I MISS THE LOTUS
Remember the time when Lotus was this amazing black car that used to win and give us so much joy? This week I was feeling nostalgic about the Lotus John Player Special Edition, one of the best and most beautiful cars aver produced.
Arguably the most innovative team in Formula One history, Lotus established itself in the 1950s by building simple, lightweight sportscars with sublime handling. They stuck with that same philosophy as they became the dominant force in Grand Prix racing in the 1960s and 70s, and had many of racing’s greatest champions pilot their machines.
Team founder Colin Chapman was an ingenious engineer who experimented with lightweight materials and relied heavily on his knowledge of aeronautical engineering, which he had gained while in the Royal Air Force.
The team recruited ace Scottish driver Jim Clark, and he took them to a remarkable seven wins in 1963, earning the team’s first title. It was to be the first of seven constructors’ titles.Clark was the only driver to win two Drivers’ titles in a Lotus. Graham Hill, Jochen Rindt, Emerson Fittipaldi and Mario Andretti took one title each.
Soon the cars’ iconic green livery with a yellow stripe gave way to sponsorship. Lotus were the first F1™ team to receive commercial support, in the form of its red, white and gold ‘Gold Leaf’ branded cars in 1968.
the 1970s Lotus’s black and gold John Player Special cars continued to win, thanks to their ground-breaking aerodynamics and fearless drivers.
Chapman died before his time from a heart attack in 1982, aged 54. The team’s management was thereafter overseen by fellow Englishman Peter Warr.
In the 1980s, Lotus’s performance was less consistent, despite Ayrton Senna taking an epic 15 pole positions from 32 races between 1985 and 1986. At the end of the decade, their cars were not a success and the engines underpowered.
In 1994 debts caught up with them and while Lotus continued to race in other categories, their F1 era seemed to be at an end.
And this is what Lotus became: