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27/05/2022

Behind the wheel with Jim 25

Getting behind the wheel of the Lotus 25, today, makes you fully understand the advantages of lightness and agility that the drivers of the day were given.

To give you an idea of just how much Formula 1 has changed since 1962, the year the Lotus 25 first saw the light of day, and today’s line up, all you need are three numbers: the car that made Jim Clark famous, so much so as to sometimes be called the Jim 25, weighed 450kg compared with 795kg today, it had a track of 132 and 135 centimetres between front and rear, against the two metres you’ll see today and the power output of its 1,500cc engine was 204 horsepower, compared with the roughly 1,000 produced today.

And yet despite being so small, the very low weight and excellent aerodynamics of the Lotus 25 defined an entire era.

The genius who was Colin Chapman, realised he could achieve lightness by concentrating on the structure. So, he abandoned the tubular frame and created a monocoque chassis that was structurally stronger than typical F1 cars of the period yet also included the side tanks, with the driver reclined sharply behind the wheel to reduce the frontal area of the car. 

Getting behind the wheel of the Lotus 25, today, makes you fully understand the advantages of lightness and agility that the drivers of the day were given. Driving it in Monaco, Monza and on the Nürburgring allows you to understand its great qualities that Jim Clark was able to exploit to perfection, claiming the World Championship title in 1962 and also in 1964 in the more developed version, called the Lotus 33.

 

Photo credit: Imago

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