For the 1970 season Lotus used the catch all Lotus 69 type number for cars designed, by Dave Baldwin, to compete in four different open wheel Formula.
Namely Formula Ford which used prescribed narrow tyres and 95 hp single carburetor Ford Kent 4 cylinder engines, Formula 3 which used heavily modified 1 litre / 61 cui production block 4 cylinder motors in 1970 and modified 1600 cc / 97.6 cui production block motors in 1971, Formula B with 1600cc / 97.6 cui motors tuned somewhere between Formula Ford and Formula 3, and finally Formula 2 which ran with the most powerful 200 plus hp 1600 cc / 97.6 cui motors with production blocks of which at least 5000 copies had been made.
Today’s featured car, seen at Dyrham Park and belonging to Tony Wallens, is a 1971 Formula 3 spec Lotus 69 with a modified 1600 cc / 97.6 cui production block motor, the space frame chassis is derived from the Lotus 59 open wheelers and it shares many components with it’s Lotus 69 siblings, although the Formula 2 Lotus 69 was built around a monocoque to meet the requirements for a bag fuel tank.
Despite these successes, Emerson Fittipaldi also won three races in his Formula 2 Lotus 69, while in Formula Ford Stan Matthews placed forth in the 1971 British Oxygen Formula Ford championship with his 69, Lotus took the decision to withdraw from the customer racing car market and focus on works Formula 3, and Formula 1 efforts in 1972, Formula 2 and Formula 1 campaigns in 1973 and solely Formula One campaigns from 1974 on.
Thanks for joining me on this “Multi Formula Open Wheeler” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres”, I hope you will join me again tomorrow for a day at the races. Don’t forget to come back now !