Colin Chapman and Team Lotus had established in Grand Prix Racing in 1958 and 1959 with the Mk12 and Mk16 types. But these cars had been old fashioned front engine designs being not very competitive in relation to the twice worldchampionship winning Coopers. For this reason Colin Chapman had decided to bring out his first mid-engined Grand Prix car for the 1960 season for the last time under the regulations of the 2500 cc formula. The Lotus 18 was small, light and of extraordinary good handling, it also was a multipurpose single-seater racing car being used for Formula 1, Formula 2 and Formula Junior depending on the type of engine being installed.
The Lotus Climax 18 appeared for it`s first Grand Prix at Buenos Aires in 1960 making works driver Innes Ireland finish sixth position inspite technical problems during the race. Meanwhile Rob Walker also had ordered a Lotus 18 for his charismatic driver Stirling Moss, a real British patriot. Moss was the man to score Lotus`maiden Grand Prix victory at Monaco in 1960 inspite of an unscheduled pit stop in the privately entered car of Scot Rob Walker from the famous whisky dynasty in the dark blue national livery of the country. Stirling Moss also won the United States Grand Prix at Riverside at the end of the year, he finished third overall in the drivers`worldchampionship with 19 points, while the works Lotus 18 drivers Innes Ireland became 4th (18 points), 8th (rising star Jim Clark, 8 points), 11th (John Surtees, 6 points) and 19th (Ron Flockhart, 1 point). Lotus became second in the constructors´s worldchampionship with 32 points behind the dominating Cooper Climaxes of Jack Brabham and Bruce McLaren (in the old days only the best car in a Grand Prix of each make was counted for the constructors`s competition).
In 1961, now under the rules of the new 1500 cc Formula One, Moss repeated his Monte Carlo victory of the year before, he also won in the difficult weather conditions of the very challenging Nuerburgring-Nordschleife ahead of Germany`s local hero Wolfgang Graf Berghe von Trips in the much stronger Ferrari. With Innes Ireland winning Team Lotus´first ever Grand Prix as a works entry at US-American Watkins Glen in the new Mk21 Lotus again became second in the constructors´worldchampionship with 32 points behind Ferrari (40 points) and ahead of Porsche (22).
The Lotus 18 also had become a commercial success for Colin Chapman, about 150 models of that type were built and sold to private drivers for competing in the different categories. The car shown on the pictures below is John Delane`s Formula Junior competing in the F.I.A Lurani Trophy in 2005.
Model Designation: Lotus 18 Year: 1960 Chassis: Lotus steel-made space frame Bodywork: glass fibre Engine: Coventry Climax FPF 2495 cc (Formula 1), Ford 105E 997 cc (Formula Junior) Gearbox: Lotus or Renault 5 speed manual Tyres: Dunlop Designer: Colin Chapman
Technical exclusive photos by Klaus Ewald taken at the 2005 Jim Clark Revival at Hockenheim
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