Unveiled as part of Monterey Car Week in California, the Type 66 track-only car from Lotus is a new, low-volume car which “brings to life a ‘lost Lotus’ drawing board program” by combining the original designs with the technological prowess and componentry of today.
Lotus founder Colin Chapman originally tasked Geoff Ferris – the Team Lotus draughtsman – with launching the Type 66 project to evaluate how the company’s design principles could be applied to the Can-Am Series category. Due to Chapman focusing on Formula 1, the Type 66 never progressed past technical drawings and scale models. Fast forward 53 years and Lotus now seeks to fulfil the original designer’s plans.
Housed inside a period-representative chassis – complete with extruded aluminum sections, bonded joints and aluminum honeycomb panels – is a V8 push-rod engine, similar to what the original vehicle would have been spec’d with. Modern day componentry, such as an aluminum forged crank, rod and pistons enable the engine to produce over 840ps at 8,800rpm. The vehicle’s maximum torque output is 746Nm at 7,400rpm. Drive is delivered via a sequential racing gearbox.
“The car would have shared many innovative features with our most successful F1 chassis, the Lotus Type 72, which was developed during the same era,” explained Clive Chapman, managing director of Classic Team Lotus. “These include side-mounted radiators which helped reduce front drag, increase front downforce and channel airflow through and over the car. The rear of the car incorporates a distinctive tail section, resembling the Le Mans endurance cars of the period. These features would have boosted its downforce considerably, compared to rivals, aiding high-speed stability and ultimately its lap times. It would have been spectacular, as is the actual Type 66 we see today.”
To ensure the new vehicle conforms to modern safety standards, the Type 66’s designs have been slightly reinterpreted, with a modernized driver compartment and an inboard fuel cell contained in a full carbon-fiber bodyshell. Over 1,000 hours of CFD work was also conducted as part of the program, resulting in downforce in excess of 800kg at 241km/h.
The car made its public debut sporting a red, white and gold Lotus livery at ‘The Quail, A Motorsport Gathering’. Only 10 examples of the Type 66 will be produced, with each costing more than £1m (US$1.3m).