For 1970 Lotus had planned to have the 4 Wheel Drive Lotus 63 ready to challenge for championship honours however even Mario Andretti could not capitalise on any of the cars supposed advantages during 1969 and so the Lotus 49 was updated for a fourth season of competition with 13 inch front wheels to make use of the latest Firestone Tyres as a stop gap while the design and build of the Lotus 72 was finalised.
The car seen above is Lotus #R6/2 the second car to carry the #R6 chassis plate. The first incarnation of #R6 was the first 49 to be built to ‘B’ spec. Unfortunately it was written off by Jackie Oliver during practice for the 1968 French Grand Prix, and in order to make use of existing travel documents the eighth Lotus 49 to be built was given the #R6 chassis plate and is known as #R6/2. Some parts of #R6/1 damaged beyond repair by Oliver are thought to have been used in the replacement #R6/2 seen here, Rob Walkers privately entered 49 #R7, and the #R12 show car built for Ford which was donated to the Donington Museum.
In it’s second incarnation #R6/2 still in high wing ‘B’ spec was used by Graham Hill to win the 1968 Mexican Grand Prix which clinched the 1968 World Championships for Graham and Team Lotus. Graham continued to use #R6/2 in 1969 before the car was given to Jochen Rindt to drive. Jochen scored his first two Grand Prix victories with R6/2 the 1968 US Grand Prix with the car in ‘B’ spec and the 1970 Monaco Grand Prix with the car ‘C’ spec with the low triple plane rear wing that was designed for the Lotus 72. Jochens win at Monaco would be the third consecutive win in the Principality and also the 12th and final Grand Prix win for the Lotus 49 type.
The second Lotus 49C featured today appears to be chassis #R10 which has given me a bit of a mental run around. This car appeared at Goodwood last year in high wing ‘B’ spec.
As you can see from my heavily revised Lotus 49B blog the car started life as Lotus 49 #R5 and for reasons that are not clear the car was renumbered #R10 and sent to the Antipodes for Jochen Rindt to use in the Tasman Series.
Graham Hill used #R10 to win the 1969 Monaco Grand Prix as he had done in 1968 when the car carried the chassis #R5. In 1970 Graham drove #R10 in the 1970 Monaco Grand Prix to fifth place when it was loaned out to the Rob Walker team for whom he was driving.
Emerson Fittipaldi made his first three Grand Prix starts in #R10 towards the end of 1970 scoring a best 4th place finish second time out in the 1970 German Grand Prix at Hockenheim.
Thanks for joining me on this “Forth Season Swan Song” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !