F1 Dominators – Lotus 25 Climax

(Above Image): A cutaway image of the Coventry-Climax powered Lotus 25, demonstrating its narrow shape which help contribute towards its success.

Image Source: WallpaperUp

The Lotus 25 Climax was used by Team Lotus in Formula One between 1962 and 1965. In the 49 Grand Prix entered, the car won 14 of those, all of which were courtesy of double world champion, Jim Clark.
In 1961, Formula One regulations stated that the engine capacity would be reduced to 1.5 litres. As a result, the majority of British teams were down on power in comparison to Ferrari’s famous shark nosed 156’s, which saw their drivers Phil Hill and Wolfgang Von Trips battle for top honours.

In response, designer and team owner Colin Chapman help develop the Lotus 25. Powered by a mid-engine 1.5 litre Coventry-Climax V8 which produced 195bhp @ 8,200rpm, the car weighed 452kg, with a slim body designed to reduce aerodynamic drag. The car also used a monocoque chassis, and although Lotus weren’t the first to do so, its artistic but simplified shape revolutionised Grand Prix racing.

Jim Clark en route to victory at the 1963 British Grand Prix, held at Silverstone. 

Image Source: Sports Car Digest

Debuting at the 1962 Dutch Grand Prix, the Lotus 25 had a difficult beginning at the hands of Jim Clark, finishing ninth. However, over the course of the season, Clark would pick up three wins, at the Belgian, British and United States Grand Prix’s, alongside a fourth place finish in Germany. His main title rival was fellow compatriot Graham Hill, who subsequently won four races in his BRM. However, as quick as the Lotus 25 was, it suffered reliability issues as well, leading to Clark retiring from four of the season’s nine race. As the five best results counted towards the finish points tally, Hill’s consistency allowed him to win his first of two world titles by 12 points from Clark.

1963 proved to be more successful for the Norfolk based team. After retiring from the opening race in Monaco with an gearbox issue, Clark went on to win seven of the remaining nine races, granting the Scotsman the honour of winning his first world title with maximum points, considering only the best six results counted that year.

Jim Clark and Colin Chapman celebrate another victory aboard the Lotus 25 Climax, winning the Italian Grand Prix at Monza on this occasion.

Image Source: Grand Prix History

To put Clark’s dominance into context, 73 of Team Lotus’ 74 points that year were scored by Clark, with teammate Trevor Taylor claiming a solitary point for his sixth place in Monaco. In addition to this, Clark set a record for most wins in a Formula One season. This record was equalled by Alain Prost in 1984 driving the McLaren MP4/2 before Ayrton Senna eclipsed this with eight wins in 1988 at the hands of the all conquering McLaren MP4/4.

For 1964, The Lotus 25 was still preferred whilst its successor, the Lotus 33, was still in development, participating in six races that year, with Clark winning three. However, in the remaining four races at the hands of the Lotus 33, Clark could only manage two points – from the season finale in Mexico – having retired in Germany and Austria, as well as failing to score in the United States. Consequently, Clark could only manage third in the championship, finishing eight points behind fellow countryman John Surtees in the Ferrari.

Jim Clark driving the Lotus 25 at the 1964 Dutch Grand Prix. He’d go on to win the race by 53.6 seconds from championship rival John Surtees’ Ferrari, with teammate Peter Arundell a lap down in third.

Image Source: Harry Pot (via Wikipedia)

The Lotus 25 was only used once more, at the 1965 French Grand Prix, which Clark appropriately won and was one of his six wins that year in helping the popular Scot towards his second world title. 

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