1970 THE ELAN SPRINT & MORE F1 WINS
In the January the famous Elan Sprint sports car was introduced with the new 126 bhp 'Big Valve' engine.
Team Lotus unveils the innovative Type 72 formula one car that went on to achieve twenty grand prix wins. With inboard brakes, torsion bar springs and the FIRST use of mid-mounted, side radiators it was possible to create a car with a flat aerodynamic nose. It was also the FIRST car to use a multi-element rear wing.
Austrian driver Jochen Rindt passed Jack Brabham on the last lap to win the 1970 British GP at Brands Hach in the new Type 72. Victory came again in both the Constructor's and Driver's championships.
Tradegy strikes - Rindt is tragically killed at Monza before the season's end.
1971 A NEW ENGINE
Europa went on to realise its full potential with a change of engine and improvements to the handling, cabin space and styling. It became one of the worlds quickest production sports cars.
The Type 907 road engine was developed by Lotus and sold to Jensen for use in the Jensen-Healey.
1972 THE LOTUS TYPE 72
Another successful year for Team Lotus. In the Type 72, now sporting the famous John Player Special livery, Emerson Fittipaldi won both Constructors' and Drivers' Championship.
The success of Team Lotus was reflected in the black and gold colour scheme available for the newly announced Europa Special.
The Lotus Esprit concept, designed by Ital Design, is shown for the first time.
1973 THE 'TEXACO STAR'
Lotus causes confusion by naming its next race car the Type 74, a type number already given to the Europa. However, due to the sponsorship scheme on the car, the car became more commonly known as the 'Texaco Star'.
Lotus won the Constructors Championship for the sixth time, and Emerson Fittipaldi comes second in the Driver's Championship with Ronnie Peterson coming third.
1974 THE LOTUS 2+2 ELITE
Lotus' first 4 seater sports car was launched, the attractively shaped Type 75 Elite. Though more luxurious than previous Lotus, the Elite still uses the company's trademark backbone chassis and was still very much a sports car.
The Elite's glass fibre composite body used a Vacuum-Assisted Resin Injection (VARI) technology, demonstrating Chapman's ceasless search for technical innovation, and transfer of knowledge from pit-lane to production.
This year also saw the construction of the Type 76 Formula One car dubbed the John Player Special Mark 1.
1975 ACCOLADE OF AWARDS
An important year for Lotus. The Elite was awarded the DON Safety Trophy by the UK Minister of Transport.
The citation reads:
"The panel felt the successful use of GRP body construction plus the wide margin by which the Elite meets the US and European Legal Safety Requirements, and the empahasis placed on the reduction of the risk of fire in the case of collision, allied to the good fuel economy and low emission of
pollutants, added up to a substantial improvement of both
primary and secondary safety in a high performance car".
At the Paris Motor show Lotus stunned the world with the premier of the dramatic Guigiario-styled Esprit (Type 79).
The car was to reappear shortly afterwards at the London show, in company with the new 2+2 Eclat (Type 76). Both cars had glass fibre composite bodywork, steel backbone chassis, and were powered by the 2.0 litre Type 907 engine.
1976 BACK TO WINNING
Lotus is honoured with a royal visit in March - HRH Duke of Kent. In the November the company celebrated 10 years at the Hethel site.
The new Type 77 John Player Special Mark 2 was unveiled, the FIRST car to incorporate adjustable suspension. After a gap of two years without F1 wins, Lotus returned to its dominant and winning ways with Mario Andretti taking the chequered flag in the rain at the Japanese Grand Prix. This was the start of a phenominal winning streak for Lotus.
1977 THE SPY WHO LOVED ME
'The name's Bond... James Bond...
' Britain's favourite spy, 007, had a fantastic new company supercar in the wedge shaped Esprit.
The Esprit was the mechanical star of the Bond movie 'The Spy Who Loved Me', firing missiles and doing a memorable submarine impression.
It was a good year for the Esprit; the Design Council Car Assessment Committee declared it eligible for exhibition in the Design Centre in London.
Lotus continued its winning streak in F1 with the introduction Type 78, the FIRST car to manage airflow under the car including ground effects. Driven by Mario Andretti, Gunnar Nilsson and at the end of the season by Ronnie Peterson. With five wins in 1977, Lotus settled for second place in the Constructors’ Championship.
1978 FORMULA ONE DOMINANCE
Team Lotus dominated Formula One - achieving 12 pole positions, and 8 wins, and yet another Constructors’ and Drivers’ double act with Mario Andretti doing the honours in the driver's seat. Andretti's steed for the majority of the season, the Type 79 (or JPS Mk IV as it was also known), again proved Chapman's genius for finding innovative engineering solutions. The car was a development of the Type 78, which pioneered 'ground effect' on Grand Prix cars, harnessing the airflow under the car to literally suck it to the ground.
To mark this victory, Lotus produced 100 limited edition versions of the new Esprit S2 (launched earlier in the year), suitably liveried in JPS colours.
Lotus' talents were much in demand; in December Chrysler UK (Talbot) called in the Lotus Engineering to help develop a high performance version of the Chrysler Sunbeam. The rally derivative of the Talbot Sunbeam (the Type 81) won the World Rally Championship in 1981.
1979 Wingless Wonder
Another Royal visit - HRH Duke of Edinburgh visited the Hethel factory.
The Type 80 “Wingless Wonder” F1 race car is introduced, to be driven by Mario Andretti and Carlos Reutemann.
The Type 80 was a development of the World Championship winning Type 79, and took the Ground Effect concept to the another level by maximising the underwing area of the car and not having the drag inducing topside mounted wings. However, following a number of poor results, it was retired from competition and the Type 79 was raced for the remainder of the season.