15. Sep, 2020


The deal Chapman had agreed with Ford Motor Company executives before the race was that the car would be owned by Ford afterwards. Having gone on to win, it was transported to the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan where it remained, unused, neglected, and still with the original engine and gearbox oil in it.

After the Lotus Ford car brought the Indy victory home to Britain, Colin received the Ferodo Trophy as the ''Commonwealth's most outstanding contributor to motor racing.'' In 1970, he was honoured as a Commander, Order of the British Empire.

At the beginning of 1966, Group Lotus moved lock stock and barrel from Cheshunt in Hertfordshire to Hethel aerodrome. The former site in Cheshunt becoming the headquarters of Tesco’s supermarket.

Lacking the resources and heritage of rivals Ferrari and Maserati, Lotus claimed a competitive edge through ingenious design and technological advances, including strut suspension, the monocoque chassis and innovations in downforce and aerodynamics. Chapman, with startling blue eyes and trademark moustache, was the heart and soul of the team and was the only boss to dirty his knees in the paddock, making technical adjustments. But though he remained a hands-on engineer he also proved himself to be a shrewd businessman. He was the first to adorn his cars with advertising and, in doing so, brought unprecedented investment into the sport. The black-and-gold John Player Lotus remains one of the most iconic and recognisable images in Formula One.

Success, as the proverb goes, can be hard to come by and some will go to any lengths to achieve it. Chapman's notebook from 1975 sheds light on a man for whom failure was simply not an option. With a chilling brevity Chapman notes, "A racing car has only one objective: to win motor races. If it does not, it is nothing but a waste of time and money. It does not matter how ... safe it is, if it does not consistently win it is nothing." These words were written only a few years after Chapman's great friend and champion driver Jim Clark died due to what many think was a technical fault with his car. Clark's successor, Jochen Rindt, wrote to Chapman saying his Lotus would still be competitive if a few pounds were added to make it stronger. This plea wasn't heeded and, soon after, Rindt shared Clark's tragic fate.