The Lotus Ford 72 is undoubtedly the "grandpa" of all modern Grand Prix cars. Inspired by Colin Chapman and designed by Maurice Phillippe until November 1969, the car gave a revolutionary impression when being presented in spring 1970. The car was wedge-shaped with it`s water radiators on both sides of the monocoque to use the full width that time was a maximum of 110 centimetres. The better aerodynamics gave the car a higher top speed than that could be reached by it`s predecessor Lotus Ford 49. All four brake discs were inside the bodywork to reduce unsprung weight, at the front axle hollow brakeshafts were used to connect the inside brake discs with the wheels.

As nearly all Grand Prix cars of that age the Lotus Ford 72 had a monocoque manufactured out of aluminum sheets. At the front an addtional subframe that compromised the pedalry was fixed to that monocoque to hold the front suspension. Instead of normal springs the 72 received torsion bars. Also for improving aerodynamics the dampers were mounted inside the chassis.

When introduced for the 1970 debut season the 72 originally was presented with a three-leaf rear wing for the first time. At the nose-scone section a Gurney flap was fixed for better air flow of the whole car. Also for the first time an airbox was used in Grand Prix racing, in spite of the fact the early 1970 version was a very small one not comparable to the units used the following years.

With two drivers` and three constructors` worldchampionships the Lotus Ford 72 is one of the most successful cars in the history of Grand Prix racing. Emerson Fittipaldi became the youngest world champion ever in that car in 1972, but also tragedy is connected with the 72 for all times, because a broken brakeshaft had caused the fatal accident of Austria`s first world champion Jochen Rindt at the Saturday qualifying for the 1970 Italian Grand Prix at Monza.


The 1973 version of the Lotus Ford 72 was driven by Emerson Fittipaldi and Ronnie Peterson to the constructors`worldchampionship


The front axle of the Lotus Ford has got ...


... double triangle wishbones, torsion rods ...


... and brake discs inside the bodywork. One of the brakeshafts in the middle of the wishbones broke to kill Jochen Rindt during the 1970 Monza qualifying.


The cockpit of the Lotus Ford 72 with the orange oil pressure warning light in the centre of the dash board


The 72 was the first Grand Prix car ever with lateral water radiators


As it`s predecessors, the 49 and the 63, the 72 uses a Ford Cosworth DFV V8 engine


The rear axle of the Lotus Ford 72 with it`s Hewland FG400 gearbox



* * *


Gold Leaf Team Lotus

1971 & 1972


John Player Team Lotus

Part 1: 1972 & 1973

Part 2: 1974 & 1975


Brooke Bond Oxo Racing with Rob Walker



Lucky Strike Racing

1971 - 1973


Team Gunston

1974 & 1975



Model designation: Lotus Ford 72 (Types A -E) Years: 1979 - 1975 Designer: Maurice Phillippe Cars built: 9

First Grand Prix: Spain 1970 at Jarama Last Grand Prix: USA 1975 at Watkins Glen

Chassis: Lotus aluminum made Engine: Ford Cosworth DFV V8 Gearbox: Hewland DG300/FG400 5 speed manual

Tyres: Firestone (1970-1972), Goodyear (1973-1975)

Works drivers: Jochen Rindt (A), John Miles (GB), Alex Soler-Roig (E), Emerson Fittipaldi (BR), Reine Wisell (S), Dave Waker (AUS), Ronnie Peterson (S), Jacky Ickx (B), Jim Crawford (GB), Brian Henton (GB), John Watson (GB)

Sponsors: Gold Leaf (Cigarettes), 1970-1971 ; John Player Special (Cigarettes), 1972 -1975

Grand Prix victories: 20

Drivers`worldchampionship: 1970: Jochen Rindt (A) ; 1972: Emerson Fittipaldi (BR)

Constructors`worldchampionship titles: 1970, 1972 & 1973

Private entries: Graham Hill, GB, (Rob Walker Team), Sponsor: Brooke Bond Oxo (Tea)

Dave Charlton, ZA, Sponsor: Lucky Strike (Cigarettes)

Eddie Keizan, ZA (Team Gunston)

Guy Tunmer ,ZA (Team Gunston)

Paddy Driver, ZA (Team Gunston)

Ian Scheckter, ZA (Team Gunston)




2000/2001 by researchracing


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