The 842PS Lotus Type 66 – a Can-AM racer for the modern era – has been revealed at Monterey Car Week in California to celebrate Lotus' 75th anniversary. Lotus will build ten examples each commanding a price of more than £1 million.
A hilarious way to turn your local track day on its head, the Lotus boasts serious aero, stunning performance and lap times that'll leave a modern GT3 begging for its mommy.
Coined the 'lost Lotus', Colin Chapman originally saw the Type 66 competing in the 1970s Can-Am Race Series, but the legendary designer's laser focus on F1 meant the car never materialised
Until now. Revealed today in its 1970s heritage-inspired, red-white-and-gold racing paint – the colours used by the Type 72 F1 car – the 'rediscovered and reimagined' Type 66 is the brainchild of Clive Chapman, son of Colin and MD of Classic Team Lotus.
He said: "The car (the original Type 66 design) would have shared many innovative features with our most successful F1 chassis, the Lotus Type 72, which was developed during the same era."
"These include side-mounted radiators, which helped reduce front drag, increase front downforce and channel airflow through and over the car. The rear of the car incorporates a distinctive tail section, resembling the Le Mans endurance cars of the period.
"These features would have boosted its downforce considerably, compared to rivals, aiding high-speed stability and, ultimately, its lap times. It would have been spectacular, as is the actual Type 66 we see today."
Had the Type 66 been built in its original form, Emerson Fittipaldi would have driven the car; fittingly, he was a guest of honour at the reimagined car's launch.
Fittipaldi would recognise much of the car's design from a contemporary F1 grid. The difference of course is that the Type 66 as it is now benefits from 50 years of development since its original conception.
It has been computer modelled, with a modernised cockpit that complies with modern safety standards and a fixed rollover hoop. You get a sequential gearbox (including a reverse gear), anti-stall, electric power steering, and race ABS along with an inboard fuel cell.
These features combine with period-representative aluminium sections, bonded joints and aluminium honeycomb panels hidden under a carbon-fibre body shell that’s been subject to more than 1,000 hours of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) testing.
The result? A front wing that channels air through the car and underneath the rear wing – much like the electric Evija hypercar – to generate over 800kg of downforce (more than the car weighs) at 150mph.
Meanwhile, driver-in-the-loop technology tested how the Type 66 performs on famed racetracks, such as Laguna Seca, Silverstone, Fuji and Spa. The good news? The simulator reckons the Lotus can match the performance of a current GT3 or, better it, in Laguna Seca's case.
Firepower comes in the form of a pushrod V8 that can match a Porsche flat-six for heritage. The period-correct lump is designed to thump out 842PS (619kW) at a screaming 8,800rpm and 746Nm (550 lb-ft) at 7,400rpm thanks to a forged aluminium crank, rods and pistons. The mere sight of the car's Can-Am-inspired 'trumpet' air intakes will be enough to send any self-respecting petrolhead weak at the knees.
Need a closer look? Then head to the Concept Lawn at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, where the car will be on show Sunday, 20th of August.