Lotus Engineering last year exhibited a single chassis, on a stand just large enough to hold one show-piece. In step with the growing size of the firm, this year they will have a stand on which three complete cars will be displayed. They are, of course, highly specialized models.
In their sports car racing battles particularly with the Cooper Car Co., the Lotus Eleven Le Mans has been very successful this season, winning the 1,100 c.c. class in the famous 24-hour race from which the model takes its name. This actual car will be on show. The secret of the car's success is its extremely good aerodynamic form and lightness. A space-type tubular frame and ingenious attention to the problem of reducing superfluous weight contribute to its outstanding performance. The Le Mans model (designated type 75 and type 85) can be fitted with the Coventry-Climax 1,100 c.c. engine with alternative outputs of 75 b.h.p. or 83 b.h.p., dependent upon the type of camshaft used. They are usually supplied with a metal cover over the passenger seat and a wrap-round windscreen which merges into the headrest.
The Lotus Eleven Club model also uses the Coventry-Climax engine, but another version of this marque is the Lotus Eleven Sports, which is fitted with the 1,172 c.c. Ford engine. A rigid rear aide mounted on coil springs is used for both of these- They are fitted with a full-width screen, and a detachable hard top is available for both models.
COLIN CHAPMAN has been forced to build new chassis frames for his three entries-one of 1,460 c.c. and two of 1,097 c.c., with the Coventry-Climax four-cylinder engines. The extra width of seat has compelled him to widen the frame side members, between the seat squab and scuttle, by a total of 8in, achieved by setting out the tubular frame members between these points. It has also meant increasing the wheelbase by 1in to obtain rear wheel clearance at the point where the frame splays out. There are three other major modifications from the basic type Eleven which has been very successful in other races this year. A single, 18-gallon rank is mounted in the scuttle, with an integral vertical portion outside the frame on the passenger side. As some gear box trouble has been experienced this year, an M.G. A gear box is being used for this race. The screen is of full width, wrapped-round Perspex type, with a leather tonneau cover over the passenger seat. Small, light cars of this type are hit hardest by the new regulations, and the cars will probably be some 15 m.p.h. slower than in their sports-racing car trim. Last year Chapman, in a 1,100 c.c. car, proved that his speed was more than a match for the Porsches, and with the added reliability which he now seems to have found he could prove a serious challenger to the Stuttgart organization.
THE Autocar, 27 JULY 1956 (Le Mans)
Lotus team for the Le Mans race (29-07-1956).
Mk XI Club