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October 16, 2019
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Lotus 18 – Colin Chapman’s U-turn

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Lotus 18 – Colin Chapman’s U-turn

By Mark Whitelock
About the Author

• Hardback • 24.8x24.8cm • 192 pages • 148 pictures

ISBN: 978-1-845845-20-9

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• The full history of the Lotus 18 Formula 1 car
• The reveals chassis design and construction
• The development of the Coventry Climax FPF engine
• Seasons reviews of the 1960 to 1966 Formula 1 seasons
• Season review of the 1961 Formula 2
• 1961 inter-continental season review
• Analysis and statistcs of the 1960-66 seasons
• Full chassis-by-chassis history and race record
• Driver and team data
• Includes 150 rarely seen illustrations


In 1960, Colin Chapman sought to identify the most straightforward and uncomplicated way of building a Formula 1 car. The result was his first rear-engined design, the trendsetting Lotus 18. This book charts the 18’s competition history, from its inception, up to 1966 – via sensational victories over Ferrari at Monaco and the Nürburgring.


Colin Chapman’s previous attempts at producing a Formula 1 car had been a complete disappointment. Despite being technically advanced, extreme lightness led to numerous structural failures.
In 1960, Chapman decided to start with a clean sheet of paper, assessing the basic requirements for a contemporary Formula 1 car, and identifying how to achieve them in the most straightforward, uncomplicated way. The result was one of Chapman’s greatest creations – the Lotus 18 – a trendsetting, rear-engined car that was to set new performance standards from the outset.
Driven by some of the top drivers of the era – including Innes Ireland, Jim Clark, and John Surtees – it was Stirling Moss who made the car’s name, winning four Grands Prix, including his sensational victories over Ferrari, against all odds, at Monaco and the Nürburgring in 1961.
This book describes the history of the Lotus 18 throughout its 7-year competition career, via season by season summaries, and provides detailed appendices charting the individual histories of all 28 chassis that were built. Full race results are also presented, along with driver achievements.

Independent Reviews

Produced in the later (1963) Team Lotus livery of green and yellow, this is an attractive and informative book, which should appeal to anyone with an interest in the rise of British constructors, and Lotus in particular, to the pinnacle of motor racing.
BRDC Bulleting

Complete with photographs in both monchrome and colour, as well as detailed engineering diagrams, this is a text fit for a car that occupied a pivotal moment in F1 history and influenced future designs, too.
Motorsport News

…this is a very good addition to any Lotus Library.
Classic Driver Monthly

The book is a delight to read ... definitely something to put on your “wanted” list.
Vintage Racecar / Vintage Roadcar

Lotus aficionados will clearly want to buy this book but its appeal goes deeper than that with much of interest to those who are of an age to remember the cars in period.
VSCC Bulletin

… this is a brilliant book for motorsport fans … backed up by tonnes of great images.
Auto Express

… this is a must have for everyone keen too know more about the early days of Lotus racing.
Club Lotus News

[A] comprehensive and superbly produced history ... required reading for not only historians but for all followers of the Lotus marque.

… absolutely packed with wonderful period photographs that capture the era so well, plus a number of detail colour pictures of the car along with line drawings of the Coventry Climax FPF engine. In fact there is a chapter devoted to it which makes fascinating reading. … Specialist in subject matter, this book will appeal to the true Lotus aficionando.
Historic Racing Technology

In short, a must-have for fans of classic Formula 1 sport! ... a precious book.
Klassiek & Techniek

This book deserves a place on the book shelf of any Lotus enthusiast.
Historic Lotus Register

Backed by driver opinions and generously illustrated, including technical diagrams, the book gives a thorough outline of the car’s development and race career, including its many variants and its ‘afterlife’.
Motor Sport

Refreshingly personal ... a valuable guide to a machine about which too little has been written.

…both an invaluable resource for the Grand Prix fanatic and an excellent glimpse into what many call the “Golden Era” of Formula 1.

…the book is a well crafted history of a significant car in the development of Grand Prix racing ... It’s a good book…

Additional Information

The Lotus 18 was Colin Chapman’s first rear-engined single-seater, becoming a milestone in the history of the Grand Prix car.

This is the first book devoted solely to the Formula 1 Lotus 18 and its competition history.

This book gives a full description of the design and construction of the Lotus 18 together with season by season reviews of its competition history, chassis histories, race records and analyses and driver performance illustrated with 150 rarely seen photographs.


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