Team Lotusunited kingdom

Team logoBased in: London (1952-59), Cheshunt (1959-67), Wymondham (1967-94)
Founded: 1952 (active 1959-1994)


Principal: Colin Chapman

Colin Chapman, the founder of Lotus, was a genius.

No individual did more to change the face of motor racing than Chapman and although he was often at the centre of controversy and died while under suspicion of connection to the massive De Loren fraud, it is perhaps best to remember Anthony Colin Bruce Chapman as the the man who made things happen.

Chapman created Lotus Engineering in 1952, later forming Team Lotus in 1954. Initially he concentrated on building sports cars from a small workshop in North London. After doing design work for Vanwall, Chapman produced his own single seaters that soon revolutionised Grand Prix racing. His first effort, the Type 12, was aimed at the Formula 2 category while the more sophisticated Type 16 was run in Formula 1 in 1959, although it proved somewhat fragile. Chapman persisted with the mid-engined concept and in 1960 he produced the brilliant Lotus 18. Stirling Moss gave the marque its first win at Monaco that year, albeit while running in the colours of Rob Walker's Racing Team.

Lotus really came to the fore in 1962 when driven by the legendary Jim Clark, the Lotus 25, the marques first monocoque chassis, consistently ran at the front of the field. Clark was unfortunate to lose out to Hill and his BRM in the championship, but he made amends in 1963 clinching the title in stunning style. For 1965 the Lotus 33 was again the car to beat and in the same year the marque, and Clark, made history by being the first rear-engined winner of the prestigious Indy 500.

For the 3-litre formula Chapman turned to Cosworth who produced the revolutionary DFV engine that scored a victory on its first outing at Zandvoort. Once again Clark was the pilot. Tragically Clark was killed at Hockenheim in 1968 but team-mate Graham Hill bolstered the team's morale by taking both driver's and constructors cups in that year. Chapman recruited the fiery Austrian, Jochen Rindt to replace Clark. Rindt was acknowledged as one of the sports most potent talents and running the brilliant Lotus 72, he secured the championship in 1970 despite dying during practise for the Monza Grand Prix.

The Type 72 emphasised a new era in design, removing the bulky radiators to side pods and in doing so produced the streamlined chisel nose. Titles came again courtesy of Fittipaldi in 1972 but for while after it appeared that Lotus had lost their way. In fact it was not until 1977 when Chapman had his next big idea, when he developed the concept of 'ground effect'. Venturi tunnels on each side of a slimmed down chassis created a vacuum which simply sucked the car onto the track. Speeds rocketed and in 1979 Mario Andretti secured a further title for Lotus. His next idea, the twin-chassis Lotus 88 was banned before it could turn a wheel and Chapman threatened to quit the sport for good.

It was during this time that Chapman became embroiled in the De Loren scandal and under pressure he died suddenly in December 1982. The team carried under the guidance of Peter Warr, but apart from the occasional win from Ayrton Senna, the team never looked like regular winners again. Peter Collins led a buy- out of the famous marque in 1991 but at the end of 1994 the receivers were called in and the team folded in January 1995.


All Formula One cars of Team Lotus
Car designationRace years
Lotus Mk121958 - 1959
Lotus Mk161958 - 1960
Lotus Mk181960 - 1963
Lotus 211961 - 1965
Lotus Mk18/211961 - 1965
Lotus 241962 - 1965
Lotus 251962 - 1967
Lotus 221963 - 1965
Lotus 331964 - 1967
Lotus 201965
Lotus 441966
Lotus 431966 - 1967
Lotus 481967
Lotus 491967 - 1970
Lotus 49B1968 - 1970
Lotus 48B1969
Lotus 631969
Lotus 49C1970
Lotus 721970
Lotus 72B1970
Lotus 72C1970 - 1971
Lotus 56B1971
Lotus 69 Special1971
Lotus 72D1971 - 1975
Lotus 72E1973 - 1975
Lotus 761974
Lotus 771976
Lotus 781977 - 1978
Lotus 791978 - 1979
Lotus 801979
Lotus 81B1980
Lotus 811980 - 1981
Lotus 871981
Lotus 881981
Lotus 87B1982
Lotus 911982
Lotus 921983
Lotus 93T1983
Lotus 94T1983
Lotus 95T1984
Lotus 97T1985
Lotus 98T1986
Lotus 99T1987
Lotus 100T1988
Lotus 1011989
Lotus 1021990
Lotus 102B1991
Lotus 1071992
Lotus 102D1992
Lotus 102C1992
Lotus 107B1993
Lotus 107C1994
Lotus 1091994