Lotus 50th Celebration at Brands Hatch
By Jon Rosner
The 50th Anniversary Weekend of Lotus at Brands Hatch was sponsored by Force Racing. Present and accounted for were some very rare and historic cars such as the oldest existing Lotus, an unrestored and extraordinarily crude barn red Lotus 2 LJH 702. Charles Levy brought black Type 3B, the very first customer car. Other special cars included the brg 2 1/2 liter Type 14 6 SME (190 hp, 172 mph top speed) and polished aluminum Type 7/18 (1 1/2 liter F2 engine, Type 18 front and rear suspension, seven body). The former had won it's class at LeMans, the latter won huge number of hill climbs all over England, making 1960 a very busy year considering everything Lotus was doing in Formula Racing.
Lotus Mk2 followed by Mk7 and Type 15
On the purely racing side Luigi D'Orideo came from South Africa with a four cylinder Type 21 which had been raced by Jimmy Clark. Teams and owners from France, Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany brought Types 6, 7, 11, 15, 18, 21, 23, 41, and even the Olympus Sponsored John Player Special Type 79(?) of Mario Andretti.
Lotus 29 Indy Car
And while the Sevens and Elises had their own Trophy Races, other racing groups were composed of some interesting combinations such as 7s of a variety of engine sizes in with 1100CC 11s and a 1500CC Type 15. The last two putting on a real show with the 11 diving for the corners only to get tromped by the 15 on the straights. And an equally interesting mix put Elises in with an Esprit S1, Europas,the Type 62, 47s, and a few Type 23s which took 1 and 2 leaving third for an Elise.
Being passed by an Elise
If you were able to get close to the pits, former Lotus racer Peter Arundell could be overheard chatting with Graham Gauld, (friend and biographer to Jimmy Clark), along with former Team Lotus Manager Peter Warr, and other Team Lotus mechanics and crew.
This was Force's first effort at putting together a major event. And aside from setting up some overly interesting combinations for the Trophy Races and putting 300 people into a dining facility that at best could fit 250, turning back at least 500 others who wanted to, and expected to go, they did a great job. Force succeeded in creating a truly heady atmosphere, attracting rare and interesting cars along with some facinating people came out of the woodwork to be part of Lotus' 50th Anniversary Celebration at Brands Hatch.