Members’ Meeting and Revival regular Stephen Bond was finding out just what difference an extra litre under the bonnet makes with the first laps in his new car at the 74MM test day at the Motor Circuit this week.
Stephen loves his Lotus 18s but is better known for his 1961 Rob Walker car – first of the new 1.5s with which Stirling Moss won the Monaco GP in that year – than with the earlier 2.5-litre Climax-engined 18.
And it’s the 2.5-litre car – coincidentally eighth in that same race in ’61 – that has now joined the Monaco winner in Stephen’s stable and which he had out to play for the first time this week.
‘I have only driven it once before at Donington last year in the wet – I came off three times in 15 minutes. It has so much more power than the 1.5 and it’s easy to forget that. You put your foot down and think, whoa, what happened there?’
Stephen and the Lotus 18 will be up against lots more Lotuses plus Maserati 250Fs, Ferrari 246 Dino and Aston Martin DBR4 in the Brooks Trophy, the 74MM race for 2.5-litre front- and rear-engined Formula 1 cars of a type that raced from 1954-1960.
While not having quite the provenance of his 1.5 Lotus 18, the car does come with its own claims to fame – including drivers that included Innes Ireland and previous owners that included Stirling’s dad!
It also comes in a very unusual pastel green, exactly as it raced in period. And that is how it will be appearing at 74MM, despite the fact that Stephen hates the ‘sickly green’ and has a bright red body for it for later events where originality is not so fervently preserved.
Stephen, who will also be racing his 1955 Lister Bristol ‘flat iron’ sports car in the Peter Collins Trophy at 74MM this year, is looking forward to driving the Lotus in anger. How does he rate his chances?
‘Always with Goodwood you look at the list of drivers you are up against and think, oh s***. I don’t come here with any expectations other than to enjoy myself… and I am never disappointed.’