The Lotus 23 is a 900 lb / 408 kgs sports racing car, with a nominal passenger seat, built around a wide version of the Lotus 22 chassis frame with identical suspension to the single seater.
Customers had motors installed, from 750 cc / 41 cui to 2 over litres / 122 cui, that were manufactured by Coventry Climax, Lotus, Ford, BMW, Saab and even Ferrari amongst others.
In 1962 over 130 Lotus 23’s were built that are known to have been entered in over 600 national and international events and recorded over 110 outright victories and a more than a further 130 class victories up to the Kyalami 9 hours in 1981.
The Lotus 23 has two important footnotes recorded in the annals of Motor Racing history, both dating to 1962 first Jim Clark qualified a Lotus 23 6th for the 1000 kms race at Nurburgring, a race which included an impressive array of powerful Ferrari’s Porsche’s and Jaguars. The race started in the rain and the nimble Jim and the 100 hp Lotus 23 shot away from the Le Mans type start into the lead and remained there ahead of Dan Gurney in a Porsche until lap 12 of 44 when he was overcome by fumes from a split exhaust manifold and crashed, without injury. Phil Hill and Olivier Gendebien eventually won the race in a Ferrari 246S.
For Le Mans in 1962 Lotus entered two cars one 750 cc / 45 cui and the other 1 litre 61 cui which is said to have upset several French teams causing the organisers to throw the Lotus team out of the race first on the grounds that the front and rear wheel hubs had 4 and 6 studs respectively, when this was rectified the organisers threw the cars out again because the front a rear wheels were different sizes meaning the spare wheel which had to be carried could not be fitted to front & rear axles. This was the final straw for Colin Chapman who vowed “We will never race again at Le Mans!” a promise he kept until his death in 1982.
The Lotus 23B seen here at the Goodwood Revival is driven by Chris Goodwin who finished third in the Madgwick Cup.
T22222 is an Austrian registration number that appeared on chassis 23-S-68 that was driven by Austrian hotelier Alban Scheiber on hillclimb events in 1963.
Chris Goodwin is yet another of my former racing instructors at Brands Hatch, who is better known as a sportscar racer, TV presenter and McLaren Automotive’s Chief Test Driver and Bruno Senna’s Manager.
My thanks to Lutz ‘r.altos’ M for the information regarding Alban Scheiber.
Thanks for joining me on this Wheels and Studs edition of ‘Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres’, I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !
PS Don’t forget …
Automobiliart GALPOT Seasonal Quiz
Win a set of Paul Chenard Greetings Cards
Set 1 Sports & GT Cars
Set 2 Phil Hill World Drivers Championship 50th Anniversary Edition
Set 3 1934 Season
Set 4 Grand Prix Engines of the 1950’s
Set 5 Mike Hawthorn’s Race Cars
The Automobiliart GALPOT Seasonal Quiz will comprise 8 categories.
Overall winner chooses one set of Paul Chenard Greetings Cards from the five sets shown above.
The cards measure 15.24cm x 11.43cm, come in packs of 12 with 3 copies of 4 designs in each set, plus A6 envelopes.
Which set will you choose ?
The free to enter Automobiliart GALPOT Seasonal Quiz will run from December 26th – January 2nd Entries close January 8th 2012, Winner announced January 16th 2012.