Thursday, 24 May 2018

Lotus 72

Lotus 72

Lotus led the way with the Cosworth DFV.  Literally!  The 'Double Four Valve' V8 would be legendary within F1.  Unfortunately for Lotus, the DFV was also available to their rivals ... who were quick to seize upon the source of their success.  By the end of the '60s, it seemed like every car in the paddock had a DFV!  That was great for the sport, since it fostered close, competitive racing.  It was not entirely to Lotus' liking, however!  They had acquired a taste for leading the F1 pack - and the ubiquity of the DFV was eroding that lead.  Something needed to be done ... and fast!

There was much about the Lotus '72' that was new.  For starters, cigar-shaped bodywork had morphed into a wedge.  Inboard suspension and brakes made the new car yet more aerodynamic.  They also served to reduce unsprung weight.  The springing itself was via torsion-bar.  High grip levels were the much-coveted result of all this technical innovation.  Oil and water radiators were laterally positioned ... thus centralising weight distribution, and improving the handling.

Lotus had their lead back!  The great Jochen Rindt won four races on the spin.  Tragically, that was before crashing in qualifying for the Italian GP.  Fatally injured, he still went on to win the World Championship!  Team-mate Emerson Fittipaldi also took the drivers' title - though, mercifully, he was still around to enjoy the plaudits.  Also in a Lotus, Ronnie Peterson would amass a record-breaking nine pole positions in a season.  From '70 to '75, Lotus ruled the F1 roost.  Their early adoption of the Cosworth DFV had, indeed, changed motor-racing history!

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