After looking at the Lotus 25 in post #96 of the Lotus 39 thread on this forum I remembered what a beautiful race car it was. I decided to refresh my memory and went looking for more info.
What I soon found was a lot of contradictions over whether the car is chassis # R3 or chassis # R4. I have never seen as many contradictions and inaccuracies in info as there are with R3 and R4. Even the normally very reliable “oldracingcars.com” site is full of contradictions and errors on these cars.
So why the fuss, well it’s simple:
Chassis R4 won 7 of the 10 1962 World Championship GP’s in 1963, and won the 1963 World Championship for Jim Clark and the first Constructors Championship for Lotus.
Chassis R3 won only ONE world championship GP
So there is an enormous difference in value and marketability.
So I decided to go back to the start and trace through the history of these two cars.
The Lotus 25 introduced in 1962 was revolutionary in having a fully stressed monocoque chassis. This was in place of previous space frame chassis. Eventually all GP cars were to follow, Brabham being the last to switch. It was said the 25 was designed specifically for the mercurial Jim Clark, and no one had more success with it than Clark. He won 14 GP’s in five different Lotus 25’s. It was released about the time I first became interested in FI so has a special interest (so that shows my age). It has been said that in 1962 the 25 was to F1 what the Beatles were to music.
Lotus built 7 of the cars, 5 in 1962 and 2 in 1963. They were known by chassis serial numbers “R1” to “R7”.
There appears to be only one still racing. Three were written off by works driver Trevor Taylor, one written off by Parnell’s Attwood, one is in a Swiss museum and one has not been seen since 1965 (believed written off)
Reg Parnell ran his successful Reg Parnell Racing team. In 1963 he was building his own FI car the Parnell RP64-Climax F1. He died unexpectedly in January 1964 from Peritonitis. He was only 52. His son Tim, only 31, took over the team. For 1964 Team Lotus had replaced the 25 with the 33, so its 25’s were redundant. With the pressure from sponsors Tim ditched the Parnell car and quickly bought two Lotus 25’s R3 and R7. In August 1964 he bought R4. They were fitted with BRM P56 V8 engines. They were painted dark blue with maroon bands around the nose intakes.
The good Climax V8’s were very hard to get and Parnell was close to BRM. Reg had won BRM’s first GP and he and Tim were close to BRM’s Tony Rudd. In 1966 Tim managed the BRM Team in the Tasman Series. After he wound up his own team he was Team Manager for the BRM F1 team for 1970 to 1974. Hence the fitting of BRM engines to the Lotus 25’s.
Firstly Lotus 25 R4
R4 debuted in the non championship December 1962 Natal Grand Prix, where it finished 2nd driven by Jim Clark.
In 1963 it was driven exclusively by Jim Clark and in World Championship GP’s he scored 7 wins and a 2nd and a 3rd from 10 races. Four of his wins were in successive GP’s, being Belgian, Dutch, French and British. Incredibly the car used exactly the same set of tyres for all four wins indicating it must have had really excellent handling.
In 1964 it was driven for Team Lotus by Peter Arundell and Mike Spence. Its highest placing was 3rd.
During the August 1964 Gran Premio Del Meditterraneo Mike Hailwood had put the Parnell team’s R7 into the snake infested lake at Enna. The car was dried out and de-snaked, but it was only a week before the Austrian GP so Parnell bought R4 from Lotus. It was only to have 6 races with Parnell, scoring an 11th and 5 DNF’s. Then Richard Attwood had his first drive of it in the very wet June 1965 Belgian GP.
Attwood aquaplaned R4 and wrapped the car around a telegraph pole which split the car in two and started a big fire. It was so severe witnesses thought the crash would be fatal. It is interesting he was classified 14th, having completed 26 of the 32 laps, or 81%.
Very little was salvageable and what there was went into the Parnell’s team spare parts bin.
So that was the END of R4.
Secondly Lotus 25 R3
Lotus 25 chassis # R3 had its first race in the non championship International Gold Cup at Oulton Park in September 1962 driven by Trevor Taylor. It retired.
It started in 23 World Championship Grand Prix, 12 of them driven by Jim Clark.
It only ever won one Grand Prix, the 1962 US GP.
For Team Lotus it was driven in 18 races by Clark, Trevor Taylor, Peter Arundell, Mike Spence and Pedro Rodriquez.
It was even raced by Jack Brabham at 1963 Monaco GP, finishing 9th, after an engine failure in his own Lotus 24.
For 1964 Lotus introduced the 33, which was visually very similar but was designed for the new 13 inch wheels and tyres. Team Lotus ran those and sold off 25 R3 and R7 at the start of 1964 season.
Under Parnell, R3 was driven in 30 races by Chris Amon, Mike Hailwood, Richard Attwood, Innes Ireland and Paul Hawkins.
In 1966 for the new 3 litre FI it was fitted with a Climax FPF 4 cylinder of 2.5L.In this form it only in four races, but none were world championship races. It retired in 3 of them.
To May 1966 R3 had competed in a total of 48 races over five seasons.
Edited by TerryS, 03 December 2018 - 21:37.