Wednesday 28 March 2012

Team Lotus wins the 1965 Indianapolis 500

In 1962, Dan Gurney invited Colin Chapman as his guest at the Indianapolis 500 to show him the potential of bringing a Lotus race car there to compete.

Chapman was impressed and decided to give it a go with his rear-engine racers.

For 1963, Team Lotus raced a Lotus 29, and came very close to winning with Jim Clark driving. They came back in 1964 with the Lotus 34, but tire problems sidelined the cars.

Jim Clark - Lotus 38 - 1965 Indianapolis 500

Pen&ink, paint markers and markers on green archival paper
© Paul Chenard 2012
Private commission - Available as a limited edition

In 1965, they came back, this time with the lovely Ford-powered Lotus 38.

Clark went on to lead all but 10 of the full 200 laps, averaging a new record speed of over 150 miles-per-hour (241 kph), coming in to win with an amazing margin of victory of just under 2 minutes.

It was a first Indianapolis 500 win for Jim Clark, Lotus Racing and the Ford Motor Company. It also broke the long-standing curse of bad luck racing a green race car at the Indianapolis 500.

Significantly, it was the first win there for a rear-engine car, spelling the end of traditional front-engine roadster.

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