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This Day In History: Team Lotus Makes F1 Debut in 1958 during the Monaco Grand Prix.


There have been many faces to Team Lotus throughout the years. Each business man determined to keep the epic team superior in the eyes of racers and competitor in the circuit.

Founder Anthony Colin Bruce Chapman

Chapman, a British engineer and race car driver was responsible for founding Team Lotus, a motor sport wing of the Lotus Engineering Company — constructed six years prior to Team Lotus making its F1 debut.

While enrolled at a university, Chapman dabbled with a 1930 Austin Seven and these trial cars led him to crafting the first Lotus race car, the Mark 6.

Mark VI
Mark VI

It made its track appearance in 1955 and it only took two more years for fans, car enthusiasts and competitors to whisper about the fierce face of Team Lotus.

Maurice Philippe one of the Formula One car designers for Team Lotus.

Philippe raced a Lotus 7 in ’63 and ’64, and in ’65 Chapman asked him to be his team designer.

Maurice went on to redesign a Lotus 39 and Lotus 43, which can be seen below:

Lotus 39
Lotus 39
Lotus 43
Lotus 43

He’s known most for the Lotus 72 and Lotus 56, both ground-breaking designs engineered specifically for faster and easier maneuverability.

The two racers who burned rubber for the first time for Team Lotus in the F1 circuit was racers,  Cliff Allison and Graham Hill.

Graham Hill
Graham Hill
Cliff Allison
Cliff Allison

The drivers faced the favored Ferrari team going into qualifying rounds. In turn, British Racing Motors annihilated the pre-race rounds and finished ahead of Ferrari, qualifying for the Grand Prix.

Other noted racers for Team Lotus:

Mario Andretti - Italian American racer dubbed the most successful American in the history of racing.
Mario Andretti – Italian American racer dubbed the most successful American in the history of racing.

The last time an American racer won a Formula One race was in 1978 at the Dutch Grand Prix and Andretti was behind the wheel.

He’s also the only driver to win IndyCar races in four different decades. NBD

Racer Nigel Mansell
Racer Nigel Mansell

Mansell didn’t have a favorable start with Lotus, numerous start-line problems and mechanical issues caused him to leave the team in ’81, but filled the opening he created before the ’82 race season.

After numerous changes in the team and ownership, Mansell found success in ’84 but was overshadowed by Ayrton Senna. He’s most known race while on Team Lotus was in 1984 at the Dallas Grand Prix.

Mansell pushed his car to the finish line after his transmission failed. He wanted to salvage placement to obtain one point in the race standings. He fainted while fighting for 6th place. It was one of the hottest days in race history.

But success eventually came to Mansell. His F1 career spanned 15 seasons and he took home over 31 victories, making him one of the most successful British F1 drivers.

When Chapman passed unexpectedly in 1982, Team Lotus didn’t make it past the 1990s.

Team sponsorship has changed throughout the years, and currently its now sponsored by Lotus Cars and named Lotus F1. 



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Image Sources: [wikipedia.com] [motorsport.com] [oldracecars.com] [ultimatecarpage.com] [uk.pinterest.com]


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