The Lotus 72 is undoubtedly one of the most iconic Formula One cars of the early through mid 1970’s. Colin Chapman and the team at Lotus developed a ground breaking car that set the standard for many years to come. Volumes have been written about the Lotus 72 and the evolution of the car that racked up 20 Grand Prix victories from 1970 through 1975. However, this time we are looking beyond the car’s stylish wedge shape and detailed history and concentrating instead on a few interesting details that made the Lotus 72 a winner. The car featured is John Player Special 72E S/5 once driven by Jacky Ickx and now maintained by Classic Team Lotus.
Genuine Koni shock absorbers naturally. The Famous Special D shock that graced so many street cars was also used on the 72, although I’m sure the valving was reworked to Lotus specification
The Lotus 72 featured inboard brakes at the front. Each front wheel had a shaft , much like the drive shaft of a front wheel drive automobile, that ran from the wheel to the brake rotor and caliper mounted within the bodywork of the car. This feature reduced unsprung weight and kept the center of gravity nice and low.
The brake discs receive cool air from openings in the top of the bodywork.
The Lotus 72 was the first Formula One car to feature the radiators mounted in side pods located at the rear of the car, instead of the front nose.
Various fabricated parts, like these suspension pick up points show just how much hand work goes into building the 72.
Powered by the Ford Cosworth 3.0L DFV, the engine relies in mechanical slide injection for fueling.
Notice the exhaust has been relieved by the suspension trailing arm.
The Lotus 72 featured a high mounted air box or air intake. This “scooped” cool air from above the car and directed into the 3.0L Cosworth V8. Produced from fiberglass composite, the box was light and held in place with spring clips.
The cockpit is simple and to the point. The MOMO steering wheel provides command control and a few basic gauges keep the driver informed.
The Lotus 72 is packed with interesting details that make up a car that ushered in many innovative features that became standard on F1 cars for years to come. Its hard to believe the 72 is now 45 years old but was light years ahead of the competition in 1970.