In the annals of motor racing, few machines are as iconic as the Lotus-Climax Type 33, chassis number R11, the car driven by Jim Clark to first place in the 1965 Belgian, British, German and Syracuse Grands Prix and in which he won his second World Championship.
This piece of motorsport history will make its first public appearance in over four decades as the centrepiece of the Motor Sport Hall of Fame at Race Retro, the international historic motorsport show, held at Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire, UK, from February 24-26.
“Jim Clark can lay claim to being the greatest British driver and to discover one of his most successful, championship winning cars in unrestored condition is genuinely remarkable. It is a missing link back to the golden age of motor racing,” says Nick Trott, Editor of Motor Sport Magazine.
When the Type 33 made its first appearance in 1964, it represented the peak of monocoque chassis design and Clark’s Lotus, the second of six models to be completed, was powered by a 1.5 litre Coventry Climax V8 engine.
Victory at Syracuse in April 1965 commenced the R11’s racing career and four months later 320,000 spectators at the Nurburgring saw Clark breaking the track record from a standing start on the opening lap before taking the world title. For countless enthusiasts, to see the newsreel footage of the Lotus crossing the finishing line was to witness the culmination of one of the greatest years in the career of any racer.
In 1966 the 33 was fitted with a two-Litre BRM engine, and in the following year its body and dashboard were modified to accommodate Graham Hill, who drove the Lotus to second place in Monaco.
The R11, sold to a Canadian privateer and now fitted with an Oldsmobile V8 engine, was last raced at the Seattle 200 in 1969. After that, it was dismantled and stored before returning to the UK in 1978 when it was acquired by its current owner, who realised that he was presented with the unique opportunity to acquire the ‘Mona Lisa’ of the racing world.
At that time the Lotus’s condition was ‘effectively as original, and it was then carefully stored for 38 years. Today’s R11 custodian believes that “the time has come for it to be returned to its one-time home base” and it is to be refurbished by Clive Chapman and his crew at Classic Team Lotus.
The Motor Sport Hall of Fame at Race Retro will feature a wealth of stunning racing cars and motorcycles as well as heroes of rallying. It will also host the Motor Sport Live Stage with interviewees including Classic Team Lotus’ Clive Chapman, Le Mans legend Tom Kristensen, Cosworth designer Mike Costin, and a stunning line up of racing and rallying heroes.