Lotus is celebrating no fewer than 10 vital anniversaries in 2021. Norfolk-based get together suppliers would possibly have to refill on birthday candles in readiness.
Lotus Engineering was conceived by Chapman and his spouse Hazel in 1952. The Mark VI was the primary true Lotus, with Chapman utilizing his expertise with Austin-based trials automobiles to create the first trace of what was to come back.
The long-lasting Lotus Seven adopted in 1957, with the Elan showing in 1962. The latter is acknowledged as one of many best sports activities automobiles of its period. It even impressed the unique Mazda MX-5.
Listed here are the long-lasting Lotus fashions moving into place for a celebration in 2021.
Lotus Evora GTE – 10 years
The Evora GTE race automotive was developed by Lotus Motorsport for the brand new international GTE class. Two automobiles had been entered into the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup (ILMC), which meant Lotus would take part within the Le Mans 24 Hours race for the primary time since 1995.
It appeared just like the Evora GT4 of 2010, however roughly 85 % of the automotive was new. The Cosworth-tuned Toyota V6 engine was bored out from 3.5 to 4.0 litres – producing as a lot as 400hp, relying on the race laws. On the launch, Luke Bennett, director of Lotus Automobiles, stated: “Motorsport has been in our blood ever since our founder, Colin Chapman, constructed the primary Lotus again in 1948.
“We’re pleased with our motorsport historical past, which incorporates victories in Components One, Le Mans, saloon automotive, rally automotive and sports activities automotive racing world wide; extra not too long ago, we received the British GT3 Championship in 2006 with the Lotus Exige. The Lotus Evora Sort 124 Endurance Racecar is from the identical distinctive secure and we count on it to be a aggressive racecar after we enter numerous endurance races subsequent yr.”
Automobile quantity 65 completed twenty second general and seventh at school, whereas automotive quantity 64 retired after 17 hours and 229 laps and was labeled forty fifth general.
Lotus Elise S2 – 20 years
Goodness, is that the time? It’s 20 years because the Lotus Elise S2 was unveiled on the Birmingham Motor Present.
Readers of a sure age will bear in mind the Elise S2 gracing the entrance cowl of CAR journal in December 2000. Above a banner of ‘SUPERCARS YOU CAN AFFORD’, the Elise sat alongside the Renault Clio V6, Subaru Impreza Turbo and Ford Focus RS. Good instances.
It achieved the not possible by enhancing on the unique Lotus Elise in nearly each doable method. Crucially, it retained the simplicity and purity of the Elise S1, making it the very best inexpensive sports activities automotive on the planet.
Lotus Esprit V8 – 25 years
In March 1996, the Esprit V8 was premiered on the Paul Ricard circuit in France within the form of an Esprit GT1 racer. 4 days later, the covers got here off the road-legal model on the Geneva Motor Present.
The V8 engine catapulted the Esprit into the supercar large league, enabling it to rub shoulders with Porsche and Ferrari.
A prime pace of 175mph and a 0-60mph time of 4.8 seconds recommended the Esprit might put up an excellent battle, but it surely was let down by a dated cabin and a poor gearbox. Nonetheless, it was round £30,000 cheaper than a Ferrari F355.
Lotus Sort 88 – 40 years
The Lotus Sort 88 is a Components 1 automotive remembered for one factor: it by no means really raced. It featured a revolutionary two-chassis structure, one constituted of carbon fibre and Kevlar, which was mounted to a second stiffer chassis that managed the aerodynamic downforce.
It was attributable to make its debut on the 1981 United States Grand Prix West, however protests from rival groups led to the automotive’s withdrawal. Though it handed scrutineering, the complaints targeted on the truth that the second chassis was a ‘movable aerodynamic system’.
Colin Chapman appealed the choice, however other than some observe laps in Brazil, it was the top for the Sort 88.
Lotus Sunbeam rally success – 40 years
The Talbot Lotus Sunbeam was victorious within the 1981 World Rally Championship, ending 11 factors forward of Datsun.
It was the primary and solely time Lotus secured a world rally honour, though Man Fréquelin needed to accept second place within the Drivers’ Championship. The title was received by Ari Vatanen in his Ford Escort RS1800.
‘For Your Eyes Solely’ – 40 years
June 1981 noticed the premiere of the twelfth James Bond movie: For Your Eyes Solely. Though the Lotus Turbo Esprit is much less well-known than the white Esprit S1 from The Spy Who Liked Me, it performs a starring position in Roger Moore’s fifth outing as 007.
In case you haven’t seen it, journalist Harry Metcalfe travelled to Cortina in his Esprit to re-live the movie. It’s the proper option to spend 20 minutes of your time throughout lockdown.
Lotus Sort 56B – 50 years
The Lotus Sort 56B was Colin Chapman’s imaginative and prescient of an IndyCar getting used for F1 functions. It used a Pratt & Whitney turbine engine and ran on aviation-grade kerosene.
It made its debut at Manufacturers Hatch in March 1971, however the observe’s uneven floor didn’t swimsuit the design of the purple, white and gold automotive. The 56B retired on lap 33, whereas regulation modifications meant that just one chassis was ever accomplished.
Lotus Europa Twin Cam – 50 years
The Lotus Europa Twin Cam was unveiled on the 1971 British Motor Present. Because the identify suggests, it was powered by a Ford twin-cam engine, which changed the previous Renault unit utilized by Lotus.
Reviewing the brand new model of the Europa, Motor Sport stated: “There isn’t any doubt that the 105bhp twin-cam engine has made the Europa an exceptionally quick and accelerative automotive… [it will] undoubtedly show extra in style in its new kind for lovers who like thoroughbred two-seater sports activities automobiles.”
Nearly 1,600 examples of the Europa Twin-Cam had been constructed throughout 1971 and 1972.
Lotus Sort 21 – 60 years
The Lotus Sort 21 was Colin Chapman’s first F1 race automotive for the 1961 season. Amazingly, the prototype was constructed from scratch in simply six weeks. Chapman lowered the seating place to cut back the operating peak and convey down the centre of gravity. Energy was sourced from a 1.5-litre Coventry Climax FPF four-cylinder engine.
Following its debut on the Monaco Grand Prix, the Sort 21 secured its solely victory at Watkins Glen, with Innes Eire on the wheel.
This debut win for the ‘works staff’ Lotus was sufficient to offer Workforce Lotus the runners-up place within the Constructors’ Championship.
Lotus Mark III – 70 years
Lastly, this yr marks the seventieth anniversary of Colin Chapman’s third automotive: the Mark III. To compete within the 750 Components, Chapman purchased a 1932 Austin Seven for £15, stripped it again and changed virtually each ingredient.
Weighing simply 370kg, it might dash to 60mph in 6.6 seconds and attain speeds of as much as 90mph.