It was nothing less than a revolution. Team Lotus arrived at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1963 intent on winning the race and overthrowing the established order. The car was the rear-engine Lotus 29, with fully independent suspension, powered by a modified Ford V8 passenger car engine. The Indy regulars scoffed at what they laughingly referred to as “a funny car” until Dan Gurney lapped the Speedway in one at near-record speed. Then they panicked. Overnight, their investment in front-engine roadsters with beam axles that had dominated the Speedway for a generation was threatened by new technology they didn’t understand nor welcome. Had it not been for (1) a Herculean effort by Parnelli Jones, who drove flat-out for 500 miles, and (2) race officials’ failure to black-flag Jones’ car for a profuse oil leak, Jim Clark’s Lotus-Ford would have won the race easily. He finished second. Victory for the Lotus-Fords would have to wait another two years. By then, the revolution was complete. All but one of the 33 cars starting the 1965 500 race were rear-engined. Jim Clark led 190 of 200 laps to win—two laps ahead of Jones’ nearly-identical Lotus-Ford.
This wonderful book, written by Andrew Ferguson, who managed the Lotus Indy team, and who is a very good writer, recounts the Team Lotus years at the Speedway (1963-69) with considerable insight. Included are many photos, both famous and obscure, in color and in black & white. For those of us who followed the sport in the 1960s, Ferguson’s book is a treasure-trove of new information about the people involved, plus technical details about the cars, and a register that details what became of them. Indeed, Ferguson's book is the definitive account of Team Lotus's Indy years.
It was Dan Gurney who brokered the Lotus-Ford collaboration, that lasted from 1963-65. From 1966 to ’69, Team Lotus was no longer sponsored by the Ford Motor Company, but by Andy Granatelli and the STP Corporation, and no longer sporting British Racing Green livery, but Dayglow Red of STP. From a technical standpoint these were more interesting years, with the introduction of four-wheel-drive and turbine engines. In 1984-85, Lotus designed and built a new car for Indy competition that for a variety of reasons never competed.
Bottom line: Lotus was the most innovative Indycar of the 1960s. It inaugurated a revolution that swept away a generation of highly-specialized front-engine tube-frame roadsters for a new generation of versatile rear-engine machines with monocoque chassis. Lotus cars won the Indy 500 once (in 1965), came close to winning twice more (in 1963 and 1968), and finished second three times (1963, 1965 and 1966). If you include the Lotus-clones of A.J. Foyt and Andy Granatelli, Lotus-designed cars won two 500s, one National Championship, and 16 races overall. For more, read this book. Highly-recommended. Five stars.
This book is an excellent resource for the Indy Lotus cars beginning with the development of the Type 29 in 1962 through the turbine powered Type 56s. It covers the Types 29, 34, 38, mentions (with photo) the 16 cylinder BRM type that never made it to Indy and the Type 56 that was partnered with Andy Granetelli. It also includes a short chapter on Lotus' return to Indy in the 1980s. The book is written by the team promoter from the 1960's who has not only discussed each type in great detail but also tells the disposition of each chassis. He also adds personal notes regarding the events during the sixties that happened to Team Lotus, Colin Chapmen and the various Lotus drivers including the events surrounding Jim Clark's death in 1968. It was interesting to read about the reserved Chapman interacting with the bousterous Granetelli. The book is full of detailed photographs of each type of car including rare race day photos of the Type 34. I was not disappointed and more than satisfied with the book.
This is a very good book about how Team Lotus stormed the Indy 500. It brings a lot of stories on what really happened in the team, on and off the track, sometimes even in the hotelrooms! another very good book in a the expanding series by Motorbooks Lively written, Great reading, well worth the cost of purchase...
A detailed and wonderfully illustrated book covering Colin Chapman's Team dominance of the motorsport scene during the mid 60's. The text displays many recollections from the actual team members-the engineers, mechanics, fitters and fabricators. All drivers of that period are covered including Clark, Hill and Gurney plus later drivers such as Andretti, Jones, Foyt, Leonard and Marshman.
As Club Team Lotus archivist, Ferguson had a unique insight into the workings of this team throughout its history, particularly Indianapolis. He died just after
Review by Sean Kelly of Atlantic Motor Books. Please feel free to browse my on-line personal collection of Motoring Books and Literature.
This beautifully written history of the Lotus venture to Indianapolis, shows all the successes and failures with an unbeatable inside knowledge of the personalities involved. So sad that the author Andrew Ferguson died so young before he could write a companion book about the Grand Prix team.
The great thing about this book is that it is by someone who was there at the time and kept a diary. The other good thing is that he tells it as it was without pulling his punches, so we get a real feel of how it was in those exciting days.
One can almost share the exhaustion of the mechanics as they toiled to complete the cars in time to start racing - let alone fettle them once practice had started.
Because he was Team Manager he had an overall view of what was going on and manages to bring it to life very successfully.
It is shame that he did not live long enough to bring out a companion volume about Team Lotus Formula One racing.
I am one of the severest critics of mistakes in books covering the early days of Lotus, but could find only one mistake in this reprint - the reason for Jim Clark's retirement in the final Grand Prix of 1962 (which cost him the World Championship) was not due to a bolt falling out, but was the failure of the drive shaft to the scavenge oil pumps. This was not known at the time of the first edition.
This is a must for anyone interested in Lotus, and will appeal to any motor racing enthusiast. Simply the best I have read covering Team Lotus racing.