Colin Chapman CBE, the Lotus founder and engineer has been recognized for his contribution to the automotive and motorsport industry at the 2013 Motor Sport Magazine Hall of Fame annual inauguration event on February 25, 2013, attended by Colin’s son and Classic Team Lotus founder, Clive Chapman.
The motorsport glitterati attended a star-studded evening at the prestigious Royal Opera House where this outstanding engineer and visionary who became known for his technical innovations and Formula 1 ‘firsts’ was celebrated.
Driven initially by his desire for motor racing, Colin Chapman built his first racing car in 1948 in a garage belonging to his girlfriend’s father. Now, over 60 years later Lotus has become both a class-leading manufacturer of desired sports cars and a globally respected automotive engineering consultancy. Team Lotus, the racing team Chapman formed went onto win seven Formula One Constructor’s Championships and six Drivers’ Championship titles. Today, the Lotus name in F1 has competed in over 500 Grand Prix races and had 80 Grand Prix wins. The 80th win was scooped last season when Lotus F1 driver Kimi Räikkönen stormed to victory during the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Chapman’s genius saw him exploit engineering principles, applying them in new and innovative ways that would give his team the competitive edge on the circuit. Whilst a few of the innovations were banned, others went onto revolutionise the sport and still underpin F1 today.
Lotus List of Firsts..
First to use a sequential transmission in F1, Lotus Type 12 in 1957
First to use reclining driving position – Lotus Type 21 in 1961
First to put the spring damper units inboard for improved aerodynamics on the Lotus Type 21 1961
First to use a fully stressed monocoque chassis – Lotus Type 25 in 1962
First to introduce aircraft style bag tanks for fuel (big safety improvement) Lotus Type 25 1962
First to “mould” the car precisely to the driver size and shape – Lotus Type 25 in 1962
First to successfully use the engine as a structural member – Lotus Type 43 in 1966
First in F1 to use full sponsors colour schemes – Lotus Type 49 in 1968
First in F1 to use a wedge shape front – Lotus Type 63 in 1969
First in F1 to use side mounted radiators – Lotus Type 72 in 1970
First to use a multi-element rear wing – Lotus Type 72 in 1970
First to introduce left foot braking and automatic clutch operation to F1 with the “four • pedal” Type 76 in 1974
First to manage airflow under the car including ground effects – Lotus Type 78 in 1977
First to introduced the concept of a rear diffuser on the Lotus Type 80 in 1979.
First to design a carbon fibre monocoque – Lotus Type 88 in 1981
First to use twin chassis – Lotus Type 88 in 1981
First to use active suspension – Lotus Type 92 in 1983
First to use aerodynamic bargeboards – Lotus Type 97T in 1985
This great accolade sees Colin Chapman alongside other 2013 hall of fame inductees Niki Lauda, Damon Hill OBE, Graham Hill OBE, and Tom Kristensen join other similarly revered motorsport greats.