For a man who initially had little interest in Lotus pursuing a future in Formula 1, you could say Colin Chapman made quite an impression on grand prix racing. Britain’s answer to Enzo Ferrari? Absolutely – for better and for worse. Half a century ago, BRM was considered the British equivalent to those “bloody red cars”, largely because it also built the engines that powered its chassis (albeit much less effectively most of the time).
But with hindsight it was always Lotus which deserved that mantle, given the scope, influence and style of its striking road car output, its range of racing sports cars and single-seaters, and predominantly its rate of phenomenal success in F1, the highlights of which were achieved in the span of just two decades of rapid technological and commercial revolution. Even now, Chapman’s Lotus is still equal fourth with Mercedes on constructors’ world championships won (seven), fifth on grand prix wins (79) and it carried five of F1’s greatest drivers to six world titles – Jim Clark (twice), Graham Hill, Jochen Rindt, Emerson Fittipaldi and Mario Andretti.
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