Lotus Type 66, reborn

Lotus, the renowned British sports car manufacturer, has left car enthusiasts awestruck with the grand revival of the Lotus Type 66. The event took place at “The Quail, A Motorsport Gathering,” a prestigious showcase held as part of the Monterey Car Week in California, USA. 

This limited-edition performance car, unveiled in the presence of Clive Chapman, son of Lotus founder Colin Chapman, marks a monumental moment in the brand’s history by resurrecting a “lost Lotus” project from its illustrious past.

The Type 66 has emerged from the company’s archives, blending classic design heritage with cutting-edge racing technology. A tribute to Lotus’ 75th anniversary, this exclusive low-volume masterpiece is a testament to the brand’s commitment to honoring its roots while pushing the boundaries of modern performance.

The journey to bring the Type 66 to life began over half a century ago when Colin Chapman set his sights on the Can-Am Series. He entrusted the visionary draughtsman Geoff Ferris with the Type 66 project, aimed at exploring Lotus design principles in this exciting racing category. While Chapman’s primary focus on Formula 1 meant the project remained in the realm of technical drawings and scale models, Lotus has now realized this vision in breathtaking reality.

The Type 66’s design pays homage to its heritage with a heritage-inspired livery, reminiscent of the iconic red, white, and gold colors that adorned Lotus racers in the early 1970s. The car’s unveiling captured the essence of a golden era in motorsport, inviting attendees to relive the excitement of that time.

This limited production run will see only 10 examples of the Type 66 being meticulously crafted. This number carries a special significance, commemorating the races the car would have participated in during the 1970 season. Each of these exclusive vehicles will come with a hefty price tag of over £1 million (P71.6 million), a true testament to their rarity and exceptional performance.

Simon Lane, Executive Director of Lotus Advanced Performance, underlined the exceptional nature of the Type 66, describing it as a bridge between the past and present. The car invokes the nostalgia of motorsport’s golden era while incorporating 21st-century advancements in performance and safety.

The rebirth of the Type 66 would not have been possible without Clive Chapman’s dedication and access to the historical records of Classic Team Lotus. Clive’s documentation paved the way for the Lotus Design team to transform the original concept into a modern marvel that meets contemporary safety standards and driver expectations.

The Type 66 boasts state-of-the-art features, including side-mounted radiators that enhance downforce and channel airflow, a distinctive tail section inspired by Le Mans endurance cars, and a full carbon fiber bodyshell. The car’s aerodynamics were meticulously optimized through over 1,000 hours of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) work, resulting in downforce exceeding 800kg at 150mph.

Under the hood, a period-appropriate V8 push-rod engine powers the Type 66, generating over 830bhp at 8,800rpm. The inclusion of modern components like an aluminum forged crank, rod, and pistons ensures unmatched performance. The chassis, characterized by extruded aluminum sections and bonded joints, retains its authenticity and enhances the driving experience.

The Type 66’s potential has been validated through cutting-edge simulation technology, demonstrating its ability to rival the lap times of contemporary GT3 race cars.

With the Type 66’s world debut capturing the imagination of car enthusiasts and connoisseurs, the vehicle is set to grace the Concept Lawn at the prestigious Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. This homage to Lotus’ storied past and its commitment to pushing automotive boundaries is sure to leave an indelible mark on the world of motorsport and performance cars.

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