Lotus Type 66 Back From The Dead As 830-Horsepower 1970s Racer

Lotus Type 66 Back From The Dead As 830-Horsepower 1970s Racer

Lotus will produce 10 limited examples only with an estimated price of over $1.2 million.

When Lotus shifted focus to its successful Formula 1 program in the ’70s, interesting projects such as Type 66 had to be canned. Some fifty years later, the project has been reborn and Lotus claims that the limited-edition performance model is on par with modern GT3 race cars.

Powering the new Type 66 is a “period-representative” V8 push-rod engine mounted in the middle for optimized handling. Power output hasn’t been finalized, but Lotus aims to make more than 830 horsepower at 8,800 rpm and 550 lb-ft of torque at 7,400 rpm.

Lotus founder Colin Chapman launched the original Type 66 project to enter the Can-Am Series. The race car was supposed to take the fight to Bruce McLaren in the 1970 season, but it never materialized. The limited-edition model aims to right that wrong.

“The Type 66 perfectly blends the past and present. It takes drivers back in time, to the iconic design, sound, and pure theatre of motorsport more than 50 years ago, with added 21st-century performance and safety,” said Simon Lane, executive director, Lotus Advanced Performance.

Modern features that weren’t available decades ago are installed, including electric power steering, an ABS braking system, a sequential racing transmission, and an anti-stall multi-plate clutch. Drivers will also get a modernized driver compartment and a fixed rollover bar.

“This is a truly unique project and in our 75th anniversary year it’s the perfect gift from Lotus to fans worldwide and to a handful of customers.”

In the design department led by Lotus design director Russell Carr, the team digitalized Clive Chapman’s ¼ and 1/10th scale drawings and created 3D renders. With more than 1,000 hours of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) work, the new Type 66 bears a classic design with modern aerodynamic bits.

The result is a full carbon fiber bodyshell that allows air to travel through it rather than around it – similar aerodynamics used by modern Lotus cars like the Emira, a two-door sports car intended to be the brand’s final ICE model. Lotus also claims the Type 66 delivers a downforce of over 800 kg (1,764 lbs) at 150 mph.

“We are incredibly proud to have completed such a unique project, and one that Colin Chapman was personally involved in. There is a real delicacy in remastering the past. This is not a re-edition or a restomod, but a completely new breed of Lotus – a commitment that our past glories will continue to be reflected in our future,” said Russell.

The next stop for the Lotus Type 66 will be on the Concept Lawn at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance on Sunday, August 20. Only ten examples will be produced, each costing over £1 million (around $1.273 million).

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