Sixty years ago: the first F1 wins for the Lotus 25 and Jim Clark
The huge number of victories which Lotus has had on track over the last 74 years means we could be commemorating a race win or championship triumph every week.
However, this Friday – 17 June 2022 – is worthy of a mention as it’s the 60th anniversary of the first F1 win by Lotus legend Jim Clark, and with it the first F1 victory for the Lotus 25.
Clark joined Team Lotus in 1960, having been spotted a year before by founder Colin Chapman, who had beaten Clark into second place at the now famous Boxing Day Grand Touring Race at Brands Hatch. Both were racing Lotus Elites.
In the first two years as a Team Lotus driver, Clark was reasonably successful with three third places in F1 championship races and another six podiums (four of which were wins) in non-F1 championship races.
In 1962, Lotus revolutionised F1 and motorsport with the introduction of the Lotus 25, built around an aluminium monocoque structure to give a lightweight, low-drag race car with enhanced safety.
It debuted at the 1962 Dutch Grand Prix at the start of the season. However, it was three races, in at the challenging Spa Francorchamps circuit hosting the Belgium Grand Prix on 17 June 1962, that Clark and his car recorded their maiden victories.
Starting 12th on the grid, he worked his way through the field to win by 44 seconds, averaging 131.89mph for the 32 laps. A fantastic drive and the first of 25 F1 championship wins for Clark, including two more in the 1962 season.
Clark and Lotus came second in the F1 championships that year, and both went one better in 1963, winning with victory in seven out of ten races. The rules at the time stipulated that the six best results counted to the overall points tally, so the pairing was untouchable.
The Type 25 went on to record 14 wins, 18 podiums, 14 pole positions and 18 fastest laps in a 49-race career, the last being in 1967.
Sadly the Lotus 25 (chassis R1) that Clark won in at Spa no longer exists, having been crashed later in the season at the French Grand Prix.
However, the most famous and significant Lotus 25 still around can be viewed at Classic Team Lotus, which looks after it for owner John Bowers. This particular Type 25 (chassis R4) is the most successful one in period, having won seven races. Almost as impressive is its wins record in the Glover Trophy at Goodwood Revival where Andy Middlehurst has driven the car to multiple victories over the years. It was the car to beat back in the day and still is.
To see this Lotus 25 and the other pioneering and ground-breaking Lotus F1 cars from the company’s unique history, book a Heritage Tour via lotuscars.com/en-GB/factory-tours