1957 LOTUS, MARK XI
LeMANS FACTORY TEAM CAR
This was a factory team car for Lotus – and, the forerunner of the fabled Formula One racing car. Production was one-year prior to the racers called “Formula One”.
The car was built for the grueling 1,000 miles World Champion Italian Road Race known as the Mille Maglia.
This Lotus has a Coventry Climax engine, Mark XI; disk brakes, 4-speed close ratio gearbox, 20 gallon fuel tank fitted behind the dashboard, Formula 2 race car suspension, and deDion rear axle with in-board disk brakes.
At the Mille Maglia, this car was running first in its class until the fuel tank split open spilling fuel over the driver’s legs. After stopping to fix the problem, he continued on to finish second in his class.
This car was then campaigned for the next year as one of the factory race cars for Lotus.
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More about Lotus.
Lotus is a British manufacturer of sports and racing cars, based at the former site of the RAF Hethel, a World War II airfield in Norfolk.
Team Lotus was a split-off from Lotus Engineering in 1954 and was active and competitive in Formula One racing from 1958 to 1994. Team Lotus’ participation in Formula One ended at the close of the 2010 season.
Lotus is credited with making the mid-engined layout popular for IndyCars, developing the first monocoque Formula One chassis, and the integration of the engine and transaxle as chassis components. Lotus was also among the pioneers in Formula One in adding wings and shaping the undersurface of the car to create downforce as well as the first to move radiators to the sides in the car to aid in aerodynamic performance,and inventing active suspension.
The Lotus name returned to Formula One for the 2011 season, when a new Malaysian team called “Lotus Racing”, using the Lotus name on license from Group Lotus, was awarded an entry.
Total production for Lotus racing cars, was 270.