 17 laps into the race, with the rain coming down harder than ever, Clark had not only lapped the entire field except for Bruce McLaren, but he was almost five minutes ahead of McLaren and his Cooper. This would be the first of 7 victories for Clark and Team Lotus that year.

Jim Clark - 1963 Belgian Grand Prix

Jim Clark - 1963 Belgian Grand Prix

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Saturday 20th July 1963

54 years ago

Jim Clark won the British Grand Prix for the second year in succession, driving a Lotus 25. Fellow Brits, John Surtess and Grahma Hill finished second and third.

Jin Clark - 1963 British Grand Prix

Jin Clark - 1963 British Grand Prix

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Sunday 27th October 1963

54 years ago

Team Lotus driver Jim Clark won the first ever Mexican Grand Prix, the penultimate round of the 1963 Formula 1 season, and secured tyre supplier Dunlop their 50th Fastest Lap and 50th Grand Prix victory. The race also marked Graham Hill’s 50th Formula 1 GP. Hill finished 4th behind his team-mate Richie Ginther, tying both BRM drivers at 29 points in the fight for runner-up spot behind already crowned champion Jimmy Clark. This was also the only World Championship Grand Prix where a car raced with the number 13 until Pastor Maldonado selected the number as his permanent race number in 2014.

Jim Clark

Jim Clark

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Wednesday 11th December 1963

53 years ago

Edwin Brailey (42) was killed when the vehicle he was driving crashed at an icy Brands Hatch during the making of a film. He lost control of his sportscar - a Lotus or an Elva, coming out of Clearways and went broadside into the end of the pit barrier.

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Saturday 28th December 1963

53 years ago

Jim Clark won the South African Grand Prix at East London driving a Lotus 25. Winner of the Drivers World Championship in 1963 and 1965, The Times placed the Scot at the top of a list of the greatest Formula One drivers ever in a 2009 poll. Clark was killed in a Formula Two motor-racing accident at Hockenheim in Germany in 1968. At the time of his death, he had won more Grand Prix races (25) and achieved more Grand Prix pole positions (33) than any other driver.

Jim Clark

Jim Clark

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Friday 13th March 1964

53 years ago

Derek Bell participated in his first motor race, a handicap event. He drove a Lotus Seven to victory.

Derek Bell

Derek Bell

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Saturday 11th July 1964

53 years ago

Jim Clark won the first British Grand Prix staged at Brands Hatch following the sale of the famous Aintree course for his third successive win at the event. In the first practice session, Trevor Taylor had a very lucky escape when his foot became caught under the brake pedal of his Lotus BRM. He was heading up to the corner at the top of Hawthorn Hill doing 120 mph at the time, and the car flew over the six foot banking, ripping down telephone cables as it went. Taylor was thrown clear and escaped with a grazed back, although the car was badly damaged. He did start the race, but retired after 23 laps due to the cockpit heat and the pain in his back. Before a crowd of over 100,000, Clark lined up in pole position with Hill and Dan Gurney alongside him, and took an early lead. On the third lap, having already broken the lap record, Gurney stormed into the pits with ignition problems and was never in the hunt after that. John Surtees moved into third, and put all his efforts into trying to catch Hill and Clark. On lap 10, Hill began to close on Clark and the two leaders raced barely feet apart, less than a second between them. The two Ferraris of Surtees and Lorenzo Bandini were settled in third and fourth, until Jack Brabham, despite a spin and a pit stop, whipped through on the inside of Bandini on the 66th lap.It seemed inevitable that Hill would eventually pass Clark, but, just when it was needed, Clark pulled out some extra power from the Lotus and kept him at bay. Hill never gave up, and they fought right to the finish, enthralling the capacity crowd. With this victory Clark kept his advantage over Hill in the championship, leading by 30 points to 26.

1964 British Grand Prix

1964 British Grand Prix

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Sunday 2nd August 1964

53 years ago

The first grand prix car with a transversely mounted twelve-cylinder engine, the 1.5 litre Honda RA271, made its debut, at the 1964 German Grand Prix. The Honda RA271 was Honda's second Formula One racing car, and its first to actually enter a race. It was developed around Honda's revolutionary F1 engine, a 1.5 L V12, at a time when V8s dominated the F1 paddock, as constructed by BRM, Climax, Ferrari and ATS. The only other major manufacturer deviating from the received V8 wisdom were Ferrari, who experimented with both V6 and flat-12 layouts, although they ultimately elected to stick with their V8. No other manufacturers were running V12s at the time. The RA271 made its race debut during the 1964 Formula One season, just one year after Honda started producing road cars, and was the first Japanese-built car ever to enter a round of the FIA Formula One World Championship. The car was initially entered for the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps, but the car was not ready in time. The car actually competed for the first time at the German Grand Prix. As well as Honda's F1 debut, this race was also the debut for their American driver Ronnie Bucknum, and to make things even trickier the race took place on the daunting Nürburgring circuit, widely considered to be one of the most demanding in the world. Of the 24 entrants, only the fastest 22 would qualify. Bucknum was lucky to qualify as he ended the practice sessions third slowest. The two non-qualifiers were the Scirocco-Climax of Belgian driver André Pilette, which was hopelessly off the pace, and Carel Godin de Beaufort, who was killed during the session in a tragic accident at the wheel of his privately entered Porsche 718. Bucknum was some 20 seconds slower than the next slowest competitor, Giancarlo Baghetti at the wheel of a BRM, and almost a minute off the pole time of John Surtees's Ferrari. Despite a poor qualifying, Bucknum had a better race and consistently ran just outside the top ten throughout the race, ahead of many of the independent Lotus and BRM entrants. Despite a spin late in the race, allowing Richie Ginther's BRM to pass him, the reliability of the Honda allowed him to finish 13th as many of his rivals broke down (or crashed in Peter Revson's case), four laps behind winner Surtees. The team then missed the Austrian Grand Prix before returning for the Italian Grand Prix at the iconic Autodromo Nazionale Monza. Bucknum's qualifying was greatly improved as he qualified 10th, ahead of the Brabham of double world champion Jack Brabham and comfortably clear of the mark required to qualify for the race as one of the 20 fastest drivers. He was only three seconds shy of Surtees, who was the pole sitter once again, and this marked a huge improvement for the Japanese team. Although a poor start left him down in 16th, he quickly climbed through the field and ran as high as 7th before a brake failure forced him out of the race on lap 13. His ability to keep pace with the works BRM and Brabham cars in this race gave great hope for the future of Honda in F1. The next race was the United States Grand Prix at Watkins Glen. As there were only 19 entrants, there was no threat of failing to qualify, and Bucknum was well within three seconds of Jim Clark's pole time for Lotus. The high quality of the field, however, meant that he was down in 14th place, although he did outqualify 1961 world champion Phil Hill, now driving for Cooper. He once again ran the race just outside the top ten, fighting for long periods with the Lotuses of Walt Hansgen (works) and Mike Hailwood (RPR) and Richie Ginther's BRM. However, on lap 51 a cylinder head gasket in one of the Honda's twelve cylinders failed, and Bucknum was out of the race. This was to be the end of Honda's debut season, as they did not travel to the final race in Mexico City. The RA271 was replaced for 1965 by the RA272, so its best result remains 13th place at its debut race in Germany. Its best grid place was Bucknum's 10th place at Monza.

Honda RA271

Honda RA271

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Sunday 16th August 1964

53 years ago

The work’s Lotus Cortina of Mike Beckwith and Jackie Stewart won the 12-hour sedan race at Marlboro, Virginia, US.

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Thursday 3rd December 1964

52 years ago

Bobby Marshman (28) died from burns suffered a week earlier in a testing crash in Phoenix Arizona. At Indy earlier that year, Bobby in the Pure Firebird Lotus held the one and four lap record, for a short time, on the first day of qualifying until Jim Clark put him in the middle of the front row for the start. By the fifth lap, Bobby had passed Clark for the lead and was running easily in front until the 38th lap when the Lotus bottomed out and knocked the drain plug out of the gearbox. Bad luck dogged Bobby and the Lotus for the rest of the year. Though he never won a USAC Championship race he was known as a definite threat every time out.

Bobby Marshman

Bobby Marshman

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Saturday 30th January 1965

52 years ago

The Teretonga International at the Teretonga Park Circuit, New Zealand, was won by Jim Clark in a Lotus 32B.

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Sunday 30th May 1965

52 years ago

Paul Hawkins crashed into the harbour during the Monaco Grand Prix at Monte Carlo, which was won by Graham Hill driving a BRM P261. He is one of only two Formula One drivers, along with Italian Alberto Ascari, to have crashed into the harbour in Monaco during a Grand Prix. He escaped from the crash unhurt. Hawkins struck the wooden barrier at the entry and spun through the straw bales and over the edge of the quay and into the harbour. The Lotus sank to the bottom and the rugged Australian bobbed to the surface and struck out for shore, while boats went to his rescue. Italy’s Alberto Ascari in 1955 and Australia’s Paul Hawkins in 1965. Both survived but Ascari died four days later in an accident while testing in Italy. Hawkins lost his life four years later while racing a sports car in Britain.

Paul Hawkins - Monaco Grand Prix - 1965 driving off into the harbor

Paul Hawkins - Monaco Grand Prix - 1965 driving off into the harbor

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Monday 31st May 1965

52 years ago

Jim Clark of Britain became the first non-American winner of the Indianapolis 500, winning in his Lotus at an average speed of 150.69 mph. He is the only driver in history to win the Indy 500 and Formula One World Championship in the same year. Clark actually chose to skip Monaco to compete at Indy.ABC Sports covered the race for the first time on Wide World of Sports. Charlie Brockman anchored the broadcast along with Rodger Ward.

Jim Clark - 1965 Indianapolis 500

Jim Clark - 1965 Indianapolis 500

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Sunday 13th June 1965

52 years ago

The Belgian Grand Prix held at Spa-Francorchamps was won by British driver Jim Clark who led every lap of the race driving a Lotus 33. It was one of the Scot's most dominant wins. In the rain, he pulled away and with a third of the race to go, the Lotus driver was leading his fellow Scotsman Jackie Stewart by 1 minute and 20 seconds. However, for the last six laps Clark eased off dramatically and when the chequered flag was waved his lead was down to just under 45 seconds.

Jim Clark - 1965 Belgium Grand Prix

Jim Clark - 1965 Belgium Grand Prix

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Sunday 27th June 1965

52 years ago

Jim Clark in a Lotus Climax won the French Grand Prix on his way to clinching the World Drivers Championship. This race turned out to be the last win Jim Clark would score with the Lotus 25. It was the last time he ever drove the car in a World Championship race. It was also Clark's third win in four races, and his second grand slam finish of the season.

Clark (6) leads Bandini (4) off the line at the 1965 French Grand Prix

Clark (6) leads Bandini (4) off the line at the 1965 French Grand Prix

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Sunday 1st August 1965

52 years ago

Jim Clark in his Lotus-Climax, took pole position, the fastest lap, and led every lap of the German Grand Prix. This was his 6th win in 7 races. The victory ensured that Clark won the World Drivers' Championship with three races left to go. It also meant that Lotus won the World Constructors' Championship at the same time.

JIm Clark

JIm Clark

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Friday 21st January 1966

51 years ago

The Monte Carlo rally ended in uproar over the disqualification of British cars. The first four to cross the finishing line were Timo Makinen (Finland) driving a British Motor Corporation Mini-Cooper, followed by Roger Clark (Ford Lotus Cortina), and Rauno Aaltonen and Paddy Hopkirk, both also driving BMC Minis. But they were all ruled out of the prizes - with six other British cars for alleged infringements of complex regulations about the way their headlights dipped. The official winner was announced as Pauli Toivonen, a Finn who lived in Paris, driving a Citroen. The British teams' protest to the race organisers was rejected. They boycotted the official farewell dinner held at the International Sporting Club.Prince Rainier of Monaco showed his anger at the disqualifications by leaving the rally before attending the prize-giving which he had always done in previous years. On 13 October 1966, the supreme motor racing and rally tribunal upheld the disqualifications. The Federation Internationale de l'Automobile in Paris said the iodine quartz headlights fitted on the British cars were not standard. The Citroen declared the official winner, which had similar lamps, was approved because the bulbs were fitted as standard on some models.

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Thursday 7th April 1966

51 years ago

Racer Walter Hansgen (46), who enjoyed some early success in the SCCA series, driving a Jaguar-based, self-built Special before being hired by Briggs Cunningham in 1956 and becoming a multiple sports car champion, died. After a stint in Europe in 1958 he began racing in Formula Junior and won a number of races in a Cooper. His shot at Formula 1 came in 1961 when Cunningham agreed to enter him in a Cooper in the United States Grand Prix. He qualified 14th and was doing well in the race until he went off in order to avoid a spinning Olivier Gendebien and wrote off the car. A year later he took part in the non-championship Mexican GP and again did well but retired with mechanical trouble. His 3rd and last opportunity came in 1964 with a 3rd Lotus in the US-GP in which he finished a remarkable 5th. But he stayed in sports cars and in 1966 he and his pupil Mark Donohue shared a Holman Moody Ford GT MKII at Sebring and finished 2nd. Hansgen then went to Indianapolis to test the new Mecom-Lola IndyCar before flying to France for the Le Mans test day. Pushing too hard he went off up an escape road only to find that two large piles of sand had been left there. The car flipped and Walt Hansgen suffered series head injuries from which he died five days later.

Walter Hansgen

Walter Hansgen

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Sunday 24th July 1966

51 years ago

The Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort was the third in succession to be won by Australian driver, 1959 and 1960 world champion, Jack Brabham in his Brabham BT19. Brabham lapped the field on his way to his second Dutch Grand Prix victory to add to his win in 1960. British driver, 1962 world champion Graham Hill finished second in his BRM P261, himself a lap ahead of the rest of the field. Reigning world champion Jim Clark took his first podium finish of the year in his Lotus 33.

Dutch Grand Prix - 1966

Dutch Grand Prix - 1966

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Sunday 28th August 1966

51 years ago

The first British Drag Racing Championship began. This meeting saw the use of handicapped starts for the first time and in the dragster division final Tony Gane hung on to a 2.1 second advantage in his 500cc Rudge engined Wicked Lady, to beat Les Turners blown 1500cc dragster. One of Tonys crew members was a teenager by the name of Dennis Priddle. In the Dragster divisions Allan Herridge took his Cadillac powered rail to a new B class speed record of 129.37. Tony Densham set a new Class E E.T. record of 12.672 in 'The Worden' and J. Fisher set a new F class speed record of 96.58mph in his BMC powered machine. D. Farrell set a new B class Competition Altered E.T. record of 12.980 seconds. In the Sports & GT section G. Tyack took his Cobra to a new E.T. record of 12.750 in the C class. Modified Production saw four new records set. A. Wemyss set a new class B speed record of 107.64 in his Dodge, E. Ellis took his Ford to a new D class E.T. record of 15.617 and B. Harvey took his lotus Cortina to set both ends of the E class record at 16.692/81.97. Production saw J. Watcher set a new B class E.T. record of 14.376 followed by a new speed record of 95.84, while R. Duffell took his Volvo to a new E class speed record of 66.84.

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Sunday 2nd October 1966

51 years ago

The American Grand Prix won by Jim Clark in a Lotus 43 powered by the BRM H-16 – the only 16- cylinder car to win a Grand Prix - at an average speed of 114.94mph.

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Saturday 14th January 1967

50 years ago

The Levin International race in the Tasman Series was won by Jimmy Clark in a Lotus 33. He also set fastest lap and was hounded for much of the race by Jackie Stewart in a BRM P261. Stewart finished a scant 2.5 seconds behind at the finish, with Richard Attwood taking the third spot.

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Saturday 4th February 1967

50 years ago

The sport of Rallycross was born at Lydden, Kent, UK. Rallycross is a form of sprint style automobile racing, held on a closed mixed-surface racing circuit, with modified production or specially built road cars, similar to the World Rally Cars, although usually with about 200 bhp (150 kW) stronger engines, due to e.g. their 45 mm turbo restrictor plates. The sport started as a TV show (with especially invited rally drivers), produced by Robert Reed of ABC television for ITVs World of Sport programme, at Lydden Circuit (between Dover and Canterbury) in Great Britain on this day. The first ever true rallycross was organised by Bud Smith († 1994) and the Tunbridge Wells Centre of the 750 MC, with the aid of Lydden Circuit owner Bill Chesson († 1999), and was won by later Formula One driver as well as 1968 Rally Monte Carlo winner Vic Elford in a showroom Porsche 911 of the British importer AFN, ahead of Brian Melia in his Ford Lotus Cortina and Tony Fall in a BMC Mini Cooper S. After that inaugural event there were another two test rallycrosses at Lydden, on 11 March and 29 July, before the new World of Sport Rallycross Championship for the ABC TV viewers started with round one on 23 September, to be followed by round two on 7 October. The series was run over a total of six rounds (three at Lydden and three at Croft) and was eventually won by Englishman Tony Chappell (Ford Escort TwinCam), who became the first ever British Rallycross champion after winning the final round of the new series on 6 April 1968 at Lydden. Since 1973, Lydden Circuit has seen rounds of Embassy/ERA European Rallycross Championships and FIA European Championships for Rallycross Drivers, the first 23 (till 1996) all organised by the Thames Estuary Automobile Club (TEAC). To this day, Lydden, as the so-called "Home of Rallycross", still holds British Rallycross Championship racing, especially with its popular Easter Monday meeting. Rallycross is mainly popular in the Nordic countries, the Netherlands, Belgium, France and Great Britain. An inexpensive, entry level type of rallycross is the Swedish folkrace or its Norwegian counterpart, the so-called bilcross. The folkrace is most popular in Finland where it was founded back in late 60's. In Europe, rallycross can also refer to racing 1:8 scale off-road radio-controlled buggies.

Hillman Imps in Rallycross (1967)

Hillman Imps in Rallycross (1967)

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Friday 28th April 1967

50 years ago

Lotus Cars Ltd. introduced its new, ultra low, two-door mid-1498cc engine Lotus Europa, with a top speed of 121 mph. The Lotus Europa was unashamedly aimed at lucrative export markets, hence its name - and the choice of Renault drivetrains was taken because of its US compliance and widespread support in Europe. But lest we forget that it was actually one of the very first mid-engined cars you could actually buy for the road - hitting the market within months of the epochal Lamborghini Miura. The Europa used the front-wheel drive Renault 16's running gear, turned around, and placed behind the driver. And to prove the point about European markets, all S1s were exported. The earliest cars had their glassfibre body bonded to the steel chassis, which made repairs troublesome, but that was rectified with the 1969 S2 model. These cars were sold in the UK and came with more equipment including elecric windows. But despite its appealing mechanical layout, the Europa really could do with more power. Lotus answered this in 1971 when it intalled its twin-cam engine, initially in 105bhp form, but followed up by the 126bhp Special a year later. Both the Twin Cam and Special used the Renault 16 gearbox (with an improved gear linkage), though the Specials could also be had with a five-speed version from the 17TS. These twin-cam Europas were easily recognised by their cut-down rear buttresses.

Lotus Europa

Lotus Europa

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Sunday 4th June 1967

50 years ago

The ground-breaking Lotus 49 won on its debut at the Dutch Grand Prix with Jim Clark at the wheel. The car was powered by the Ford-financed Cosworth-built Double Four Valve (DFV) engine.

Lotus 49

Lotus 49

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Sunday 18th June 1967

50 years ago

Giacomo Russo (29) died. Racing under the pseudonym 'Geki', Russo entered Formula 1 as multiple Italian Formula Junior and Formula 3 Champion, initially by renting one of Rob Walker's Brabham-BRMs for the 1965 Italian Grand Prix. He failed to qualify for his home Grand Prix at the time but made the grid with a third Team Lotus entry the following year. After retiring with mechanical trouble in 1965, Geki's third try finally resulted in a good ninth place at the 1966 Italian GP. Besides racing for Alfa Romeo's works sports car team, Geki also occasionally raced in F2 and it was in such an event that he was the victim of a tragic accident at the Caserta circuit. The Italian was the first to arrive at the scene of a massive accident when he suddenly found Beat Fehr on foot in his path. Trying - unsuccessfully - to avoid the Swiss driver, Geki's Matra went out of control and hit a concrete wall. Both drivers died in the accident.

Giacomo Russo

Giacomo Russo

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Sunday 2nd July 1967

50 years ago

Jack Brabham in a Brabham-Repco BT24 won the first French Grand Prix to be held in Le Mans since the first ever running of the race in 1906. The new Bugatti circuit at Le Mans used the main pit straight at Le Mans, which back in 1967 did not have the Dunlop Chicane, but then turned right at "La Chapelle" into an infield section comprising the third gear "Le Musée" left hander and the second gear "Garage Vert" corner which led onto the back straight, whose only distinctive feature was the "Chemin Aux Boeups" left hand kink (now a left-right chicane) some two-thirds along, before heading back to the pit straight via the "S Bleu" and "Raccordement" corners near the entrance to the pits. Graham Hill was on pole and led away for the first lap until Jack Brabham took over. On lap 7 Jim Clark took the lead and Hill passed Brabham to make it a Lotus 1-2. Hill then retook the lead until his crown-wheel and pinion failed on lap 14. The same problem caused Clark's retirement from the lead on lap 23, leaving Brabham ahead of Dan Gurney, Chris Amon and Denny Hulme. On lap 41 a fuel line broke on Gurney's car, making it a Brabham 1-2 and Amon's throttle cable broke several laps later. Brabham drove home serenely to win his first race in eight Grands Prix by 49.5 seconds from team mate Hulme, and over a lap in front of the BRM of Jackie Stewart.

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Sunday 2nd July 1967

50 years ago

The first Formula Ford race was staged at Brands Hatch, England. Of the 20 cars that competed, 10 were MRS Lotus 51s, including the eventual winner, Ray Allan. Formula Ford is not a one-make championship. It allows freedom of chassis design, engine build and numerous technical items of specification on the car. This opens the door to many chassis manufacturers, large and small. Many other single-seater formulae impose fixed specifications. Only two other professional single seater racing formulae in the world offer the same freedom of chassis and engine build: Formula Three and Formula One.

Denis Hulme testing a 1967 Formula Ford

Denis Hulme testing a 1967 Formula Ford

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Saturday 15th July 1967

50 years ago

Jim Clark kick-started his faltering season with victory in the British Grand Prix. Lotus had the fastest car but struggled with transmission problems - both cars had retired while running 1-2 in the French Grand Prix a fortnight earlier - but as Clark and Graham Hill dominated all seemed to be right at Silverstone. Hill led up to the 55th lap when his car suffered from a rear suspension issues and then engine failure, but Clark held on.

Jim Clark - 1967 British Grand Prix

Jim Clark - 1967 British Grand Prix

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Sunday 1st October 1967

50 years ago

Jim Clark finished six seconds ahead of Lotus teammate Graham Hill after nursing his limping car through the final two laps, to win his third and final American Grand Prix. It was the Scot's third win of the season, and the twenty-third of his career. The following April, Clark was killed in a Formula Two race in Germany, but two more wins (in Mexico and South Africa) had already made him the driver in Grand Prix history to win 25 Grands Prix, one more than Argentina's Juan Manuel Fangio.

Jim Clark in a Lotus 49 - 1967 United States Grand Prix

Jim Clark in a Lotus 49 - 1967 United States Grand Prix

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Monday 8th January 1968

49 years ago

Advertising appeared on a Grand Prix car for the first time when Jim Clark put his John Player Gold Leaf Lotus 49 on pole for the non-championship New Zealand Grand Prix at Pukekohe.

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Wednesday 17th January 1968

49 years ago

Ford officially unveiled ‘The new Escort: the small car that isn’t’. It was initially available as a two-door saloon with 1,098-cc or 1,298-cc engines. A Deluxe cost £635 9s 7d, which included purchase tax and delivery. A-high performance twin-cam model, costing £1,123, was also unveiled. The Escort replaced the successful, long-running Anglia. The car was presented in continental Europe as a product of Ford's European operation. Escort production commenced at the Halewood plant in England during the closing months of 1967, and for left hand drive markets during September 1968 at the Ford plant in Genk. Initially the continental Escorts differed slightly from the UK built ones under the skin. The front suspension and steering gear were differently configured and the brakes were fitted with dual hydraulic circuits; also the wheels fitted on the Genk-built Escorts had wider rims. At the beginning of 1970, continental European production transferred to a new plant on the edge of Saarlouis, West Germany. The Escort was a commercial success in several parts of western Europe, but nowhere more than in the UK, where the national best seller of the 1960s, BMC's Austin/Morris 1100 was beginning to show its age while Ford's own Cortina had grown, both in dimensions and in price, beyond the market niche at which it had originally been pitched. In June 1974, six years into the car's UK introduction, Ford announced the completion of the two millionth Ford Escort, a milestone hitherto unmatched by any Ford model outside the US. It was also stated that 60% of the two million Escorts had been built in Britain. In West Germany cars were built at a slower rate of around 150,000 cars per year, slumping to 78,604 in 1974 which was the last year for the Escort Mark I. Many of the German built Escorts were exported, notably to Benelux and Italy; from the West German domestic market perspective the car was cramped and uncomfortable when compared with the well-established and comparably priced Opel Kadett, and it was technically primitive when set against the successful imported Fiat 128 and Renault 12. Subsequent generations of the Escort made up some of the ground foregone by the original model, but in Europe's largest auto-market the Escort sales volumes always came in well behind those of the General Motors Kadett and its Astra successor. Just over two months after the launch of the saloon/sedan, Ford announced a three-door station wagon / estate version of their new Escort. The Escort had conventional rear-wheel drive and a four-speed manual gearbox, or three-speed automatic transmission. The suspension consisted of MacPherson strut front suspension and a simple live axle mounted on leaf springs. The Escort was the first small Ford to use rack-and-pinion steering. The Mark I featured contemporary styling cues in tune with its time: a subtle Detroit-inspired "Coke bottle" waistline and the "dogbone" shaped front grille – arguably the car's main stylistic feature. Similar Coke bottle styling featured in the larger Cortina Mark III (also built in West Germany as the Taunus) launched in 1970. Less than two years after launch, Ford offered a four-door version of the Escort.Initially, the Escort was sold as a two-door saloon (with circular front headlights and rubber flooring on the "De Luxe" model). The "Super" model featured rectangular headlights, carpets, a cigar lighter and a water temperature gauge. A two-door estate was introduced at the end of March 1968 which, with the back seat folded down, provided a 40% increase in maximum load space over the old Anglia 105E estate, according to the manufacturer. The estate featured the same engine options as the saloon, but it also included a larger, 7 1⁄2-inch-diameter (190 mm) clutch, stiffer rear springs and in most configurations slightly larger brake drums or discs than the saloon.[11] A panel van appeared in April 1968 and the 4-door saloon (a bodystyle the Anglia was never available in for UK market) in 1969. Underneath the bonnet was the Kent Crossflow engine also used in the smallest capacity North American Ford Pinto. Diesel engines on small family cars were rare, and the Escort was no exception, initially featuring only petrol engines – in 1.1 L, and 1.3 L versions. A 940 cc engine was also available in some export markets such as Italy and France. This tiny engine remained popular in Italy, where it was carried over for the Escort Mark II, but in France it was discontinued during 1972. There was a 1300GT performance version, with a tuned 1.3 L Crossflow (OHV) engine with a Weber carburetor and uprated suspension. This version featured additional instrumentation with a tachometer, battery charge indicator, and oil pressure gauge. The same tuned 1.3 L engine was also used in a variation sold as the Escort Sport, that used the flared front wings from the AVO range of cars, but featured trim from the more basic models. Later, an "executive" version of the Escort was produced known as the "1300E". This featured the same 13" road wheels and flared wings of the Sport, but was trimmed in an upmarket, for that time, fashion with wood trim on the dashboard and door cappings. A higher performance version for rallies and racing was available, the Escort Twin Cam, built for Group 2 international rallying.[13] It had an engine with a Lotus-made eight-valve twin camshaft head fitted to the 1.5 L non-crossflow block, which had a bigger bore than usual to give a capacity of 1,557 cc. This engine had originally been developed for the Lotus Elan. Production of the Twin Cam, which was originally produced at Halewood, was phased out as the Cosworth-engined RS1600 (RS denoting Rallye Sport) production began. The most famous edition of the Twin Cam was raced on behalf of Ford by Alan Mann Racing in the British Saloon Car Championship in 1968 and 1969, sporting a full Formula 2 Ford FVC 16-valve engine producing over 200 hp. The Escort, driven by Australian driver Frank Gardner went on to comfortably win the 1968 championship. The Mark I Escorts became successful as a rally car, and they eventually went on to become one of the most successful rally cars of all time.[14] The Ford works team was practically unbeatable in the late 1960s / early 1970s, and arguably the Escort's greatest victory was in the 1970 London to Mexico World Cup Rally, co-driven by Finnish legend Hannu Mikkola and Swedish co-driver Gunnar Palm. This gave rise to the Escort Mexico (1598cc "crossflow"-engined) special edition road versions in honour of the rally car. Introduced in November 1970, 10,352 Mexico Mark I's were built. In addition to the Mexico, the RS1600 was developed with 1,601 cc Cosworth BDA which used a Crossflow block with a 16-valve Cosworth cylinder head, named for "Belt Drive A Series". Both the Mexico and RS1600 were built at Ford's Advanced Vehicle Operations (AVO) facility located at the Aveley Plant in South Essex. As well as higher performance engines and sports suspension, these models featured strengthened bodyshells utilising seam welding in places of spot welding, making them more suitable for competition. After updating the factory team cars with a larger 1701 cc Cosworth BDB engine in 1972 and then with fuel injected BDC, Ford also produced an RS2000 model as an alternative to the somewhat temperamental RS1600, featuring a 2.0 L Pinto (OHC) engine. This also clocked up some rally and racing victories; and pre-empted the hot hatch market as a desirable but affordable performance road car. Like the Mexico and RS1600, this car was produced at the Aveley plant. The Escort was built in Germany and Britain, as well as in Australia and New Zealand. The Ford Escort was manufactured by Ford Europe from 1968 to 2004. The Ford Escort name was also applied to several different small cars produced in North America by Ford between 1981 and 2003. In 2014, Ford revived the Escort name for a car based on the second-generation Ford Focus sold on the Chinese market.

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Saturday 20th January 1968

49 years ago

Three weeks after winning the South African Formula 1 Grand Prix, Jim Clark debuted the new red and white Golden Leaf Team Lotus livery with golden linings at the 3rd round of the 1968 Tasman series by clinching the Lady Wigram Trophy in New Zealand. Contrary to some reports Lotus wasn't the first team to introduce non-automotive sponsorship. The first ever full sponsorship livery shown to the public on a race car at an international motor racing event had already appeared at the South African Grand Prix, courtesy of Team Gunston. The first Company to line up two fully liveried Formula 1 cars at the grid of a Grand Prix was the Gunston Cigarette Company of Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe. Gunston introduced tobacco sponsorship to motor racing when they sponsored Rhodesian drivers John Love and Sam Tingle in the 1968 South African Championship for F1 and F5000 machinery.

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Sunday 11th February 1968

49 years ago

Jim Clark drove his Lotus 49-Ford to victory in round 5 of the Tasman series, a 100 mile race at Surfers Paradise International Motor Circuit, Queensland, Australia. Practice the day before was marred by confusion over on car advertisements and overseas driver's permits. The Australian sanctioning body (CAMS) did not yet allow advertising to appear on the cars. This had not been a problem in the New Zealand rounds as New Zealand's sanctioning body was affiliated with England's RAC, which had recently approved advertising and did not require permits where as the Australian governing body was directly affiliated with the FIA. Lotus and BRM did not conform to the advert rule and, as such, weren't allowed to compete in the 10 lap preliminary event.

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Sunday 7th April 1968

49 years ago

The wee Scot, Jim Clark OBE (32), from Kilmany, Fife - one of the greatest grand prix racers of all time, died in a tragic accident during a Formula 2 race in Hockenheim, Germany. Clark, widely regarded as the most naturally gifted Formula One racer of all time, competed his entire career on behalf of Colin Chapman's Team Lotus. He won two World Championships, in 1963 and in 1965. Clark's 1965 season is undoubtedly the sport's greatest individual achievement. At the time of his death, he had won more Grand Prix races (25) and achieved more Grand Prix pole positions (33) than any other driver. In 2009, The Times placed Clark at the top of a list of the greatest-ever Formula One drivers. His first Drivers' World Championship came driving the Lotus 25 in 1963, winning seven out of the ten races and Lotus its first Constructors' World Championship. Clark's record of seven wins in a season would not be equalled until 1984 when Frenchman Alain Prost won seven races for McLaren. The record would not be broken until Brazilian Ayrton Senna won eight races in the 1988 season, also for McLaren (ironically, Senna's team mate that year was Prost who again equalled the old record by winning 7 races). However, Clark's record is favourable compared to Prost and Senna's as the 1963 championship only consisted of 10 rounds (giving Clark a 70% success rate), while 1984 and 1988 were run over 16 rounds giving Prost a success rate of 43.75% and Senna a 50% winning ratio. In 1963 he also competed in the Indianapolis 500 for the first time, and he finished in second position behind Parnelli Jones and won Rookie of the Year honours. The 1963 Indy 500 result remains controversial. Before the race United States Auto Club (USAC) officials had told the drivers that they would black flag any car that was seen to be leaking oil onto the track. Late in the race, Jones' front-engined roadster developed a crack in the oil tank and began to leak oil. With the track surface already being slippery this resulted in a number of cars spinning and led to popular driver Eddie Sachs crashing into the outside wall. USAC officials were set to black flag Jones after the Sachs crash until his car owner J. C. Agajanian ran down pit lane and somehow convinced them that the oil leak was below the level of a known crack and would not leak any further. Colin Chapman later accused USAC officials of being biased because Clark and Lotus were a British team with a rear-engine car. Many, including journalist and author Brock Yates, believed that had it been an American driver and car in second place instead of Clark in the British built Lotus, officials would have black flagged Jones. Despite this neither Lotus or their engine supplier Ford protested the result, reasoning that winning as a result of a disqualification when Jones had led for 167 of the races 200 laps (Clark led for 28 laps) and had set the lap record speed of 151.541 mp/h on lap 114, would not be well received by the public. In 1964 Clark came within just a few laps of retaining his World Championship crown, but just as in 1962, an oil leak from the engine robbed him of the title, this time conceding to John Surtees. Tyre failure damaging the Lotus' suspension put paid to that year's attempt at the Indianapolis 500.[9] He made amends and won the Championship again in 1965 and also the Indianapolis 500 in the Lotus 38. Jim Clark in the Lotus pit at the German GP 1964. He had to miss the prestigious Monaco Grand Prix in order to compete at Indianapolis, but made history by driving the first mid-engined car to win at the fabled "Brickyard," as well as becoming the only driver to date (2014) to win both the Indy 500 and the F1 title in the same year. Other drivers, including Graham Hill, Mario Andretti, Emerson Fittipaldi and Jacques Villeneuve have also won both crowns, but not in the same year. At the same time, Clark was competing in the Australasia based Tasman series, run for older F1 cars, and was series champion in 1965, 1967 and 1968 driving for Lotus. He won fourteen races in all, a record for the series. This included winning the 1968 Australian Grand Prix at the Sandown International Raceway in Melbourne where he defeated the Ferrari 246T of Chris Amon by just 0.1 seconds after 55 laps of the 3.1 km (1.92 mi) circuit, the closest finish in the history of the Australian Grand Prix. The 1968 Tasman Series and Australian Grand Prix would prove to be his last major wins before his untimely death. He is remembered for his ability to drive and win in all types of cars and series, including a Lotus-Cortina, with which he won the 1964 British Touring Car Championship; IndyCar; Rallying, where he took part in the 1966 RAC Rally of Great Britain in a Lotus Cortina; and sports cars. He competed in the Le Mans 24 Hour race in 1959, 1960 and 1961, finishing second in class in 1959 driving a Lotus Elite, and finishing third overall in 1960, driving an Aston Martin DBR1. He took part in a NASCAR event, driving a 7-litre Holman Moody Ford at the American 500 at the banked speedway at Rockingham on 29 October 1967. He was also able to master difficult Lotus sportscar prototypes such as the Lotus 30 and 40. Clark had an uncanny ability to adapt to whichever car he was driving. Whilst other drivers would struggle to find a good car setup, Clark would usually set competitive lap times with whatever setup was provided and ask for the car to be left as it was. He apparently had difficulty understanding why other drivers were not as quick as himself. When Clark died, fellow driver Chris Amon was quoted as saying, "If it could happen to him, what chance do the rest of us have? I think we all felt that. It seemed like we'd lost our leader."Jim Clark is buried in the village of Chirnside in Berwickshire. A memorial stone can be found at the Hockenheimring circuit, moved from the site of his crash to a location closer to the current track, and a life-size statue of him in racing overalls stands by the bridge over a small stream in the village of his birth, Kilmany in Fife. A small museum, which is known as The Jim Clark Room, can be found in Duns. The Jim Clark Trophy was introduced in the 1987 Formula One season for drivers of cars with naturally aspirated engines but was discontinued after turbo-charged engines were restricted in 1988 and dropped for 1989. The Jim Clark Memorial Award is an annual award given by the Association of Scottish Motoring Writers to Scots who have contributed significantly to transport and motor sport.[19] The Jim Clark Rally is an annual event held in Berwickshire. Clark was an inaugural inductee into the Scottish Sports Hall of Fame in 2002. The FIA decreed from 1966, new 3-litre engine regulations would come into force. Lotus were less competitive. Starting with a 2-litre Coventry-Climax engine in the Lotus 33, Clark did not score points until the British Grand Prix and a third place at the following Dutch Grand Prix. From the Italian Grand Prix onwards Lotus used the highly complex BRM H16 engine in the Lotus 43 car, with which Clark won the United States Grand Prix. He also picked up another second place at the Indianapolis 500, this time behind Graham Hill.

Jim Clark

Jim Clark

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Tuesday 7th May 1968

49 years ago

British driver Mike Spence (31), who participated in 37 Formula One World Championship Grands Prix (1 podium, and scored a total of 27 championship points, died. During practice at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Spence driving the #60 Lotus 56 turbocar (later qualified and driven by Joe Leonard), ran a lap of 169.555 mph - fastest of the month so far. Later in the afternoon, Spence was asked by Chapman to take out turbocar #30 for a test run after driver Greg Weld had difficulty getting the car up to speed. Spence quickly got the car to a lap of 163 mph, but on his second lap he misjudged his entry to turn one and collided heavily with the concrete wall. The right-front wheel of the Lotus swiveled backwards into the cockpit and struck Spence on the helmet. Mike Spence died in the hospital later that evening at 9:45pm from massive head injuries. His fastest lap speed set earlier that day would remain unsurpassed for the next five practice days.

Mike Spence

Mike Spence

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Sunday 26th May 1968

49 years ago

Lotus driver Graham Hill, who started from pole position, won the Monaco Grand Prix. Richard Attwood, driving for BRM, gained second place and recorded the fastest lap, while Lucien Bianchi finished in third position in a Cooper, in what was to be these drivers' only podium finishes. Johnny Servoz-Gavin took the lead from Hill at the start, while Bruce McLaren took out the other Lotus of Jackie Oliver at the chicane on the first lap. Servoz-Gavin was struck by bad luck on lap 3 when he suffered a drive shaft failure and crashed. This set the tone for the rest of the race, when after a series of accidents and mechanical failures, only five cars finished the race, with everyone from 3rd-place finishing at least four laps down on eventual winner Hill, who cemented his reputation as "Mr. Monaco"[3] by taking his fourth win in the principality. It was however a close finish, with BRM replacement Richard Attwood surprising by finishing just 2 seconds behind the Englishman. Even though Hill broke the Monaco lap record three times during the race, it was Attwood who ultimately recorded fastest lap, the only one of his career.

Monaco Grand Prix - 1968

Monaco Grand Prix - 1968

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Thursday 30th May 1968

49 years ago

On lap 174 of the Indianapolis 500 Lloyd Ruby’s engine misfired allowing Joe Leonard’s STP Lotus turbine into the lead. Leonard’s leading Lotus flamed out on a lap 190 restart and rolled to a silent halt. Bobby Unser sailed by to win. Jim Hurtubise's entry, which dropped out after nine laps, was the last front-engine car to race in the 500.

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Sunday 9th June 1968

49 years ago

The McLaren team scored its first victory at the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa with founder Bruce McLaren at the wheel. The appearance of wings on the Lotus at Monaco did not go unnoticed and for the Belgian GP various teams arrived with experimental wings on the cars. McLaren thought he had finished second when he crossed the line but unbeknown to him, race leader Jackie Stewart had run out of fuel and been forced to pit at the start of the final lap. There was also a nasty crash when Brian Redman's Cooper flipped and burst into flames. He escaped with a broken arm and minor burns. Only 5 of the 23 cars that started managed to reach the finish line.

The noisy start of the 1968 Belgian Grand Prix.

The noisy start of the 1968 Belgian Grand Prix.

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Saturday 20th July 1968

49 years ago

Contested over 80 laps, the British Grand Prix was won by Jo Siffert, his first Formula One victory, and the first victory by a Swiss driver. The dreadful 1968 season had seen four Formula 1 drivers killed between April and July in a variety of racing machinery. British fans has lost both Jim Clark and Mike Spence but Graham Hill arrived at Brands Hatch with a big lead in the World Championship and with seven other British drivers in the 20-car field there was plenty for the fans to cheer. The only major change from the miserable French GP (where Honda driver Jo Schlesser had been killed) was the arrival in the Cooper-BRM team of Robin Widdows. The cars had sprouted increasingly dramatic rear wings in an effort to get as much downforce as possible. Qualifying showed that Team Lotus was dominant with Hill fastest by half a second and Jack Oliver alongside him. Chris Amon completed the front row in his Ferrari. On the second row Jo Siffert (Rob Walker Lotus) lined up alongside Jochen Rindt's Brabham while the third row featured Dan Gurney (back in action after missing several races in his Eagle-Weslake because of engine problems), Jack Stewart in Ken Tyrrell's Matra-Ford and Jack Brabham's Brabham. There was light rain at the start (for the third consecutive race) and Oliver took the lead from Hill and Siffert. The leading Lotus was trailing smoke and on the fourth lap Oliver was overtaken by Hill. Despite the smoke trail Oliver remained second. On the 27th lap. however, Hill went out with a rear suspension failure and so Oliver went back into the lead. behind him Siffert fought for second place with Amon but gradually the Lotus driver moved away. On lap 44 Oliver came to a halt with a transmission failure and so Siffert inherited the lead and went on to win Rob Walker's first victory in seven years. The Ferraris of Amon and Ickx came home second and third.

British Grand Prix - 1968

British Grand Prix - 1968

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Thursday 7th November 1968

49 years ago

Ian Raby (46) died three months after a serious accident at Zandvoort in a Formula Two race. He was initially treated in the Netherlands before being flown back to a London hospital by the Grand Prix Medical Service and appeared to be recovering before his condition worsened. A superstitious man, he carried a rabbit's foot, preferred red cars with white wheels and refused to race under No. 13. He participated in 7 World Championship Formula One Grands Prix, debuting on 20 July 1963 in the British Grand Prix, where he retired on Lap 60. He scored no championship points. He was a garage-owner in Brighton, Sussex trading as Empire Cars Ltd. As a privateer he came to Formula One late in life. Raby started racing about 1953 and drove an assortment of cars, many with the name "puddle jumper" written on the side. He is remembered for the I.E.R. Midget F3 car of 1954. He won the 500 c.c. racing car class in a Cooper at the Brighton Speed Trials in 1955. Raby finished 15th in the 1957 24 Hours of Le Mans, sharing a Cooper-Climax T39 with Jack Brabham. He won the first Formula Junior race to be held in Britain, at Brands Hatch on 3 August 1959 driving the one-off Moorland car.[4] On 12 June 1960 he won a heat and finished second overall in the Albi Grand Prix, France, for Formula Junior cars. Later that year he won a Formula Libre race at Mallory Park in a Cooper-Climax F2. On 9 May 1963 he took third place in the non-championship F1 Rome Grand Prix at Vallelunga in a Gilby-B.R.M. V8. At the Solitude Grand Prix he was still running at the end but not classified, and he retired in the Oulton Park Gold Cup. He switched to a Brabham-B.R.M. for 1964 but the car often let him down, non-starting in the Italian Grand Prix at Monza.He managed an eighth at Syracuse in the Brabham in 1965, selling the car prior to the Italian Grand Prix that year. As Formula One switched to 3-litres for 1966 Ian Raby opted to race in Formula Two. An F2 Brabham-Ford Lotus twin-cam for 1967 produced an eighth place at Snetterton on 24 March. Another eighth place at Hockenheim in June only highlighted the lack of a de rigueur Cosworth FVA engine. Back at Hockenheim on 9 July, Raby managed fifth place against his more powerful rivals.

Ian Raby

Ian Raby

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Tuesday 17th December 1968

48 years ago

The London-Sydney Rally which had started from the Crystal Palace racing circuit in London at 2pm on Sunday, November 24th 1968, finished at Warwick Farm (an outer Sydney suburb), in Australia. Roger Clark established an early lead through the first genuinely treacherous leg, from Sivas to Erzincan in Turkey, averaging almost 60 mph in his Lotus Cortina for the 170 mile stage. Despite losing time in Pakistan and India, he maintained his lead to the end of the Asian section in Bombay, with Simo Lampinen's Ford Taunus second and Lucien Bianchi's DS21 in third. However, once into Australia, Clark suffered several setbacks. A piston failure dropped him to third, and would have cost him a finish had he not been able to cannibalise fellow Ford Motor Company driver Eric Jackson's car for parts. After repairs were effected, he suffered what should have been a terminal rear differential failure. Encountering a Cortina by the roadside, he persuaded the initially reluctant owner to sell his rear axle and resumed once more, although at the cost of 80 minutes' delay while it was replaced. This left Lucien Bianchi and co-driver Jean-Claude Ogier in the lead ahead of Gilbert Staepelaere/Simo Lampinen in the German Ford Taunus, with Andrew Cowan in the Hillman Hunter 3rd. Then Staepelaere's Taunus broke down leaving Cowan in second position and Paddy Hopkirk's Austin 1800 in third place. Approaching the Nowra checkpoint at the end of the penultimate stage with only 98 miles to Sydney, the Frenchmen were involved in a head-on collision which wrecked their Citroën and hospitalised the pair. Hopkirk, the first driver on the scene (ahead of Cowan on the road, but behind on penalties), gave up any chance of victory when he stopped to tend to the injured and extinguish the flames in the burning cars. That left Andrew Cowan, who had requested "a car to come last" from the Chrysler factory on the assumption that only half a dozen drivers would even reach Sydney, to take an unexpected victory in his Hillman Hunter and claim the £10,000 prize. Hopkirk finished second, while Australian Ian Vaughan was third in a factory-entered Ford XT Falcon GT. Ford Australia won the Teams' Prize with their three Falcons GTs, placing 3rd, 6th and 8th.

The banner for the original London-Sydney Marathon

The banner for the original London-Sydney Marathon

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Sunday 30th March 1969

48 years ago

Lucien Bianchi (34) died when his Alfa Romeo T33 spun into a telegraph pole during Le Mans testing. He won the 1957, 1958 and 1959 Tour de France as well as the Paris 1000 sports car race in the latter two years. Bianchi entered Formula One in 1959, although only with sporadic appearances at first. He drove various cars under the banner of the ENB team, including a Cooper T51, a Lotus 18 and an Emeryson. After a couple of races for the UDT Laystall team in 1961, driving another Lotus, he returned to ENB for whom he drove their ENB-Maserati. He finally secured a more regular drive in Formula One in 1968, with the Cooper-BRM team, although success was elusive despite a bright start. Bianchi managed his best Formula One performance, finishing third at the 1968 Monaco Grand Prix, in his first race for Cooper. Bianchi also raced touring cars, sports cars and rally cars, being successful in all disciplines, his biggest victories coming in the 1968 24 Hours of Le Mans, behind the wheel of a Ford GT40 with Pedro Rodríguez and at Sebring in 1962 with Jo Bonnier. He was also leading the London-Sydney Marathon when his Citroën DS collided with a non-competing car.

Lucien Bianchi

Lucien Bianchi

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Sunday 7th September 1969

48 years ago

Jackie Stewart took his sixth victory of the season at Monza and in so doing secured his first world championship with three races remaining. It was hardly a surprise as he started the day needing only six points, and even then had he failed, Jacky Ickx, Bruce McLaren or Graham Hill would have needed to win all four remaining rounds. However, the race itself was a classic with a thrilling finish. Jochen Rindt in his Lotus-Ford qualified quickest on a sultry Saturday although less than a second separated the first five drivers which included Stewart in third. Stewart squeezed through Rindt and Denny Hulme on the first lap but there then followed a bitter contest which at times featured as many as seven cars within striking distance of each other. After 20 laps three-and-a-half seconds split the seven. John Surtees had an early escape when Hill's exhaust pipe fell off and part of it hit him on the head. That had less of an effect than his engine also being damaged. His BRM team-mate Jackie Oliver also had troubles, having to pit when his fire extinguisher was hanging off. The lead swapped between the seven until Stewart took the lead on the 23rd lap, and thereafter it was a charging Hill who posed the main threat, although Rindt, McLaren and Piers Courage were almost side-by-side behind the leaders. Jean-Pierre Beltoise in a Matra charged through the pack to challenge Hill, taking second when Hill's Lotus cruised to a stop on the 64th lap. "Stewart's car was too fast," Hill shrugged. "I could never manage to overtake." On the last lap the 100,000 spectators stood cheering as Stewart, Beltoise, Rindt and McLaren stormed round the circuit at times almost inseparable. Beltoise lead out of the Parabolica but that allowed Stewart and Rindt to slipstream him. As the line approached The Times reported Stewart "by what seemed a stroke of magic urged his car ahead of Rindt by a nose - officially 8/100ths of a second - to win the most thrilling grand prix battle I have seen". So close was the finish that 0.19 seconds covered the first four home. "I had wanted to win in the most convincing way possible," Stewart said. "We had an absolutely terrific scrap, I feel utterly exhausted. But at this moment I couldn't be happier." Stewart's day wasn't over yet as fans poured onto the circuit to celebrate and he and his wife were forced to escape from Monza by climbing out of a washroom window and then hiding in the Dunlop truck before he could be smuggled away.

n the Italian Grand Prix for Vanwall ahead of the Ferrari pair of Mike Hawthorn and Phil Hill. This victory gave Van

n the Italian Grand Prix for Vanwall ahead of the Ferrari pair of Mike Hawthorn and Phil Hill. This victory gave Van

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Sunday 5th October 1969

48 years ago

Jochen Rindt, driving a Lotus 49B-Ford, won his first Grand Prix, the US Grand Prix at Watkins Glen, New York.

Jochen Rindt

Jochen Rindt

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Sunday 26th April 1970

47 years ago

Derek Bell drove his Brabham BT30 to a flag to flag victory in the F2 'Barcelona Grand Prix' around the scenic Montjuich Park circuit. Bell crossed the line 22 seconds ahead of Henri Pescarolo, also in a Brabham BT30. Emerson Fittipaldi finished a lap back in 3rd in a Lotus 69.

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Sunday 26th April 1970

47 years ago

"I've been trying to win a Formula 1 race for seven years, and it's very nice to have done it at last." were the words Chris Amon said after winning the non-championship F1 'International Trophy' on the Silverstone circuit. With the damage and death at the Spanish Grand Prix and the conflict with the Sports Car 1000Km at Monza, a small entry was expected so organizers made the race a combined F1/Formula 5000 event. BRM withdrew due to their stub axle failures in Spain and Surtees due to engine shortages, but even so, 11 F1 and 14 F5000 cars lined up. The front row was Amon, Jackie Stewart, Denis Hulme and Pete Gethin, who was fastest of the F5000 cars. Team Lotus' Jochen Rindt lined up in row 5 (18th) and John Miles row 7 (23rd). Hulme was first away at the drop of the green, but Amon took the lead under braking for Stowe Corner and had a lead of 100 yards by the end of lap 1. Jack Brabham moved into 2nd when Hulme pitted to have a front wheel tightened. The 72s looked twitchy. For a while it looked like Brabham might catch Amon, but then he dropped back a little before the engine failed on his Brabham-Ford on lap 23. From there, Amon went on to take the win in the first segment. Having set the angle of his front wings by guesswork, Stewart was fighting understeer and did well to finish 12.1 seconds behind with Courage 3rd having come from last (25th) on the grid. A lap down to Amon, Gethin won the F5000 category. Rain between segments, with a threat of more, led to a half hour delay as teams sorted out which tire to use. In the end, Amon, Stewart, Courage and Rindt chose intermediates, the McLaren team on rain tires and Hill gambled by going with dry tires on his Rob Walker Lotus. When the flag finally fell, Stewart went into the lead over Amon and Gethin. For a few laps, Stewart pulled away and looked like he might make up the deficit from segment 1, but soon Amon started to close the gap and by lap 10 was right on the tail of Stewart's car. Rindt was getting nowhere with the new Lotus and pitted to retire on lap 7, followed shortly by teammate Miles with a broken throttle pedal. Stewart did a masterful drive to stay ahead of Amon, lapping within 2 seconds of the lap record while on a slick surface. Hulme lost 3rd place when he ran out of fuel with 3 laps to go and Gethin lost the F5000 overall win when a rocker arm broke. Amon backed off when one of the exhaust pipes came loose on Stewart's Ken Tyrell entred March and Stewart went on to cross the line 1.9 seconds ahead of Amon, who picked up the overall win. Afterwards, Amon said: "I didn't want to be put out by a silly thing like that. If I won races every week I would probably have had a go at getting past him, but there wasn't any point." With Gethin's retirement, Frank Gardner took the F5000 win for segment 2, but Mike Hailwood claimed the overall F5000 win on aggregate.

Chris Amon

Chris Amon

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Sunday 21st June 1970

47 years ago

The wedge-shaped Lotus 72, with side-mounted radiators, made its debut. Jochen Rindt drove the car to its first victory at the Dutch Grand Prix. The race sadly claimed the life of driver Piers Courage (28)

Lotus 72

Lotus 72

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Saturday 1st August 1970

47 years ago

George Follmer drove a Ford-powered Lotus 70 to victory in the L&M Continental Formula A race at St. Jovite, Quebec, Canada.

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Sunday 16th August 1970

47 years ago

Jackie Ickx won the Austrian Grand Prix driving a Ferrari 312B finishing six tenths of a second ahead of team mate Clay Regazzoni, and Brabham’s Rolf Stomelen taking his first and only podium. But none of that was in the script. The first Grand Prix at the Österreichring was supposed to be Jochen Rindt’s race. It was his first home Grand Prix on Austria’s new home for motorsport: a purpose-built circuit to replace the circuit at Zeltweg airfield. Everybody wanted to see the world championship leader take his Lotus to victory in his own back yard, but a technical problem sent him out of the race. The next fault was to cost him his life, and the 1970 Austrian Grand Prix was to be the last race won by F1’s only posthumous World Champion.

1970 Austrian Grand Prix

1970 Austrian Grand Prix

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Saturday 5th September 1970

47 years ago

Jochen Rindt (28) lost his life in an accident during qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix at Monza. Denny Hulme, who was following Rindt at the time, described the accident as follows: "Jochen was following me for several laps and slowly catching me up and I didn't go through the second Lesmo corner very quick so I pulled to the one side and let Jochen past me and then I followed him down into the Parabolica, [...] we were going very fast and he waited until about the 200 metres to put on the brakes. The car just sort of went to the right and then it turned to the left and turned out to the right again and then suddenly just went very quickly left into the guardrail" Upon impact, a joint in the crash barrier parted, the suspension dug in under the barrier, and the car hit a stanchion head-on. The front end of the car was destroyed. Although the 28-year-old Rindt was rushed to hospital, he was pronounced dead. The German-born driver, who drove for Austria throughout his career, had a 20-point lead in the world championship and, as none of his rivals were able to exceed his total of 45 points by the end of the season, he became the sport’s first and only posthumous champion. Rindt started motor racing in 1961, switching to single-seaters in 1963, earning success in both Formula Junior and Formula Two. In 1964, Rindt made his debut in Formula One at the Austrian Grand Prix, before securing a full drive with Cooper for 1965. After mixed success with the team, he moved to Brabham for 1968 and then Lotus in 1969. It was at Lotus where Rindt found a competitive car, although he was often concerned about the security of the notoriously unreliable Lotus vehicles. He won his first Formula One race at the 1969 United States Grand Prix. Overall, he competed in 62 Grands Prix, winning six and achieving 13 podium finishes. He was also successful in sports car racing, winning the 1965 24 Hours of Le Mans, paired with Masten Gregory in a Ferrari 250LM.

Jochen Rindt

Jochen Rindt

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Sunday 4th October 1970

47 years ago

Jochem Rindt (28), who tragically died the previous month during practice for the Italian Grand Prix when his Lotus 72 went out of control and hit the Armco barrier head on, was posthumously awarded the World Drivers Championship crown. Rindt started motor racing in 1961, switching to single-seaters in 1963, earning success in both Formula Junior and Formula Two. In 1964, Rindt made his debut in Formula One at the Austrian Grand Prix, before securing a full drive with Cooper for 1965. After mixed success with the team, he moved to Brabham for 1968 and then Lotus in 1969. It was at Lotus where Rindt found a competitive car, although he was often concerned about the security of the notoriously unreliable Lotus vehicles. He won his first Formula One race at the 1969 United States Grand Prix. In 1970, Rindt took five victories before his fatal accident, earning enough points to win the Drivers' World Championship. Overall, he competed in 62 Grands Prix, winning six and achieving 13 podium finishes. He was also successful in sports car racing, winning the 1965 24 Hours of Le Mans, paired with Masten Gregory in a Ferrari 250LM.

Jochem Rindt and Colin Chapman (1970)

Jochem Rindt and Colin Chapman (1970)

Jochen Rindt - 1970

Jochen Rindt - 1970

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Sunday 23rd January 1972

45 years ago

Jackie Stewart won the first Argentine Grand Prix run since 1960. Argentina's Carlos Reutemann made his Grand Prix debut in spectacular fashion, claiming pole in his Brabham BT34. Brabham also had a new manager, Bernie Ecclestone. Lotus appeared for the first time in gold and black John Player colours. Sand & gravel strewn on the track in an early incident caused several problems. New Lotus driver Dave Walker stalled, ran back to the pits for a hammer and re-started, but was disqualified for using tools not carried in the car. Meanwhile, Reine Wisell, replaced at Lotus by Walker, continued after getting out of his BRM and manually unsticking the throttle. Reutemann gambled on softer tyres and quickly faded, but after pitting late for new tyres, charged from 14th back to 7th. Stewart's Tyrell won by 25.9 seconds over Denis Hulme in a McLaren.

Jackie Stewart (Argentine 1972)

Jackie Stewart (Argentine 1972)

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Saturday 26th February 1972

45 years ago

Nearly 550 vehicles were shown on the opening day of the 1972 Chicago Auto Show, including the five-millionth Chicago-built Ford, a Galaxie 500 hardtop. Decades of progress in design were apparent, as it sat proudly displayed beside a 1914 Model T. That year, it was in Chicago that Lincoln gave the public its inaugural viewing of the Continental Town Car, Jensen offered the premiere showing of the Interceptor III, Lotus introduced its new Europa Twin Cam model, and Squire and TVR were seen for the first time in the US.

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Sunday 19th March 1972

45 years ago

Emerson Fittipaldi drove his Lotus to victory in the non-championship F1 'Race of Champions' at Brands Hatch. Fittipaldi grabbed the lead from polesitter Peter Gethin's McLaren at the green and went on to take the checkered flag 14 seconds ahead of Mike Hailwood's Surtees. It was the first win for Lotus in more than a year. Jackie Stewart and the Ferrari and Brabham teams skipped the event.

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Sunday 2nd July 1972

45 years ago

Jackie Stewart in a Tyrrell-Cosworth 003 won the French Grand Prix held at Clermont-Ferrand. The Charade circuit's natural setting around the base of an extinct volcano created safety concerns due to the dark, volcanic rocks which fell from the mountain onto both sides of the track.Drivers who skirted the track edge would often send rocks flying into the middle of the road and into the path of pursuing competitors. The hazard was highlighted when driver Helmut Marko suffered a career-ending injury during the race when a stone thrown from Emerson Fittipaldi's Lotus penetrated his helmet visor and blinded him in the left eye. The rocks also meant that tire punctures were a perennial hazard on the circuit, as was shown when 10 competitors suffered punctures during the race. The French Grand Prix was moved to the new Paul Ricard Circuit for 1973.

Start of the 1972 French Grand Prix

Start of the 1972 French Grand Prix

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Sunday 30th July 1972

45 years ago

Jacky Ickx driving a Ferrari 312B2/72 won the German Grand Prix at at Nürburgring and scored his only Grand Chelem (English:Grand Slam) (led and won the whole race from pole position and set fastest lap). He also beat François Cevert's 1971 fastest lap record by more than seven seconds, and improved on the pole position record set by Jackie Stewart in the same year by 13 seconds. Championship leader Emerson Fittipaldi's John Player Special Lotus suffered a rare mechanical failure and retired after a gearbox fire. Jackie Stewart had a long battle for second place with Clay Regazzoni before the two tangled on the last lap at Hatzenbach. Stewart crashed into the Armco barrier, destroying his Tyrrell's suspension and losing the opportunity to close the gap on Fittipaldi in the title race.

Jacky Ickx in 1975

Jacky Ickx in 1975

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Sunday 10th September 1972

45 years ago

Emerson Fittipaldi of Brazil won the Italian Grand Prix at Monza in a Lotus to clinch the world driver’s title. Aged only 25 years and 273 days, he became the youngest-ever world motor racing championship.

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Wednesday 1st November 1972

45 years ago

The Lotus Esprit concept car and the Fiat 126 were both unveiled at the Turin Motor Show.The 126 used much of the same mechanical underpinnings and layout as its Fiat 500 rear-engined predecessor with which it shared its wheelbase, but featured an all new bodyshell closely resembling a scaled-down Fiat 127. Engine capacity was increased from 594 cc to 652 cc at the end of 1977 when the cylinder bore was increased from 73.5 to 77 mm. Claimed power output was unchanged at 23 PS (17 kW), but torque was increased from 39 N·m (29 lb·ft) to 43 newton metres (32 lb·ft). The 594 cc engines were still available in early 1983 production. In Italy, the car was produced in the plants of Cassino and Termini Imerese until 1979. By this time 1,352,912 of the cars had been produced in Italy. The car continued however to be manufactured by FSM in Poland, where it was produced from 1973 to 2000 as the Polski Fiat 126p.

Fiat 126

Fiat 126

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Sunday 29th April 1973

44 years ago

At the Spanish Grand Prix held at Montjuich Park, Lotus driver, Emerson Fittipaldi had a great drive from his 7th spot on the grid to win the race in 1:48:18 over Francois Cevert in his Tyrrell 42 seconds back. Third spot went to George Folmer in his Shadow who also had a great drive coming from his 14th spot on the grid. Polesitter Ronnie Peterson had the fastest lap and was going well until gearbox trouble put him out on lap 57.

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Sunday 19th August 1973

44 years ago

Ronnie Peterson won the Austrian Grand Prix for Lotus ahead of Jackie Stewart and Carlos Pace. Niki Lauda missed his home race due to an accident at the Nürburgring 2 weeks earlier, where he injured his wrist.

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Sunday 14th October 1973

44 years ago

Jackie Stewart announced his retirement from motor racing. While he signed with BRM alongside Graham Hill in 1965, a contract which netted him £4,000, his first race in an F1 car was for Lotus, as stand-in for an injured Clark, at the Rand Grand Prix in December 1964; the Lotus broke in the first heat, but he won the second. On his F1 debut in South Africa, he scored his first Championship point, finishing sixth. His first major competition victory came in the BRDC International Trophy in the late spring, and before the end of the year he won his first World Championship race at Monza, fighting wheel-to-wheel with teammate Hill's P261.[9] Stewart finished his rookie season with three seconds, a third, a fifth, and a sixth, and third place in the World Drivers' Championship. He also piloted Tyrrell's unsuccessful F2 Cooper T75-BRM, and ran the Rover Company's revolutionary turbine car at Le Mans. 1966 saw him almost win the Indianapolis 500 on his first attempt, in John Mecom's Lola T90-Ford, only to be denied by a broken scavenge pump while leading by over a lap with eight laps to go. However, Stewart's performance, having had the race fully in hand, sidelined only by mechanical failure, won him Rookie of the Year honours despite the winner, Graham Hill, also being an Indianapolis rookie. At the start of the 1966 season, Stewart won the Australasian 8 round championship from his BRM teammate Graham Hill in 2 litre BRMs and also raced closely with his great rival and friend Jim Clark who was somewhat disadvantaged by an unreliable Lotus 39 which was let down by old Climax 2.5s. Also, in 1966, a crash triggered his fight for improved safety in racing. On lap one of the 1966 Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps, when sudden rain caused many crashes, he found himself trapped in his overturned BRM, getting soaked by leaking fuel. The marshals had no tools to help him, and it took his teammate Hill and Bob Bondurant, who had also crashed nearby, to get him out after borrowing a spanner from a spectator's car. Since then, a main switch to disconnect electrics and a removable steering wheel have become standard. Also, noticing the long and slow transport to a hospital, he brought his own doctor to future races, while BRM supplied a medical truck for the benefit of all. Stewart also began keeping a spanner taped to his steering wheel. It was a poor year all around; the BRMs were unreliable, although Stewart did win the Monaco Grand Prix. Stewart had some success in other forms of racing during the year, winning the 1966 Tasman Series and the 1966 Rothmans 12 Hour International Sports Car Race. BRM's fortunes did not improve in 1967, despite closely contesting the Tasman championship with Jim Clark who in a Lotus 33 probably raced closer and harder with Jackie than at any time in their careers. While Clark usually won, Stewart won a classic victory in the NZGP with Clark attempting to run him down in the last laps with bodywork flying off the 33. Stewart came no higher than second at Spa, though he won F2 events for Tyrrell at Karlskoga, Enna, Oulton Park, and Albi in a Matra MS5 or MS7. He also placed 2nd driving a works-entered Ferrari driving with Chris Amon at the BOAC 6 Hours at Brands Hatch, the 10th round of World Sportscar Championship at the time. Stewart also did the 1967 National 500 NASCAR race but did not qualify for the race. In Formula One, he switched to Tyrrell's Matra International team, where he drove a Matra MS10-Cosworth for the 1968 and 1969 seasons. Skill (and improving tyres from Dunlop)[10] brought a win in heavy rain at Zandvoort. Another win in rain and fog at the Nürburgring, where he won by a margin of four minutes. He also won at Watkins Glen, but missed Jarama and Monaco due to an F2 injury at Jarama.His car failed at Mexico City, and so he lost the drivers' title to Hill. In 1969, Stewart had a number of races where he completely dominated the opposition, such as winning by over 2 laps at Montjuïc, a minute at Clemont-Ferrand and more than a lap at Silverstone. With additional wins at Kyalami, Zandvoort, and Monza, Stewart became world champion in 1969 in a Matra MS80-Cosworth. Until September 2005, when Fernando Alonso in a Renault became champion, he was the only driver to have won the championship driving for a French marque and, as Alonso's Renault was built in the UK, Stewart remains the only driver to win the world championship in a French-built car. For 1970, Matra insisted on using their own V12 engines, while Tyrrell and Stewart wanted to keep the Cosworths as well as the good connection to Ford. As a consequence, the Tyrrell team bought a chassis from March Engineering; Stewart took the March 701-Cosworth to wins at the Daily Mail Race of Champions and Jarama, but was soon overcome by Lotus' new 72. The new Tyrrell 001-Cosworth, appearing in August, suffered problems, but Stewart saw better days for it in 1971, and stayed on. Tyrrell continued to be sponsored by French fuel company Elf, and Stewart raced in a car painted French Racing Blue for many years. Stewart also continued to race sporadically in Formula Two, winning at Crystal Palace and placing at Thruxton. A projected Le Mans appearance, to co-drive the 4.5 litre Porsche 917K with Steve McQueen, did not come off, for McQueen's inability to get insurance. He also raced Can-Am, in the revolutionary Chaparral 2J. Stewart achieved pole position in 2 events, ahead of the dominant McLarens, but the chronic unreliability of the 2J prevented Stewart from finishing any races. Stewart went on to win the Formula One world championship in 1971 using the Tyrrell 003-Cosworth, winning Spain, Monaco, France, Britain, Germany, and Canada. He also did a full season in Can-Am, driving a Carl Haas sponsored Lola T260-Chevrolet. and again in 1973. During the 1971 Can-Am series, Stewart was the only driver able to challenge the McLarens driven by Dennis Hulme and Peter Revson. Stewart won 2 races; at Mont Tremblant and Mid Ohio. Stewart finished 3rd in the 1971 Can-Am Drivers Championship. The stress of racing year round, and on several continents eventually caused medical problems for Stewart. During the 1972 Grand Prix season he missed the Belgian Grand Prix at Nivelles due to gastritis, and had to cancel plans to drive a Can-Am McLaren, but won the Argentine, French, U.S., and Canadian Grands Prix, to come second to Emerson Fittipaldi in the drivers' standings. Stewart also competed in a Ford Capri RS2600 in the European Touring Car Championship, with F1 teammate François Cevert and other F1 pilots, at a time where the competition between Ford and BMW was at a height. Stewart shared a Capri with F1 Tyrrell teammate François Cevert in the 1972 6 hours of Paul Ricard, finishing second. He also received an OBE. Entering the 1973 season, Stewart had decided to retire. He nevertheless won at South Africa, Belgium, Monaco, the Netherlands, and Austria. His last (and then record-setting) 27th victory came at the Nürburgring with a 1–2 for Tyrrell. "Nothing gave me more satisfaction than to win at the Nürburgring and yet, I was always afraid." Stewart later said. "When I left home for the German Grand Prix I always used to pause at the end of the driveway and take a long look back. I was never sure I'd come home again." After the fatal crash of his teammate François Cevert in practice for the 1973 United States Grand Prix at Watkins Glen, Stewart retired one race earlier than intended and missed what would have been his 100th Grand Prix. Nevertheless, Stewart still won the drivers' championship for the year. Stewart held the record for most wins by a Formula One driver (27) for 14 years until Alain Prost won the 1987 Portuguese Grand Prix, and the record for most wins by a British Formula One driver for 19 years until Nigel Mansell won the 1992 British Grand Prix.

Jackie Stewart

Jackie Stewart

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Saturday 30th March 1974

43 years ago

Carlos Reutemann became the first Argentinian since Fangio 16 years earlier to win a grand prix with his victory at Kyalami in South Africa. It was also Brabham's first grand prix victory since the 1970 South African Grand Prix. Jean-Pierre Beltoise fought his way up through the field to 2nd, holding off a determined challenge from Mike Hailwood who took the final podium place.The race was held later than scheduled because of a power crisis in the country. While driving the Ford UOP Shadow-Ford DN3 in a test session before the race, Revson suffered a front suspension failure, and crashed heavily into the Armco barrier on the outside of Barbecue Bend (Turn 2), and was killed. Denny Hulme tried to save his life, but to no avail. Revson's team Shadow withdrew as a result Niki Lauda took pole by a fraction of a second from Carlos Pace. The two Lotus cars tangled shortly after the start, the incident also involving Jochen Mass and Henri Pescarolo whilst Tom Belsø's race lasted no more than a few hundred yards due to clutch failure. Lauda led a train of cars consisting of Carlos Reutemann, Clay Regazzoni, Jody Scheckter and James Hunt, whose Hesketh was suffering vibration problems. Mike Hailwood caught and passed Scheckter when he missed a gear, and then passed Reutemann on lap 9. On lap 75, nearly at the finish, Lauda was forced to retire with ignition problems and low oil pressure, handing the lead to Reutemann.

Carlos Reutemann - 1974

Carlos Reutemann - 1974

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Sunday 26th May 1974

43 years ago

In the Monaco Grand Prix, Lotus driver, Ronnie Peterson set the fastest lap of the race, coming from his third place starting position to win in a time of 1:58:03. Jody Scheckter in his Tyrrell was 28 seconds back after starting fifth. JP Jarier was third with his Shadow, he started sixth. Clay Regazzoni was fourth after starting second in his Ferrari and Emmo fifth in the McLaren coming up from the 13th spot on the grid. The last point went to John Watson in his Brabham, he started all the way back in 23rd position. Pole sitter, Niki Lauda was out with ignition problems in his Ferrari on lap 32.

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Wednesday 16th October 1974

43 years ago

Cars introduced at the opening of the London Motor Show included the Aston Martin Lagonda (long wheel-base, four-door version of the Aston Martin V8), Lotus Esprit (Worldwide launch), Lotus Eclat (2+2) (Worldwide launch), Panther De Ville (Worldwide launch - one of the most expensive cars being displayed at the time) and the Toyota 1100. The Citroën CX had been launched a few weeks earlier at the Paris Motor Show and was scheduled for inclusion in the 1974 London show. However. It was withdrawn at the eleventh hour, possibly because the manufacturers found themselves unable to schedule right hand drive production of the car till well into 1975. The model nevertheless went on to win first place with motoring journalists voting for the European Car of the Year a few months later.

Panther De Ville

Panther De Ville

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Sunday 27th April 1975

42 years ago

One of the most controversial and tragic race weekends in the Formula 1 history after the death of five spectators who were hit by the crashing Hill GH1 of Rolf Stommelen at the Spanish Grand Prix at Montjuich Park. It was also the race in which Lella Lombardi became the first and so far only woman to score points towards the World Championship. It was the 21st Spanish Grand Prix since the race was first held in 1913. It was the fourth, and last, Grand Prix to be held on the Montjuïc street circuit. The race was shortened to 29 of its scheduled 75 laps, a race distance of 109 kilometres. The race was won by German driver Jochen Mass driving a McLaren M23. It would be the only Formula One win of his career. Mass had just a second lead over the Lotus 72E of Belgian driver Jacky Ickx when the race was declared. Argentine racer Carlos Reutemann was declared third in his Brabham BT44B, a lap behind the race leaders after a penalty was given to Jean-Pierre Jarier.

Five spectators were killed by Stommelen's flying car with the driver suffering a broken leg, a broken wrist and two cracked ribs.

Five spectators were killed by Stommelen's flying car with the driver suffering a broken leg, a broken wrist and two cracked ribs.

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Friday 18th July 1975

42 years ago

Graham Hill, twice World Driving Champion, with BRM in 1962 and with Lotus in 1968, announced his retirement. Tragically he died four months later along with five members of the Embassy Hill team when the light aircraft he was piloting crashed near Elstree Airport. He is the only driver ever to win the Triple Crown of Motorsport—the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Indianapolis 500 and the Formula One World Drivers' Championship. Hill and his son Damon are the only father and son pair to have both won the Formula One World Championship.

Graham Hill

Graham Hill

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Saturday 29th November 1975

41 years ago

Graham Hill, twice World Drivers Champion and one of Britain’s most popular sportsmen, was killed at the age of 46, along with 5 members of the Embassy Hill Grand Prix team, when the Piper PA 23-250 Turbo-Aztec light aircraft he was piloting crashed in freezing fog near Elstree Airport in Hertfordshire, England. Hill, who won the Drivers Championship with BRM in 1962 and Lotus in 1968, was returning from testing a car in southern France for an end-of-season dinner and dance. After his death, Silverstone village, home to the track of the same name, named a road, Graham Hill, after him and there is a "Graham Hill Road" on The Shires estate in nearby Towcester. Graham Hill Bend at Brands Hatch is also named in his honour. A blue plaque commemorates Hill at 32 Parkside, in Mill Hill, London NW7. In Bourne, Lincolnshire, where Hill's former team BRM is based, a road called Graham Hill Way is named in his honour.

Graham Hill

Graham Hill

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Sunday 2nd May 1976

41 years ago

The Spanish Grand Prix was held at Jarama. Austrian Ferrari driver Niki Lauda driving a Ferrari 312T2 was initially declared the winner extending his Drivers' Championship lead to 23 points. After crossing the line first James Hunt had his McLaren M23 disqualified in post-race scruitineering. Swedish driver Gunnar Nilsson took his Lotus 77 to second place with Carlos Reutemann finishing third in his Brabham BT44B. McLaren appealed the disqualification and in July the appeal was upheld and Hunt re-instated as winner of the Spanish Grand Prix.

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Sunday 13th June 1976

41 years ago

The 1976 Swedish Grand Prix held at the Scandinavian Raceway in Anderstorp, Sweden, is the only ever Formula One race to be won by a car other than four-wheeled – indeed, the best four-wheeler could do no better than third, and it was the second race in succession that it took no less than 16 wheels to bring home the podium-finishers: South African Jody Scheckter and Frenchman Patrick Depailler in six-wheeled Tyrrell/Ford P34s and Austrian Niki Lauda in a four-wheeled Ferrari 312T2. The six-wheel design, with four 10-inch-diameter (250-mm) wheels at the front to reduce drag and increase grip, was banned by the FIA in 1983. When it was revealed it was the instant sensation of the 1976 season. The car was a photo opportunity on wheels – six of them, which was precisely why – and must have given Elf more free publicity in the 1976 pre-season and beyond than it garnered during the whole of 1974 and 1975. Tyrrell's Jody Scheckter took pole, with Patrick Depailler in fourth. In the race it was Mario Andretti in the Lotus 77 who led for much of the race. Andretti however had been penalised sixty seconds for jumping the start. Andretti's engine failed on lap 46 while attempting to build his lead over the two Tyrrells. They went on to finish first and second, Jody Scheckter leading Patrick Depailler to the line for his second Swedish Grand Prix victory. The South African, who when later probed confided that he thought the six-wheeled concept ridiculous, was beaming on the podium. However the Swedish walkover proved to be the only win for the P34. It was retired at the end of the 1977 season. Eight laps before Andretti's retirement Chris Amon crashed his Ensign N176 after a suspension failure, allowing championship leader Niki Lauda to move into the position that became third in his Ferrari 312T2. Jacques Laffite continued to show the promise of the Ligier JS5 in fourth. James Hunt was fifth in his McLaren M23 and Clay Regazzoni climbed into the final point in the second Ferrari late in the race.

Tyrrell P34

Tyrrell P34

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Sunday 9th January 1977

40 years ago

In the smouldering heat of the Argentine Grand Prix Jody Scheckter on the 1977 seasons opening in Buenos Aires with the brand new, Dr. Harvey Postlethwaite designed Wolf WR1. it was reigning world champion James Hunt who started off his title defence with pole position in his McLaren. Countryman John Watson shared the front row with him in the Brabham, and Patrick Depailler in the six-wheeled Tyrrell was third on the grid. The weather was, as was very often the case in Buenos Aires oppressively hot, which contributed to the attrition of this race. Watson took the lead at the start with Hunt second. Watson led for the first 10 laps until Hunt moved ahead and pulled away, with Mario Andretti's Lotus third, but soon the other McLaren of Jochen Mass took the place. Mass had to retire soon after with an engine failure which caused him to spin, and a suspension failure took teammate and race leader Hunt out three laps later. Watson took the lead again, but he also had suspension failures and let teammate Carlos Pace through. Watson eventually retired, and Pace struggled towards the end due to heat in his cockpit and was passed by Jody Scheckter's Wolf and Andretti, but the latter retired then with a wheel bearing failure. Scheckter took the first win of 1977, with Pace second, and home hero Carlos Reutemann completing the podium for Ferrari. The race is notable as the last time a Formula One constructor won the first Grand Prix the team entered.

Jody Scheckter

Jody Scheckter

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Sunday 3rd April 1977

40 years ago

The United States Grand Prix West held over 80 laps of the temporary Long Beach street course (2.02 mi) will always be remembered as one of the magical days in US motor racing history, as Mario Andretti thrilled the home crowd with the third of his 12 career Grand Prix wins. It was the first victory of the first 'wing car', the Lotus 78, and the only Formula 1 victory by an American on home soil.

Mario Andretti - 1977 United States Grand Prix West

Mario Andretti - 1977 United States Grand Prix West

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Thursday 7th July 1977

40 years ago

"The Spy Who Loved Me," starring Roger Moore as the suave super spy James Bond, known for his love of fast cars and dangerous women, had its London premiere. The film features one of the most memorable Bond cars of all time, a sleek, powerful Lotus Esprit sports car that does double duty as a submarine.

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Sunday 15th January 1978

39 years ago

Emerson Fittipaldi lined up his Copersucar-Fittipaldi F5A on the grid for the 1978 Argentine Grand Prix - his 100th Formula 1 Grand Prix start. Mario Andretti took pole in his Lotus, with Carlos Reutemann's Ferrari joining him on the front row and Ronnie Peterson in the other Lotus third on the grid. The start was uneventful, with Andretti and Reutemann easily keeping first and second, with John Watson in the Brabham taking third from Peterson. Watson took second from Reutemann on the seventh lap, but Andretti was uncatchable. Reutemann ran third for a while, but then began to drop down the order, and so reigning world champion Niki Lauda took third in his Brabham, which became second with ten laps left when Watson's engine blew up. Andretti motored on to a crushing victory, with Lauda second and Patrick Depailler's Tyrrell taking the final spot on the podium.

Emerson Fittipaldi

Emerson Fittipaldi

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Sunday 4th June 1978

39 years ago

Mario Andretti won the Spanish Grand Prix at Jarama in a Lotus-Cosworth 79 from pole position. It was James Hunt who got a great start, and he led into the first corner from Andretti and Reutemann, with Peterson dropping all the way back to ninth. Hunt led for seven laps before Andretti passed him and pulled away. Reutemann ran third until he had to pit for tyres, and so John Watson inherited third until he was passed by Jacques Laffite, but soon the recovering Peterson passed both of them. Hunt now suffered from tyre problems and he also began to drop back, and so Peterson was able to take second and Laffite third. That was how it stayed to the end, Andretti winning from Peterson in another Lotus 1-2, and Laffite getting the final spot on the podium.

Mario Andretti - 1978 Spanish Grand Prix

Mario Andretti - 1978 Spanish Grand Prix

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Sunday 27th August 1978

39 years ago

Mario Andretti won the Dutch Grand Prix. The fourth 1-2 finish of the season for Lotus meant that, with three races left to run, only Andretti or Ronnie Peterson could take the Drivers' Championship. It would go to Andretti in the next race at Monza, when Peterson crashed fatally.

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Monday 11th September 1978

39 years ago

The world of F1 was left in shock when it was announced the popular Swede Ronnie Peterson had died as a result of complications following his accident during the first corner pile-up at the start of the previous day's Italian Grand Prix. As the cars hurtled towards the first corner, Riccardo Patrese had collided with James Hunt, setting off a chain-reaction that launched Peterson's Lotus into the barriers, tearing it in half before it burst into flames. Hunt ran back and braved the flames to drag Peterson clear of the wreck. As Peterson lay on the track fully conscious but with broken legs, it took 20 minutes for medical aid to come, and when it did the priority was Vittorio Brambilla who had been hit on the head by a flying wheel. Peterson, whose injuries were not considered life threatening, was taken to hospital and operated on that evening. But a bone marrow embolism entered his bloodstream, and he died the following morning. Had he received medical attention more promptly he would probably have survived.

Ronnie Peterson

Ronnie Peterson

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Friday 20th October 1978

39 years ago

Racer Gunnar Nilsson died exactly one month short of the age of 30. Nilsson was a works-driver for March in the 1976 Formula 2 championhip and came into Formula 1 in mid-season as the result of a swap involving countryman Ronnie Peterson leaving Lotus and joining the March F1 team. Nilsson filled the vacant seat at Lotus and scored 11 points that year with impressive third places in Spain and Austria. The following year, his first full season in F1, the young Swede overtook Niki Lauda at to score his first Grand Prix win. But what could have been a terrific season ended with shocking news: Gunnar was diagnosed with cancer. His deal with the new Arrows team for 1978 never came to fruition as his condition worsened quickly. One of the last things he did was to set up the Gunnar Nilsson Cancer Research fund.

Gunnar Nilsson

Gunnar Nilsson

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Sunday 29th April 1979

38 years ago

Jarama for the Spanish Grand Prix, it was Patrick Depailler in the Ligier winning in a time of 1:39:11. He started 2nd on the grid. His teammate, Jacques Laffite sat on the pole but was out on lap 15 with engine problems. Second to Depailler, was Carlos Reutemann, eighth on the grid, in his Lotus 20 seconds arrears, and Mario Andretti, fourth on the grid, in the other Lotus coming in third. Third man on the grid, Gilles Villeneuve had the fastest lap of the race but could do no better than 7th at the end.

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Sunday 10th June 1979

38 years ago

Paul Newman, the blue-eyed movie star-turned-race car driver, accomplished the greatest feat of his racing career by racing to second place in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. In 1969, he starred in "Winning" as a struggling race car driver who must redeem his career and win the heart of the woman he loves at the Indianapolis 500. To prepare for the movie, Newman attended the Watkins Glen Racing School. In the film he performed many of the high-speed racing scenes in the movie himself, without a stunt double. In 1972, Newman began his own racing career, winning his first Sports Club Car of America (SCCA) race driving a Lotus Elan. He soon moved up to a series of Datsun racing sedans and won four SCCA national championships from 1979 to 1986. Newman's high point at the track came in June 1979 at Le Mans, where he raced a Porsche 935 twin-turbo coupe on a three-man team with Dick Barbour and Rolf Stommelen. His team finished second; first place went to brothers Don and Bill Whittington, and their teammate, Klaus Ludwig. Drama ensued during the last two hours of the race, when the Whittingtons' car, also a Porsche 935, was sidelined with fuel-injection problems and it looked like Newman's team could overtake them to grab the win. In the end, however, they had trouble even clinching second due to a dying engine. The Whittington team covered 2,592.1 miles at an average speed of 107.99 mph, finishing 59 miles ahead of Newman, Barbour and Stommelen.

Paul Newman - Le Mans

Paul Newman - Le Mans

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Sunday 27th January 1980

37 years ago

Rene Arnoux claimed his first race win at the Brazilian Grand Prix but it was his Renault team-mate Jean-Pierre Jabouille who set the early pace, taking the lead on the second lap and staying at the front until mechanical troubles forced him to retire. Arnoux, who eased off in the final laps to preserve his tyres, was 22 seconds ahead of Elio de Angelis in an Essex Lotus with Alan Jones in a Saudia-Leyland.

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Sunday 17th August 1980

37 years ago

Reserve Lotus driver, Nigel Mansell, made his Grand Prix debut at the Osterreichring, Austria. The future world champion retired with a broken engine after 40 laps and suffering burns after he raced in overalls soaked in fuel after a pre-race incident. The race was won by French driver, Jean-Pierre Jabouille driving a Renault RE20. The win was Jabouille's second and last Formula One Grand Prix victory. It was also his first points finish in over a year since his previous victory at the 1979 French Grand Prix. It would also be the last points finish of his career. Jabouille won by eight-tenths of a second over Australian driver Alan Jones driving a Williams FW07B. Third was Jones' Williams Grand Prix Engineering team mate, Argentinian driver Carlos Reutemann.

1980 Renault RE20 (Jean Pierre Jabouille)

1980 Renault RE20 (Jean Pierre Jabouille)

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Sunday 15th March 1981

36 years ago

The US West Grand Prix was held at Long Beach. Defending World Champion Alan Jones driving a Williams-Cosworth FW07C. Defending finished nine seconds ahead of teammate Carlos Reutemann, and won his first Long Beach Grand Prix, as the 1981 season finally began after a winter of controversy and legal battles. It was the third consecutive Grand Prix win for Jones, and his second consecutive in the United States, after seizing the 1980 Driver's title with season-ending wins in Montreal, Canada and Watkins Glen, New York. This was also the race in which the revolutionary twin-chassis Lotus 88, designed by Colin Chapman, was disqualified and later banned from Formula One.

1981 U.S. Grand Prix West at Long Beach

1981 U.S. Grand Prix West at Long Beach

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Sunday 29th March 1981

36 years ago

David Prophet (43), British racing driver, who participated in two Formula One World Championship Grands Prix, died. A keen amateur who was a regular at British and European circuits during the 1960s, he also raced in South Africa during the British winter months and twice started that country’s Grand Prix. Working for Austin Motors from the early 1960s, Prophet started to race in British Formula Junior at the time. He fitted his FJ Brabham BT6 with a Ford twin cam engine and shipped it to South Africa for its 1963/64 season. Second in the Rhodesian GP, he also took part in the South African GP that was the final round of the 1963 World Championship. Prophet qualified in 14th position despite engine problems before retiring on his GP debut. Formula 2 with a Lotus 23 and then a Brabham BT10 followed in 1964 but Prophet returned to South Africa at the end of the year. He took part in the GP again – held on New Year’s Day and now the opening round of the 1965 season. Prophet finished 14th in his second and final world championship GP. By now he was running a successful garage in King’s Norton that funded his hobby and an impressive house outside Stratford-upon-Avon. Prophet, who always prepared his own racing cars, continued in F2 before switching to sports cars with some national success. He also shared the Lola T70 with which Paul Hawkins qualified on pole position for the 1969 Spa 1000Kms. The launch of Formula 5000 in 1970 enticed Prophet back into single-seaters with a McLaren M10B-Chevrolet. He finished fourth in the 1971 Argentine GP – a non-championship F1/F5000 event – and drove the car until the end of the following season without outright success. Prophet remained a keen enthusiast after he stopped racing himself. He was at Silverstone for the opening European F2 race of 1981 and was returning home when the helicopter he was flying crashed shortly after take-off, killing Prophet and his three passengers.

David Prophet

David Prophet

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Thursday 23rd April 1981

36 years ago

The FIA ruled that the Lotus 88 "twin chassis" F1 car was illegal, though the rules did not exclude it. The 88 used an ingenious system of having a twin chassis, one inside the other. The inner chassis would hold the cockpit and would be independently sprung from the outer one, which was designed to take the pressures of the ground effects. The outer chassis did not have discernible wings, and was in effect one huge ground effect system, beginning just behind the nose of the car and extending all the way inside the rear wheels, thereby producing massive amounts of downforce. The car was powered by the Ford Cosworth DFV engine. Lotus drivers Nigel Mansell and Elio de Angelis reported the car was pleasing to drive and responsive. To make the aerodynamic loads as manageable as possible, the car was constructed extensively in carbon fibre, making it along with the McLaren MP4/1 the first car to use the material in large quantity.

Lotus 88

Lotus 88 "twin chassis" F1 car - 1981

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Sunday 25th April 1982

35 years ago

Controversy and ill feelings plagued the San Marino Grand Prix on the Imola circuit. Most teams aligned with FOCA boycotted the race claiming the ruling to uphold the DQ's of Piquet & Rosberg at Brazil constituted a rules change and violated the Concorde Agreement. McLaren, Williams, Brabham and Lotus were among teams that skipped the race, which only started 14 cars. The race itself saw Rene Arnoux in a Renault fighting off Ferrari teammates Gilles Villeneuve and Didier Pironi. Leader Arnoux retired on lap 45 to leave the Ferraris 1-2. Villeneuve and Pironi began swapping the lead, which many felt was just for the fans behalf since Villeneuve was the #1 driver. But any thought about team orders went out the window when Pironi outbraked Villeneuve at the last hairpin and re-took the lead, going on to take the checkered 3 tenths of a second ahead of his angered teammate. The two drivers weren't on speaking terms following the incident.

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Sunday 15th August 1982

35 years ago

Elio de Angelis, driving a Lotus 91, won the Austrian Grand Prix at Osterreichring by less than 1/10th of a second over Keke Rosberg in a Williams FW08. It was the first Formula 1 victory for de Angelis and 72nd and final win for Lotus under the direction of Colin Chapman.

Elio de Angelis - 1982

Elio de Angelis - 1982

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Thursday 16th December 1982

34 years ago

Colin Chapman (54), founder of Lotus Cars, suffered a fatal heart attack. The son of a hotel manager, Chapman grew up in Hornsea and studied mechanical engineering at University College, London. He was an enthusiastic member of the University Air Squadron and learned to fly while still a student. He then did his national service as a Royal Air Force pilot in 1948. Chapman's first car was a special built using a 1930 Austin Seven and this was entered in a series of trials. It was called a Lotus because Chapman and his friends had worn themselves out building it and they reckoned it had the same soporific effect as the lotus flower. In 1952, his girlfriend Hazel Williams lent him £25 to establish the Lotus Engineering Company with Michael Allen, with the aim of building copies of his racing machines. In 1953, Frank Costin joined the company from De Havilland and the Lotus Mk 8 enjoyed some success. Increasing success with the sports cars led Chapman to build his first single-seater racing car in 1956 and the Formula 2 Lotus 12 enjoyed some success in 1957. The first victory in a Lotus car came at Monaco in 1960 when Stirling Moss beat the dominant Ferrari team in his Rob Walker Lotus. The first victory for Team Lotus itself was at the end of the following year when Innes Ireland won the United States Grand Prix. Success on the race track was an important part of the company's success and in 1963 Jim Clark drove the Lotus 25 to a remarkable seven wins in a season, winning the World Championship. The team was beaten at the last race in 1964 but in 1965 Clark dominated again. For the new 3-liter Formula 1 in 1966 Chapman chose BRM engines (a mistake) but the arrival of the Cosworth DFV in 1967 returned the team to winning ways with Graham Hill World Champion in 1968 with the Lotus 49. In 1970 Jochen Rindt was posthumous World Champion with the Lotus 72 and Emerson Fittipaldi used a revised version of the car to win Lotus another World Championship in 1972. In 1978, with six victories, five of them in the innovative Lotus 79, Mario Andretti became World Champion. Chapman was also successful at Indianapolis with the Lotus 29 almost winning the 500 at its first attempt in 1963 with Clark. The race marked the beginning of the end for the old front-engined Indianapolis roadsters. Clark was leading when he retired from the 1964 event but in 1965 he won the biggest prize in US racing. Chapman's cars had many engineering innovations, and were always known for light weight. There is little doubt that if Lotus founder Colin Chapman had not died he would have ended up in jail for his part in the De Lorean Car company scandal.

Colin Chapman

Colin Chapman

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Thursday 16th December 1982

34 years ago

Active suspension was tested for the first time on an F1 car when Dave Scott drove the Lotus 92 at Snetterton, England.

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Saturday 7th May 1983

34 years ago

The Malaysian car manufacturer, Proton Holdings Berhad (stylised PROTON), was officially founded. The concept of a National Car was conceived in 1979 by Tun Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad, the former Prime Minister of Malaysia with the goal of enhancing Malaysian industry. Proton actually comes from PeRusahaan OTOmobil Nasional which roughly translates to National Automobile Enterprise in Malaysian. At first, parts and technology came from Mitsubishi but later on, as experience accumulated, Proton became independent even if most of the cars were still based on Mitsubishi models. Their first model which was launched in 1985 was called the Proton Saga. Soon after the first Sagas were rolling on Malaysian streets, exports started to Bangladesh (1986) and by 1987 Proton had already made 50,000 units.That same year a distribution agreement with a UK dealer was made in order to ship Sagas over to the British Isles but that would materialize only in 1989, when 150,000 units were already produced and plans for a engine assembly plant were already under way, the inauguration being celebrated in 1991.A new model, the Proton Ishwara was launched in 1992 and then in 1993 the Wira, a model based on the Mitsubishi Colt, which enjoyed moderate success with 220,000 units sold over 2 years. In 1994, the Proton Satria joined the model line-up and in 1996 the Proton Tiara. With thousands of models sold both domestically and internationally (in about 31 countries around the world), Proton was gaining in financial power which enabled it to purchase Lotus technologies in 1996, a move which earned it a much needed technological infusion. a new sports model car will emerge from this partnership, the Proton Ultimate, announced for the first time in 2001.Another partnership was announced in 2004 with Volkswagen AG where the Malaysian manufacturer would gain access to German technology and in return it would offer its facilities for foreign car manufacturing. However, this plan fell through by 2006, when Volkswagen announced the two companies would go their separate ways because they couldn't agree on the terms.That same year, Proton suffered a massive drop in sales which caused a $169 million loss in profit. This was the basis of the rumor that Volkswagen was actually interested in purchasing 51% of the company. Interestingly enough, just by announcing that Proton would try to get out of the crisis alone, the company's stock dropped overnight to an all-time low.

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Sunday 6th May 1984

33 years ago

McLaren driver, Alain Prost from his outside pole position, won the San Marino Grand Prix in a time of 1:36:52. The only other driver to finish on the same lap was sixth place starter, Rene Arnoux in his Ferrari, 13.4 seconds back. Elio de Angelis in the lotus was third. Thierry Boutsen in his Arrows had a great drive from 20th on the grid to finish fifth behind Derek Warwick in the Renault. Andrea de Cesaris hung in there for sixth after qualifying twelfth. Polesitter Nelson Piquet set the fastest lap of the race in his Brabham but was out on lap 48 with a turbo failure.

Alain Prost

Alain Prost

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Friday 29th March 1985

32 years ago

Production of the Sinclair C5, a small one-person battery electric vehicle, technically an "electrically assisted pedal cycle", was suspended due to financial difficulties. It was the culmination of Sir Clive Sinclair's long-running interest in electric vehicles. Although widely described as an "electric car", Sinclair characterised it as a "vehicle, not a car". Sinclair had become one of the UK's best-known millionaires, and earned a knighthood, on the back of the highly successful Sinclair Research range of home computers in the early 1980s. He hoped to repeat his success in the electric vehicle market, which he saw as ripe for a new approach. The C5 emerged from an earlier project to produce a Renault Twizy-style electric car called the C1. After a change in the law, prompted by lobbying from bicycle manufacturers, Sinclair developed the C5 as an electrically powered tricycle with a polypropylene body and a chassis designed by Lotus Cars. It was intended to be the first in a series of increasingly ambitious electric vehicles, but in the event the planned development of the followup C10 and C15 electric cars never got further than the drawing board. On 10 January 1985, the C5 was unveiled at a glitzy launch event but it received a less than enthusiastic reception from the British media. Its sales prospects were blighted by poor reviews and safety concerns expressed by consumer and motoring organisations. The vehicle's limitations – a short range, a maximum speed of only 15 miles per hour (24 km/h), a battery that ran down quickly and a lack of weatherproofing – made it impractical for most people's needs. It was marketed as an alternative to cars and bicycles, but ended up appealing to neither group of owners, and it was not available in shops until several months after its launch. Within three months of the launch, production had been slashed by 90%. Sales never picked up despite Sinclair's optimistic forecasts and production ceased entirely by August 1985. Out of 14,000 C5s made, only 5,000 were sold before its manufacturer, Sinclair Vehicles, went into receivership. The C5 became known as "one of the great marketing bombs of postwar British industry" and a "notorious ... example of failure". Despite its commercial failure, the C5 went on to become a cult item for collectors. Thousands of unsold C5s were purchased by investors and sold for hugely inflated prices – as much as £5,000, compared to the original retail value of £399. Enthusiasts have established owners' clubs and some have modified their vehicles substantially, adding monster wheels, jet engines, and high-powered electric motors to propel their C5s at speeds of up to 150 miles per hour (240 km/h).

Sinclair C5

Sinclair C5

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Sunday 23rd June 1985

32 years ago

The Detroit Grand Prix was held over 63 laps of the 7 km street circuit for a total race distance of 260 kilometres. Finland's Keke Rosberg (Williams FW10) took the lead from pole-sitter Ayrton Senna (Lotus 97T) on lap eight, avoided the tyre and brake problems that plagued the other front-runners and held off the Ferrari 156/85s of Stefan Johansson and Michele Alboreto to win. Stefan Bellof earned a scintillating fourth place in his Tyrrell 012, scoring the last points for the legendary Cosworth-Ford V8 engine until 1988. It was the fourth Formula One Grand Prix victory for the 1982 World Champion. Alboreto's third place allowed him to expand his points lead over Lotus driver Elio de Angelis to seven points. Eventual 1985 World Champion Alain Prost was now nine points behind Alboreto and as far from the championship as he would get all year.

1985 Detroit Grand Prix

1985 Detroit Grand Prix

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Sunday 18th August 1985

32 years ago

French driver Alain Prost driving a McLaren MP4/2B won the Austrian Grand Prix held at Österreichring. It was Prost's fourth victory of his championship-winning season. Prost won by 30 seconds over Brazilian driver Ayrton Senna driving a Lotus 97T. Italian driver Michele Alboreto driving a Ferrari 156/85 finished third, tying Alboreto and Prost in the championship. In what was to be the last race for the venerable Cosworth DFV V8 engine until 1987, Tyrrell's Martin Brundle failed to qualify giving the race the distinction of being the first ever all-turbo Formula One Grand Prix starting grid.

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Sunday 25th August 1985

32 years ago

Niki Lauda won the Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort in a McLaren MP4/2B-TAG. The race was the 34th and last Dutch Grand Prix and the 25th and last Grand Prix victory for triple (and defending) World Champion Niki Lauda. Lauda's team mate Alain Prost was second in his McLaren MP4/2B with Brazilian racer Ayrton Senna third in his Lotus 97T.

1985 Dutch Grand Prix

1985 Dutch Grand Prix

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Sunday 15th September 1985

32 years ago

Ayrton Senna driving a Lotus 97T won the rescheduled Belgium Grand Prix. It was Senna's second World Championship victory and the first of five he would win at Spa-Francorchamps. Senna won by 28 seconds over British driver Nigel Mansell driving a Williams FW10. Third was World Championship points leader, French driver Alain Prost driving a McLaren MP4/2B. The win promoted Senna to third in the drivers' standings and third place allowed Prost to expand his lead over Ferrari driver Michele Alboreto to 16 points.

1985 Belgium Grand Prix

1985 Belgium Grand Prix

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Wednesday 22nd January 1986

31 years ago

General Motors acquired a 59.7% ownership of Group Lotus PLC.

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Thursday 23rd January 1986

31 years ago

General Motors Corporation stated that they had acquired 59.7% of Group Lotus shares for about $20 million.

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Thursday 15th May 1986

31 years ago

Elio de Angelis (28) died, during Brabham testing in at the Paul Ricard Circuit in France. He is sometimes referred to as Formula One's "last gentleman player," and although he was probably not the most talented driver ever, he was certainly among the most popular. De Angelis' death also saw the end of Formula One using the full 5.81 km (3.61 mi) Paul Ricard Circuit. In what many saw as a knee-jerk reaction from FISA,[citation needed] F1 was forced to use the 3.812 km (2.369 mi) "Club" version of the circuit, bypassing the Verriere curves where the Brabham had crashed, and cutting the length of the Mistral Straight from 1.8 to 1 km in length. The move was unpopular with many of the drivers, although most did like the reduced straight length as it was easier on the engines. De Angelis was the last driver to die in a Formula One car until Roland Ratzenberger died during qualifying for the San Marino Grand Prix at Imola eight years later. The day after Ratzenberger's death, de Angelis' former Lotus team mate (and by then a triple World Champion) Ayrton Senna was killed on the seventh lap when his Williams-Renault crashed into the Tamburello Curve wall at over 180 mph (290 km/h).

Elio de Angelis

Elio de Angelis

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Sunday 25th May 1986

31 years ago

The 44th Belgian Grand Prix and the 32nd to be held at Spa-Francorchamps, run over 43 laps of the 7.0-kilometre circuit for a total race distance of 301 kilometres, was won by British driver Nigel Mansell driving a Williams FW11. It was Mansell's third Grand Prix victory after his two breakthrough wins at the end of the previous season and his first in 1986. Mansell won by 19 seconds over Brazilian driver Ayrton Senna driving a Lotus 98T.

Nigel Mansell (Williams FW11 Honda) - 1986 Belgian Grand

Nigel Mansell (Williams FW11 Honda) - 1986 Belgian Grand

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Sunday 15th June 1986

31 years ago

Nigel Mansell driving a Williams-Honda FW11 won the Canadian Grand Prix. The death of Elio de Angelis a month earlier had created an opening at Brabham and the team hired Derek Warwick who had been left out of work after Ayrton Senna refused to have him as his Lotus team mate. Marc Surer was also missing having been very seriously injured while competing on the Hessen Rally in a Ford RS200. Christian Danner was hired by Arrows but because of contractual problems had to race in Canada for Osella and so there was only one Arrows. Qualifying resulted in pole position for Nigel Mansell's Williams-Honda with Ayrton Senna's Lotus-Renault right with him. Nelson Piquet was third in the second Williams while Alain Prost was fourth for McLaren ahead of Rene Arnoux (Ligier), Keke Rosberg (McLaren), Gerhard Berger (Benetton), Jacques Laffite (Ligier), Riccardo Patrese (Brabham) and Warwick. Michele Alboreto was 11th in his Ferrari. In the morning warm-up Patrick Tambay suffered a suspension failure on his Lola-Ford and injured his feet in the resulting accident and so he did not start. Mansell took the lead and with Senna holding up those behind him, Mansell seemed to be in a very strong position. Behind Senna were Prost, Piquet, Rosberg, Arnoux and the rest. Rosberg soon overtook Piquet. On the fifth lap Prost finally made it ahead of Senna and the Brazilian went wide and was pushed back to sixth behind Piquet and Arnoux. On lap 13 Rosberg overtook Prost for second and four laps later the Finn took the lead. His fuel consumption was too much., however, and so Rosberg had to back off which enabled Mansell and Prost to close up. As they came up to lap Jones on lap 22 Rosberg left a small gap and Mansell took the lead again. He pulled away to win the race. Prost retook Rosberg for second place but he then had a slow pit stop caused by a sticking wheelnut and dropped back to fifth. He spent the rest of the race charging back to take second by the finish. Piquet was third with Rosberg fourth having had to slow to conserve fuel in the closing laps while the troubled Senna was fifth and Arnoux sixth.

Nigel Mansell on his way to winning the 1986 Canadian Grand Prix for Williams-Honda

Nigel Mansell on his way to winning the 1986 Canadian Grand Prix for Williams-Honda

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Sunday 12th April 1987

30 years ago

Reigning world champion, Frenchman Alain Prost driving a McLaren MP4/3 won the Brazilian Grand Prix at Jacarepagua. It was Prost's fourth victory in the Brazilian Grand Prix, expanding his own record. Prost won the race by 40 seconds over local hero Nelson Piquet driving a Williams FW11B. At the start Piquet was fastest, taking the lead from Senna, while Mansell made a bad start; the Benetton B187s of Boutsen and Teo Fabi out dragged Mansell and Prost. Adrián Campos was disqualified for an incorrect starting procedure, he had forgotten his ear plugs and by the time he had fitted them on the grid the rest of the field had moved away on the warm-up lap. Campos resumed his grid position instead of starting at the rear and race officials removed him for his rookie mistake.[1] Piquet's lead did not last long: on lap 7, he had to pit with engine overheating caused by litter on the track getting into the radiator sidepods. He rejoined back in eleventh position, leaving Senna to lead Mansell (who in the meantime fought back to second) although he too entered in the pits to have his radiators cleared. He rejoined behind Piquet and the pair began to climb through the field. Senna pitted because of handling troubles of his Lotus 99T and so Prost went into the lead. When Prost stopped for fresh tyres the lead was briefly passed to Thierry Boutsen, who was performing admirably with his Benetton-Ford, but his lead lasted less than half a lap before Piquet went back to first before his second stop, on lap 21. Prost then went ahead again and led for the rest of the race, never looking threatened as he preserved his tyres to only require two stops, while his rivals Senna and Piquet had three. Mansell's race was compromised late in the race by a tyre puncture, who sent him back to seventh place. On lap 51 Senna suffered an engine failure, causing him to retire from the second place he held for much of the race despite problems with the Lotus' active suspensions. Senna, who pulled off the track in front of the pits, reported that his engine had not actually blown, but that he could feel it was seizing and felt it would be better to retire rather than to destroy the engine. Prost won ahead of Piquet, his teammate Stefan Johansson, Gerhard Berger (who battled for the whole race with handling problems of his Ferrari F1/87), Boutsen and Mansell, who caught the last point. Satoru Nakajima's first Grand Prix, saw him finish just outside the points in seventh in his Lotus. This was Prost's 26th victory, which made him the second most successful Grand Prix winner at the time, moving him ahead of Jim Clark and just one win behind tying with Jackie Stewart as the most successful.

Brazilian Grand Prix - 1987

Brazilian Grand Prix - 1987

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Sunday 3rd May 1987

30 years ago

Nigel Mansell driving a Williams FW11B won the San Marino Grand Prix at Imola. It was Mansell's eighth Grand Prix victory, his first (of two) at the Imola circuit. Mansell finished 27 seconds ahead of Brazilian driver Ayrton Senna driving a Lotus 99T. Third was Italian driver Michele Alboreto driving a Ferrari F1/87. The win gave Mansell a one point lead in the championship over French McLaren driver Alain Prost.

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Sunday 31st May 1987

30 years ago

The Monaco Grand Prix was won by Brazilian driver Ayrton Senna driving a Lotus 99T, the first of his six wins at the famous street circuit and the fifth Grand Prix victory of his career. Senna won by 33 seconds over fellow Brazilian Nelson Piquet driving a Williams FW11B with Italian Michele Alboreto scoring the first podium of the year for Ferrari in his Ferrari F1/87 in third place. Traditionally the number of competitors permitted for this Grand Prix was lower than all other circuits, due to the tight twisty nature of the track. Originally 16, it was later increased to 20; in 1987 it was increased to a full grid of 26. According to FISA this was to bring it into line with other Grands Prix but there were cynical views that this was done in order to reduce the number of non-qualifiers to appease the team sponsors. There was widespread concern about the results of overcrowding on the track and the speed difference of various cars. During the practice session, Christian Danner (Zakspeed 871) and Michele Alboreto tangled, resulting in a severe accident: the Ferrari F1/87 was thrown in the air and caught fire, but landed back on the track. FISA took the decision to disqualify Danner from the weekend, the first such event in the history of the Formula 1 World Championship. There were widespread objections throughout the paddock, particularly as there were several other practice accidents and it was felt that Danner had no more to blame than any other driver involved in these accidents.[1] Alboreto himself believed that Danner was not to blame for the accident, which happened on the uphill Beau Rivage section after St Devote. Danner had been travelling slowly when the Ferrari came through at speed. Both drivers agreed that the Zakspeed had no room to move at that point of the circuit and the Ferrari had no room to pass, but Danner was excluded anyway leaving Martin Brundle as the German team's only representative. The pole position was claimed by Nigel Mansell in the Williams FW11B, second was Ayrton Senna in his Lotus 99T, and third was the other Williams of Nelson Piquet. The top three were in the same order after the start. On lap three, Philippe Streiff, still recovering from the huge accident he suffered at the previous race in Belgium, crashed his Tyrrell DG016 heavily again. Mansell's lead built up until lap 30, when he retired with a loss of turbo boost. This gave first place to Senna, who dominated the rest of the race, making a pit stop for tyre change without losing the lead, and set the fastest lap of the race. Arrows drivers Derek Warwick and Eddie Cheever were both competitive, but retired with gearbox and engine failure respectively. Alain Prost retired his McLaren MP4/3 from third place with an engine failure with just two laps to go. Piquet (having a quiet race on a street circuit he did not particularly enjoy) came home second from Alboreto in third and Gerhard Berger in fourth. Jonathan Palmer finished fifth for his first World Championship points in the Tyrrell DG016 (and winning the Jim Clark Trophy for drivers of normally aspirated cars), while Ivan Capelli grabbed the last point in his March 871. Senna's victory was the first for a car with active suspension.

Ayrton Senna - 1987 Monaco Grand Prix

Ayrton Senna - 1987 Monaco Grand Prix

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Sunday 21st June 1987

30 years ago

The Detroit Grand Prix held in Detroit, Michigan over 63 laps of the four kilometre circuit for a race distance of 253 kilometres, was won by Ayrton Senna in the active ride suspension equipped Lotus 99T.

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Sunday 12th July 1987

30 years ago

Nigel Mansell squeezed every last drop out of his Williams, overtaking team-mate Nelson Piquet three laps from the end of the British Grand Prix before running out of fuel on his lap of honour. Piercarlo Ghinzani had a less than memorable day after he ran out of fuel and was then push started by his mechanics. Add in that he had already angered stewards with a couple of extra laps at the end of qualifying, they wasted no time in disqualifying him. At the start, Prost was the quickest and took the lead, only to be passed by Piquet at Maggotts; Mansell soon followed his teammate. The race then became a close fight between the two Williams drivers, as neither Senna (also Honda powered) nor Prost were a match for them. Lotus were finding that while the active suspension worked well on bumpy street circuits, at smoother tracks like Silverstone finding balance with the car was proving difficult. Piquet led most of the race. By lap 35 Mansell was around 2 seconds behind his teammate. Both Williams drivers were scheduled to complete the race without a tyre change, but Mansell and the team elected to make a stop in order to change tyres. Mansell rejoined the race some 29 seconds behind Piquet, with 28 laps remaining. On fresh rubber Mansell began an epic charge which saw the lap record broken 8 times to the delight of the over 100,000 strong British crowd. By lap 62 the two cars were nose to tail and on lap 63 Mansell performed his now famous 'Silverstone Two Step' move, selling Piquet a dummy on the Hangar Straight and then diving down the inside into Stowe Corner. 2 corners after crossing the finish line, Mansell's car slowed down and was engulfed by the crowd. Initially it was thought that he had run out of fuel, but he had actually blown up the engine, out of the stress of running the last 6 laps on "Q" mode (which gives the engine +100hp), and risking running out of fuel at any moment (his fuel display was reading "minus 2.5 laps"). In fact that incident was the last straw for the patience of the Honda management, since it had – again – threatened their easily attainable 1, 2 result. Honda moved to McLaren the following year, leaving Williams with no options but to sign for underpowered Judd V8 units. Nelson Piquet went on to sign with Lotus on the following weeks, a move that kept Honda powering that team in 1988 as well. Senna finished a quiet race in third place while his teammate Satoru Nakajima had his best F1 finish by coming home 4th. Rounding out the points were Derek Warwick (Arrows-Megatron) and Teo Fabi (Benetton-Ford).

Nigel Mansell - 1987 British Grand Prix

Nigel Mansell - 1987 British Grand Prix

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Sunday 26th July 1987

30 years ago

The German Grand Prix at Hockenheim was won by eventual 1987 World Champion, Nelson Piquet driving a Williams FW11B. It was his first win of the season and his third win in the German Grand Prix having previously won for Brabham in 1981, and Williams in the previous year. Piquet won by over a minute and a half from Swedish driver Stefan Johansson driving a McLaren MP4/3, who coasted over the finish line on three wheels due to a tyre puncture suffered just past the pits on his last lap. The Swede's second place was the 50th podium finish for the Porsche-designed TAG turbo engine. Piquet inherited the win after engine failure claimed his team-mate, Briton Nigel Mansell, and reigning champion, Frenchman Alain Prost (McLaren MP4/3). Ayrton Senna finished third in his Lotus 99T. Just seven cars were classified at the end of the race, as the long straights took their toll on engine reliability. Naturally asiprated cars finished as high as fourth place with Frenchman Philippe Streiff leading home a team one-two in the Jim Clark/Colin Chapman Trophy standings for Tyrrell as Jonathan Palmer finished in fifth place. In sixth was French driver Philippe Alliot driving a Lola LC87 for the new Larrousse team. It was Alliot's second top six finish in Formula One and Larrousse's first world championship point, although the Constructor's Championship point would be credited to the chassis designers, Lola Cars. Piquet's win vaulted him into the championship lead for the first time in 1987, putting him four points ahead of Senna and nine ahead of Mansell.

Nelson Piquet - 1987 German Grand Prix

Nelson Piquet - 1987 German Grand Prix

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Sunday 9th August 1987

30 years ago

Nelson Piquet, the eventual 1987 F1 champion, driving a Williams-Honda FW11B, won the Hungarian Grand Prix at the Hungaroring. It was Piquet's second victory in a row after winning at the German Grand Prix. Again like the German Grand Prix it was a race Piquet had won the year before, and again like the German GP, it was a victory inherited, this time after a wheel nut came off the right front wheel of Nigel Mansell's Williams on lap 70. Ayrton Senna finished in second position in his Lotus 99T ahead of reigning world champion Alain Prost in his McLaren MP4/3. Belgian driver Thierry Boutsen (Benetton B187) chased the leaders hard all race to be rewarded with fourth place ahead of the Brabham BT56 of Italian Riccardo Patrese. The final championship point was claimed by Briton Derek Warwick in his Arrows A10. Warwick was sick with influenza and conjunctivitis, claiming the point on such a physically demanding circuit was a noteworthy achievement given the circumstances. Jonathan Palmer, who had said before the race that he hoped the tight Hungaroring would suit the non-turbos, claimed the Jim Clark Trophy points finishing seventh in his Tyrrell DG016 with team mate Philippe Streiff finishing ninth behind the second Arrows of Eddie Cheever. Italian driver Ivan Capelli was tenth in the March 871. The win allowed Piquet to expand his championship points lead to seven over Senna and 18 over Mansell.

Start of  the 1987 Hungarian Grand Prix

Start of the 1987 Hungarian Grand Prix

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Sunday 6th September 1987

30 years ago

The Italian Grand Prixwas won by Brazilian driver Nelson Piquet driving a Williams FW11B. It was Piquet's third and final victory for the year as he raced towards his third world championship. It was also the sixth consecutive victory for the Williams team, a run of wins that had begun at the French Grand Prix back in early July. Piquet, racing an active ride suspension system in his FW11B for the first time, won the race by 1.8 seconds, having taken the lead from Ayrton Senna's Lotus 99T with eight laps remaining as the younger Brazilian attempted to run the race without stopping for tyres. Piquet's British team mate Nigel Mansell finished third.

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Wednesday 14th March 1990

27 years ago

The Mazda MX-5 went on sale in the UK, priced at £14,249. Powered by a 1.6-litre inline four cylinder engine putting out 114 bhp at 6500 rpm, enabling a 0-60 mph dash in 9.1sec and topping out at 114 mph, the MX-5 was never about searing pace, as Autocar wrote,“If you’re expecting a Mazda MX-5 to set you alight, you’re in for a disappointment. But as with everything the MX-5 does, it’s not the result but the participation that puts a smile on your face. This is the two-seat roadster that car enthusiasts have been screaming for since the demise of the old Lotus Elan. It also has the two ingredients essential in any sports car powerplant: instant throttle response and an invigorating exhaust note.” The model debuted in 1989 at the Chicago Auto Show and was conceived as a small roadster – with light weight and minimal mechanical complexity limited only by legal and safety requirements, while being technologically modern and reliable. The MX-5 is conceptually the evolution and spiritual successor of the British sports cars of the 1950s & '60s. The second generation MX-5 (NB) was launched in 1998 (for the 1999 model year), the third generation (NC) model was launched in 2005 (for the 2006 model year), and a fourth generation (ND) was released in 2015 (for the 2016 model year). It continues to be the best-selling two-seat convertible sports car in history and by April 2016, over one million MX-5s had been built and sold around the world. Production of the MX-5 had fallen by 2013 to below 14,000 units, due to the world finance crisis in 2008, and the pre-announcement in 2012 of the coming ND model. Since the launch of the third generation, Mazda has consolidated worldwide marketing using the MX-5 name with the exception of the United States where it is marketed as the MX-5 Miata. The name Miata derives from Old High German for reward.

Mazda MX5 - 1990 brochure

Mazda MX5 - 1990 brochure

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Sunday 9th September 1990

27 years ago

Ayrton Senna took a pole to flag victory to win the Italian Grand Prix from title rival Alain Prost and Gerhard Berger but the star of the show was Jean Alesi, albeit only for four laps! Having qualified fifth, the Frenchman passed Mansell then Prost at the start before the race was stopped as Derek Warwick turned his Lotus upside-down on the start-finish straight. Once again, Alesi brilliantly overtook Mansell and Prost at the re-start before spinning and the race then became a procession to the finish. But Alesi had shown glimpses of brilliance in his less-powerful Tyrrell.

Alain Prost - Ferrari 641 - 1990 Italian Grand Prix

Alain Prost - Ferrari 641 - 1990 Italian Grand Prix

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Friday 28th September 1990

27 years ago

Martin Donnelly's short and promising career was ended when he crashed his Lotus in practice for the Spanish Grand Prix, hitting a guard rail at 140 mph with such force that his car disintegrated and he was hurled onto the track still strapped into his seat. One witness said everyone assumed he had been killed. It took three minutes for medical aid to reach him and an hour before he was stable enough to be helicoptered to hospital with serious head injuries and broken legs. During a long recovery he suffered kidney failure and was on dialysis for weeks and for a while it looked as though his right leg might have to be amputated. But he recovered, although he never raced seriously again.

Martin Donnelly's Lotus after the 1990 Jerez crash, gearstick still attached.

Martin Donnelly's Lotus after the 1990 Jerez crash, gearstick still attached.

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Sunday 10th March 1991

26 years ago

The United States Grand Prix in Phoenix, the opening race of the 1991 season, saw Ayrton Senna take it to the streets in his McLaren in just over 2 hours. He started from pole ahead of second man, Alain Prost in his Ferrari and finished ahead of the Frenchman by 16.3 seconds. Nelson Piquet brought his Bennetton home in third. Jean Alesi set fastest lap of the race in the other Ferrari but finished 9 laps down. There were some notable new faces at the race. Future World Champion Mika Hakkinen made his first grand prix start for Lotus and impressed by qualifying in 13th. It was also the first Formula One race for the Jordan team.

Start of the 1991 US Grand Prix

Start of the 1991 US Grand Prix

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Sunday 5th April 1992

25 years ago

Nigel Mansell driving a Williams-Renault FW14B won the Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos. His teammate Riccardo Patrese finished second and Michael Schumacher took third for the Benetton team. In qualifying Nigel Mansell and Riccardo Patrese were dominant in their Williams-Renaults, the pair ahead of Ayrton Senna's McLaren by almost two full seconds. Mansell had a silly accident at the end of qualifying when he did not need to be lapping quickly. Berger was fourth with Michael Schumacher fifth in his Benetton ahead of Jean Alesi's miserable Ferrari F92A, Martin Brundle's Benetton and the Dallara-Ferrari of Pierluigi Martini. The top 10 was completed by the March-Ilmor of Karl Wendlinger and the Ligier-Renault of Thierry Boutsen. Before the parade lap Berger's McLaren failed to fire up and so he had to start the race from the pitlane. Mansell made a terrible start and Patrese took the lead while Nigel found himself holding off Schumacher and Senna. Mansell emerged ahead while Senna used an outside overtaking manoeuvre to keep the young German under control. Mansell had a look at taking the lead on the first lap but Patrese closed the door firmly. For the next few laps they battled as they pulled away from the rest of the field. It took Schumacher until 13 before he managed to get ahead of Senna and he then began to charge after the two Williams drivers. Senna soon dropped behind Brundle and Alesi as well and he disappeared with an electrical problem after 17 laps. Brundle also disappeared after a brush with Alesi. In the midfield there was an embarrassing moment for Guy Ligier when both his drivers, Erik Comas and Thierry Boutsen, collided while battling Johnny Herbert's Lotus for seventh place.

Ayrton Senna - 1992 Brazilian Grand Prix

Ayrton Senna - 1992 Brazilian Grand Prix

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Sunday 5th July 1992

25 years ago

Nigel Mansell won the French Grand Prix in a Williams-Renault FW14B. A lorry driver blockade meant the Andrea Moda Formula team did not appear at this race. Every other team was also affected but all managed to make their way to the circuit and compete in the race. Both Williams cars qualified ahead of the McLarens with Nigel Mansell in pole position ahead of his teammate Riccardo Patrese, Ayrton Senna, Gerhard Berger, Michael Schumacher and Frenchman Jean Alesi. At the start, Patrese got by Mansell while Berger got ahead of Senna and Martin Brundle was able to sneak by Alesi. At the Adelaide hairpin, Schumacher tried to pass Senna but instead hit him, taking Senna out and forcing himself to pit. Meanwhile, Patrese and Mansell were side by side but Patrese kept the lead. Patrese led Mansell, Berger, Brundle, Alesi and Häkkinen. Nothing changed until lap 11 when Berger's engine failed. Soon afterwards it began to rain so heavily that the race was stopped. After some time the rain decreased and the grid formed up again. The race would be decided on the aggregate times of both parts of the race. Patrese took the lead again with Alesi getting ahead of Mika Häkkinen's Lotus as well. Mansell tried to pass his teammate again but Patrese defended and once again kept the lead. Further back, Schumacher again tried too hard, hitting Stefano Modena in the Jordan, dropping out of the race with a broken front suspension. Patrese led Mansell, Brundle, Alesi, Häkkinen and Comas on aggregate. Patrese then waved Mansell through on track and soon Mansell got ahead on aggregate. When Patrese was quizzed after the race on whether team orders existed in the Williams team he refused to comment. It began to rain again and everyone pitted for wets with Alesi leaving the change too late and dropping down to sixth. His engine failed on lap 61. Mansell won with Patrese making it a Williams 1-2 ahead of Brundle, Häkkinen, Comas and Herbert. This was Brundle's first podium - he had been disqualified from his podium finish at the 1984 Detroit Grand Prix. Thus, at the halfway stage of the season, Mansell led the championship with 66 points compared to Patrese's 34. Schumacher was third with 26, Senna was fourth with 18, Berger was fifth with 18, Alesi was sixth with 11, Brundle was seventh with 9 and Alboreto was eighth with 5. In the constructors championship, Williams had 100 points and were well ahead of the field: McLaren were second with 36, Benetton were third with 35 and Ferrari were fourth with 13. Due to his sabbatical from Formula One in 1992, the race was only the second time since he first appeared on the podium for his home race in 1981 that Alain Prost was not on the podium for the French Grand Prix. Prost had won the French GP in 1981, 1983, 1988, 1989 and 1990. He was second in 1982, 1986 and 1991, and finished third in 1985 and 1987. The only podium he missed from 1981-1991 was at Dijon in 1984 when he finished seventh after problems with a loose wheel.

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Sunday 9th May 1993

24 years ago

Alain Prost driving a Williams-Renault FW15C won the Spanish Grand Prix held at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona from p[ole position in a time of 1:32:27. Ayrton Senna was second in his McLaren 16 seconds back and Michael Schumacher in his Benetton set the fastest lap of the race to come in third from his fourth starting position. As usual, the Williamses took 1-2 in qualifying in Spain, with Prost ahead of Hill, Senna, Schumacher, Patrese and Wendlinger. At the start, Hill got ahead of Prost with no changes behind. Hill was leading Prost, Senna, Schumacher, Patrese and Wendlinger. Hill and Prost pulled away from the rest with Prost taking the lead on lap 11. Later in the race Prost's car began to handle oddly and Hill closed up on him, attempting to re-overtake the Frenchman, only to retire when his engine failed on lap 41. Schumacher and Senna both pitted for tyres late in the race. Senna had a tardy stop, and he lost nearly all his advantage over Schumacher, who put in a string of fastest laps to close the gap. This challenge was ended when Schumacher went off the track at the final corner, after having to go off line to pass the smoking Lotus of Alessandro Zanardi. Prost won from Senna, Schumacher, Patrese, Andretti and Berger.

Alain Prost winning 1993 Spanish Grand Prix

Alain Prost winning 1993 Spanish Grand Prix

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Thursday 26th August 1993

24 years ago

General Motors sold its Group Lotus subsidiary to Bugatti International SAH, the new Bugatti group's financial holding company headquartered in Luxembourg.

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Friday 27th August 1993

24 years ago

General Motors sold its Group Lotus subsidiary to Bugatti International SAH, the new Bugatti group's financial holding company headquartered in Luxembourg.

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Friday 22nd October 1993

24 years ago

Robert MacGregor Innes Ireland died from cancer at the age of 63. Arguably the most spectacular talent of his generation, Innes Ireland won the 1961 US-Grand Prix for Lotus. A couple of weeks later Colin Chapman sacked him as the Lotus boss saw more potential in youngster Jimmy Clark. Innes, a former RAF parachuter, declined yet another offer from BRM to join the independent UDT/LAystall outfit for the 1962 season. Probably not the best choice of his life as this cost him the chance to fight for the World Championship.

Innes Ireland

Innes Ireland

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Sunday 11th September 1994

23 years ago

Damon Hill won the Italian Grand Prix for Williams-Renault. The day after the Grand Prix, Lotus went into receivership. Lotus had brought an upgraded Mugen engine to Monza, allowing Johnny Herbert to qualify in a season-best fourth place, but hopes that he may score points in the race were ended in a first corner accident with Eddie Irvine, who was given a one-race ban suspended for three races for his driving.

Damon Hill - winning 1994 Italian Grand Prix

Damon Hill - winning 1994 Italian Grand Prix

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Tuesday 17th January 1995

22 years ago

What seemed at the time to be the end of an era as Lotus announced it was withdrawing from F1 because of chronic financial problems. Formed in 1952, Lotus had been an ever present since it made its F1 debut in 1958, going on to win six drivers' championships and seven constructors' titles. "I am confident that there is a path through all this to long-term security," said owner David Hunt, brother of former champion James. "Other than Ferrari, the Lotus name is arguably the strongest in grand prix racing. What I want to avoid is allowing the team to be put in a situation where it is going to struggle around at the back of the grid and have its name dragged further through the mud." Sadly, that just what happened in 2010 when the brand returned under Malaysian ownership. It laboured near the back of the field all season and a fight subsequently started over who had rights to the name - manufacturer Proton or team boss Tony Fernandes. At least that was dragged through the courts rather than mud.

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Sunday 5th February 1995

22 years ago

Frank Costin, car and aircraft designer and the "cos" in Marcos, died of cancer aged 75. Costin was an engineer with the de Havilland Aircraft Company when, in 1954, his brother Mike, a former de Havilland engineer then working for Lotus Engineering Ltd., asked him to design an aerodynamic body for a new racing car. Intrigued by the idea of applying aerodynamics to racing cars, Costin designed the body for the Lotus Mark VIII Unlike his brother, Costin was never a Lotus employee; his work there was either as a paid consultant or as a volunteer. In 1956, when Chapman was commissioned by Tony Vandervell to design a Grand Prix racing car to challenge Maserati and Ferrari dominance of the formula, Chapman recommended Costin to Vandervell as the body designer. Costin designed the body for the Vanwall that won the first Grand Prix Constructors' Championship. Later, Costin used his aeronautical knowledge to design and build a chassis from plywood. This led to a lightweight, stiff structure, which he could then clothe with an efficient, aerodynamic body, a huge advantage in the low-capacity sports car racing of the immediate postwar period. He was also involved in a number of road car projects for various manufacturers including Lister and Lotus, where he contributed to the early aerodynamic designs; Marcos, which he co-founded with Jem Marsh (MARsh and COStin); and racecar chassis for Maserati, Lotus, and DTV. He also designed the Costin Amigo, the TMC Costin, and the Costin Sports Roadster. He also created an ultra-light glider with Keith Duckworth, an old friend and his brother's business partner.

Frank Costin

Frank Costin

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Friday 28th April 1995

22 years ago

The last ZR-1 Corvette - "King of the Hill" - rolled off the assembly line. Chevrolet general manager Jim Perkins and Chief Corvette Engineer Dave McLellan delivered the car to the National Corvette Museum. During its six year lifetime, 6939 ZR-1 Corvettes were built. The ZR-1 was distinguishable from other Corvette coupes by its wider tail section, 11" wide rear wheels and its new convex rear fascia with four square shaped taillights and a CHMSL (center high mounted stop lamp) attached to the top of the hatch glass instead of between the taillights. The ZR-1 displayed stunning ability both in terms of acceleration and handling capabilities, but carried with it an astonishingly high price. MSRP for the (375 hp) ZR-1 in 1990 was $58,995, almost twice the cost of a (250 hp) non-ZR-1, and had ballooned to $66,278 by 1995; some dealers successfully marked units as high as $100,000. Even at base MSRP, this meant that the ZR-1 was competing in the same price bracket as cars like the Porsche 964, making it a hard sell for GM dealers. In 1991, the ZR-1 and base model received updates to body work, interior, and wheels. The rear convex fascia that set the 1990 ZR-1 apart from the base model found its way to all models, making the high-priced ZR-1 even less distinguishable. Further changes were made in 1992, including extra ZR-1 badges on the fenders and the introduction of Acceleration Slip Regulation (ASR) or traction control. For model year 1993, Lotus design modifications were made to the cylinder heads, exhaust system and valvetrain of the LT5, bringing horsepower up from 375 to 405. In addition, a new exhaust gas recirculation system improved emissions control. The model remained nearly unchanged into the 1995 model year, after which the ZR-1 was discontinued as the result of waning interest, development of the LS series engines, cost and the coming of the C5 generation. A total of 6,939 ZR-1s were manufactured over the six-year period. Not until the debut of the C5 platform Z06 would Chevrolet have another production Corvette capable of matching the ZR-1's performance. Although the ZR-1 was extremely quick for its time (0-60 mph in 4.4 seconds, and onto 180+ mph), the huge performance of the LT5 engine was matched by its robustness. As evidence of this, a stock ZR-1 set seven international and world records at a test track in Fort Stockton, Texas on March 1, 1990, verified by the FIA (Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile) for the group II, class 11 category: 100 miles (160 km) at 175.600 mph (282.601 km/h) 500 miles (800 km) at 175.503 mph (282.445 km/h) 1,000 miles (1,600 km) at 174.428 mph (280.715 km/h) 5,000 km (3,100 mi) at 175.710 mph (282.778 km/h) (World Record) 5,000 miles (8,000 km) at 173.791 mph (279.690 km/h) (World Record) 12 Hours Endurance at 175.523 mph (282.477 km/h) 24 Hours Endurance at 175.885 mph (283.059 km/h) for 4,221.256 miles (6,793.453 km) (World Record) These records were later broken by the Volkswagen W12, a one-off concept car that never went into production.

1990 Corvette ZR-1

1990 Corvette ZR-1

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Tuesday 12th September 1995

22 years ago

Possibly the world’s most advanced sports car for its time was unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show – the new Lotus Elise. Featuring a futuristic, yet practical and proven, epoxy-bonded aluminium spaceframe chassis, clothed in a stunning composite body shell, the Elise was small, strong, ultralight, efficient, very fast and great fun to drive – the next-generation pure supercar.

Lotus Elise 111R

Lotus Elise 111R

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Wednesday 30th October 1996

21 years ago

Proton acquired an 80% stake in Lotus Group International Limited, valued at £51 million.

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Monday 9th October 2000

17 years ago

The Series 2 Lotus Elise, a redesigned Series 1 using a slightly modified version of the Series 1 chassis and the same K-series engine with a brand new Lotus-developed engine control unit, was unveiled.

Lotus Elise Series 2

Lotus Elise Series 2

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Saturday 15th September 2001

16 years ago

Italian racing driver Alex Zanardi suffered a huge crash while racing in the Cart series in Germany on this day in 2001. Lucky to survive the crash, Zanardi had to have both his legs amputated. Astonishingly, he was back racing again within two years. Zanardi drove in Formula One for Jordan, Lotus and Williams, but the highest Formula One race finish was only sixth at the Brazilian Grand Prix in 1993. In 2006 he returned to the cockpit of a BMW Sauber F1 car at Valencia and completed several laps with a hand-operated throttle and brake on the steering wheel. Afterwards he said: "Of course, I know that I won't get a contract with the Formula One team, however having the chance to drive an F1 racer again is just incredible."

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Friday 20th February 2004

13 years ago

The 10,675th and last Lotus Esprit rolled off the line after 28 years in production. A mid-engined sports car, launched in the early 1970s, the Esprit shocked many at its launch - its geometric, laser-cut lines seemed far more futuristic than anything on the road. It featured in the 1977 Bond movie The Spy Who Loved Me and briefly in For Your Eyes Only; it also appeared in the 1990 movie Pretty Woman.

Lotus Esprit

Lotus Esprit

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Friday 9th December 2005

11 years ago

Lotus unveiled its new two-seater £33,000 GT car. The Europa S followed the Lotus tradition of producing lightweight sports cars, weighing just 995 kg thanks to an aluminium chassis, similar to that found in the Elise and Exige. The 2.0-litre 200 bhp turbocharged GM engine, propelled the Europa from 0-60mph in 5.5 seconds.

Lotus Europa S

Lotus Europa S

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Sunday 18th December 2005

11 years ago

David Keith Duckworth (72), the English engineer best known for designing the Cosworth DFV (Double Four Valve) engine, an engine that revolutionised Formula One, died. In 1958 he founded Cosworth with fellow Lotus employee Mike Costin. Costin was obliged to remain with Lotus, having recently signed a restrictive contract; for the first few years Duckworth worked essentially alone at Cosworth until Mike could join him. From the start the company was closely associated with the Ford Motor Company and Lotus, and the two companies found early success in the newly formed Formula Junior in the early 1960s. Not only did these successes finance Cosworth's move from Friern Barnet to Edmonton, then to Northampton but they inspired Lotus founder Colin Chapman to persuade Ford to finance the production of Duckworth's DFV (double four valve) engine. Chapman's idea was to reduce weight by using the engine as a stressed part of the chassis, bolted straight on to the front monocoque tub, removing the need for a spaceframe around the engine and making it easier for mechanics to maintain the cars. This arrangement has been standard in F1 ever since. The DFV made a famous debut in the third race of the 1967 season, in the Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort. In the back of the Lotus 49, it proved lightning-quick straight out of the box, with Graham Hill taking pole position and Jim Clark taking the win. Teething problems prevented Clark mounting a serious title challenge but the Lotus-Ford was undoubtedly the class of the field. In 1968 the DFV was made available to all teams, and with its enviable power (about 400 bhp (298 kW; 406 PS)) and relatively low price the DFV quickly began to fill up the grid. This spawned a plethora of small, mainly English-based low-budget teams throughout the 1970s, with the DFV last racing in a Tyrrell in 1985. The DFV's last race was the Austrian Grand Prix, held on the fast Österreichring circuit, where driver Martin Brundle failed to qualify the underpowered car. By 1985 the DFV, now upgraded as the DFY, was rated at around 540 bhp (403 kW; 547 PS), though it was up against 950 bhp (708 kW; 963 PS) turbocharged cars and had generally become uncompetitive. The DFV's last win was at the 1983 Detroit Grand Prix with Italian driver Michele Alboreto piloting his Tyrrell 011 to a surprise, but popular victory. The final podium finish by a DFV powered car came a year later in Detroit when Brundle drove his Tyrrell 012 to second place (Tyrrell were later disqualified from the 1984 season for technical infringements).

The classic DFV engine - Hewland gearbox combination, mounted in the rear of a 1978 Tyrrell 008.

The classic DFV engine - Hewland gearbox combination, mounted in the rear of a 1978 Tyrrell 008.

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Tuesday 3rd July 2007

10 years ago

The Royal Mail issued six Grand Prix stamps to celebrate one hundred years of UK motorsport and the 50th anniversary of Stirling Moss winning the British Grand Prix. The six stamps featured Moss’s 1957 Vanwall, Graham Hill’s 1962 BRM P57, Jim Clark’s 1963 Lotus 25 Climax, Jackie Stewart’s 1973 Tyrrell 006/2, James Hunt’s 1976 McLaren M23 and Nigel Mansell’s 1986 Williams FW11.

Royal Mail Grand Prix stamps

Royal Mail Grand Prix stamps

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Tuesday 23rd October 2007

10 years ago

Sussex Police Force's revealed its latest new recruit - a £35,000, 148 mph Lotus Exige S. Dressed in full police uniform and with a set of flashing lights on the roof, it was Britain's fastest police car and could reach 60 mph in only 4.1 seconds. The Exige was used at motoring events to encourage young people to drive responsibly and safely.

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Friday 23rd November 2007

9 years ago

Lotus Cars released its limited edition for Europe – the Lotus Elise S 40th Anniversary Limited Edition.

Lotus Elise S 40th Anniversary Limited Edition

Lotus Elise S 40th Anniversary Limited Edition

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Thursday 3rd March 2011

6 years ago

It was announced that Bristol Cars had gone into administration, with the immediate loss of 22 jobs. The first car, the 1947 Bristol 400, was heavily based on pre-WW2 BMWs. The body looked very like the BMW 327, while its engine and suspension were clones of BMW designs (engine and front suspension based on those of the BMW 328, rear suspension from the BMW 326). Even the famous double-kidney BMW grille was carried over intact. Until 1961 all Bristol cars used evolutions of the 6-cylinder BMW-derived engine. This well-regarded engine also powered a number of sports and racing cars, including all post-war Frazer Nash cars (apart from a few prototypes), some ACs, some Lotus and Cooper racing cars, and several others. Some Bristol cars were made in chassis form and then bodied by specialist firms such as the lightweight Zagato bodies and the custom line of Arnolt Bristols. In 1961, with the launch of the Bristol 407, the company switched to larger Chrysler V8 engines, which were more suitable for the increasingly heavy cars. All post-1961 Bristols including the Blenheim and Fighter models use Chrysler engines. From 1960 to 1973, former racing driver T.A.D. Tony Crook and Sir George White owned Bristol Cars; In 1973, Sir George sold his stake to Tony Crook. In 1997, Toby Silverton came on board and there followed the greater level of development of cars seen in recent years (particularly, the new Bristol Fighter). Crook eventually sold the company to Silverton in 2001. In April 2011, the company was purchased by Kamkorp. Since 2011, the company has restored and sold all models of the marque while a new model is being developed

Bristol 401 (1948-53)

Bristol 401 (1948-53)

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Wednesday 27th April 2011

6 years ago

Team Lotus owner Tony Fernandes announced that he had purchased Caterham Cars.

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Sunday 8th July 2012

5 years ago

Red Bull driver Mark Webber, won the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, his second victory of the season. The Ferrari of Fernando Alonso, who started the race in pole position, finished 3.0 seconds behind Webber, in second. Webber's team-mate, Sebastian Vettel, completed the podium by finishing in third position. As a consequence of the race, Webber narrowed Alonso's lead in the drivers' standings to 13 points. Webber himself was 16 points ahead of Vettel, who had moved ahead of Lewis Hamilton into third in the standings on 100 points. Red Bull extended their lead in the constructors' standings to 64 points. Ferrari moved up from fourth place to second whilst McLaren did the reverse and Lotus stayed in third position. All three teams stayed within 10 points of each other. This would prove to be Webber's final career F1 victory.

Mark Webber - 2012 British Grand Prix

Mark Webber - 2012 British Grand Prix

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Friday 14th February 2014

3 years ago

The Hennessey Venom GT on the Kennedy Space Center’s 3.22-mile (5.2 km) shuttle landing strip in Florida, the Hennessey team recorded a top speed of 270.49 mph (435.31 km/h) with Director of Miller Motorsport Park, Brian Smith, driving. As the run was in a single direction, and only 16 cars had been sold (to qualify Hennessey must build 30), it did not qualify as the world's fastest production car in the Guinness Book of Records. The Venom GT utilized a heavily modified Lotus Exige chassis. The manufacturer, Hennessey Performance Engineering, stated the modified chassis uses components from the Lotus Exige, including the roof, doors, side glass, windscreen, cockpit, floorpan, HVAC system, wiper and head lamps. Hennessey Performance and the Venom GT are not associated with Lotus Cars. For road use, the car is registered as a Lotus Exige (modified) and is not a series production car. The Venom GT has a curb weight of 2,743 lb (1,244 kg) aided by carbon fiber bodywork and carbon fiber wheels. The brakes use Brembo 6-piston calipers in the front and 4-piston calipers in the rear. The rotors are 15 inches (380 mm) carbon ceramic units provided by Surface Transforms. Hennessey claimed a top speed of 278mph for the Hennessey Venom GT. The Venom GT was powered by a twin turbocharged 427 cu in (7.0 L) GM LSX engine sometimes incorrectly thought to be a variant of GM LS7 engine with which it shares some mechanical similarities. The LSX architecture incorporated specific design features such as reinforced internal components and additional head bolts with aluminum heads including twin Precision dual ball bearing turbochargers. The engine produced 1,244 bhp (928 kW; 1,261 PS) of power at 6,600 rpm and 1,155 lb·ft (1,566 N·m) of torque at 4,400 rpm.[1] Engine power output is adjustable by three settings: 800 bhp (597 kW; 811 PS), 1,000 bhp (746 kW; 1,014 PS) and 1,200 bhp (895 kW; 1,217 PS). The engine revs to 7,200 rpm. The mid-engine V8 was mated to the rear wheels with a Ricardo 6-speed manual transmission, which was also used in the Ford GT. A programmable traction control system managed power output. Computational fluid dynamics tested bodywork and downforce also helped to keep the Venom GT stable. Under varying conditions on both the road and racetrack, an active aero system with adjustable rear wing could be deployed. An adjustable suspension system allowed ride height adjustments by 2.4 inches (61 mm) according to speed and driving conditions.

Hennessey Venom GT

Hennessey Venom GT

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Friday 10th March 2017

0 years ago

Former Formula 1 and motorcycling world champion John Surtees died at the age of 83. Surtees is the only man to have won the grand prix world championship on both two wheels and four. He won four 500cc motorcycling titles - in 1956, 1958, 1959 and 1960 - and the F1 crown with Ferrari in 1964. At 16 he left school and became an apprentice engineer at the Vincent motorcycle factory. A year later he competed in his first solo race and won it. In 1955 he became a member of the Norton works team and rode to victory 68 times in 76 races. From 1956 to 1960 he raced 350cc and 500cc bikes for the famed Italian MV Agusta team and won seven world championships. His transition to becoming a star in cars was nearly as swift. In 1959 the by now famous bike racer was given test drives by eager talent-hunters. In his first single-seater race, at Goodwood in a F3 Cooper entered by Ken Tyrrell, Surtees finished a close second to Jim Clark, then a promising beginner with Team Lotus, whose boss Colin Chapman promptly hired Surtees for the last four races of the 1960 Formula One season. His results - a second place in the British Grand Prix and a near win in Portugal - made Surtees a driver in demand. He stopped racing motorcycles and considered several Formula One offers, including one from Chapman to partner Clark at Team Lotus. Instead, Surtees opted to drive a Cooper in 1961 and a Lola in 1962, neither venture producing much in the way of results. However, his twin strengths of talent and tenacity kept Surtees in the limelight, especially in Italy, where the former MV Agusta star was now invited to lead the country's famous Formula One team. Enzo Ferrari (who had managed a motorcycle racing team in the 1930s) was a great admirer of the passion and fighting spirit shown by Surtees the bike racer, and hired him as his number one Formula One driver for 1963. In that year's German Grand Prix at the mighty Nurburgring a ferocious fight with Jim Clark's Lotus resulted in a first championship win for John Surtees. In Italy, the former motorcycle hero known as 'Son of the Wind' and 'John the Great' was hailed as Ferrari's saviour. Nicknamed 'Big John' in English, he also became 'Fearless John' - particularly in 1964 after he won another brilliant victory at the daunting and dangerous Nurburgring, where he beat Graham Hill in a BRM. With another victory, at Monza, Surtees was in contention for the title. So, too, were his countrymen Hill and Clark, each of whom had also won two races. In their Mexican Grand Prix championship showdown Clark's Lotus was waylaid by an oil leak and Hill's BRM was accidentally shoved out of contention by Lorenzo Bandini's Ferrari, whose team mate finished second to become World Champion. For John Surtees, the satisfaction of becoming the first World Champion on both two and four wheels was only mitigated by the fact that he had clinched all his bike titles with race victories. Though he would win three more Formula One championship races, there were no more driving titles in his future. To some degree he was a victim of circumstances, though his feisty personality and fierce independence were also factors. He developed a reputation for being argumentative and cantankerous. Certainly, he said what he thought and did not suffer fools gladly. While most drivers left their aggression in the cockpit, Surtees seemed to keep his 'race face' on, which could be intimidating. In 1965, when Ferrari's Formula One cars were less competitive, Surtees ran his own Lola sportscar in the lucrative North American Can-Am series. In one of those races, late in the season at Mosport in Canada, his Lola suffered a suspension failure and crashed heavily, leaving Surtees with multiple injuries. Over the winter he forced himself back to fitness and in the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa he stormed through pouring rain to score one of his most impressive victories. And yet this proved to be his last race for Ferrari. Ever since 1963 Surtees had been at odds with team manager Eugenio Dragoni. At the Le Mans 24 hour race their feud boiled over and Surtees stalked off never to return. Eventually, he agreed with Enzo Ferrari that their split was a disastrous mistake for both parties. Surtees finished 1966 with Cooper, for whom he won the season finale in Mexico, then spent two years leading Honda's new Formula One team. He helped develop the Japanese cars and was rewarded with a satisfying win in Ferrari's home race, the 1967 Italian Grand Prix at Monza, though Honda left Formula One racing a year later. After a frustrating 1969 season with BRM Surtees decided to follow the lead of Jack Brabham and Bruce McLaren and form his own team, though he was destined to have much less success. In nine Formula One seasons the best results for Team Surtees were a second and a third for Mike Hailwood, himself a multiple world champion on bikes. The Team Surtees boss retired from driving in 1973 to concentrate on trying to find more performance for his cars and enough money to pay for it. Not enough of either was found, despite Surtees pushing himself mercilessly the way he did as a driver. His constant striving exacerbated medical problems (a legacy of his 1965 accident) that eventually forced Surtees out of Formula One racing in 1978. His return to health gave him a new lease on life and the former curmudgeon mellowed considerably. He retired to a beautiful old house in the English countryside, where with a new wife (his first marriage was childless) he raised a family of three. He developed an interest in architecture and was successful in real estate ventures. Only then was the one and only champion on two wheels and four able to fully enjoy his singular achievements - of which he said: "I was a bit nuts, really." In his later years Surtees spent much of his time working tirelessly for The Henry Surtees Foundation, set up after his son was tragically killed in a freak accident in a Formula Two race in 2009.

John Surtees

John Surtees

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