A British team’s plan to celebrate the 35TH anniversary of Jim Clark’s heroic debut of the Lotus 23 sportscar at the Nurburgring was thwarted last month, when the Bob Tabor-owned 23 was pushed off the fearsome Nordschleife by a Porsche 911 in practice for the 500km race at the (Youngtimer’ Grand Prix meeting.
Driver Michael Schryver escaped injury, but the highly original 1962 car newly restored by Geoff Wyatt of marque specialist Simon Hadfield’s team was extensively damaged. “I was flat in top, then found myself in the barriers,” said FIA Thoroughbred Grand Prix Car champion Schryver. “I think the Porsche’s rear wheel arch clipped me.”
The Lotus, originally owned by Malcolm Delingpole, spent most of its life in South Africa, where it was raced with a Maserati engine. It returned to Britain in kit form with expatriate Don Flounders at the end of 1993, and ran again earlier this year after total restoration by former Reynard engineer Geoff Wyatt.
Clark astounded rivals by outpacing the all conquering Ferraris when Colin Chapman’s lightweight 23 model appeared in the Nurburgring 1000kms, but a broken exhaust gassed the Scot while he was miles ahead of the field, causing him to crash and denying him a famous victory. Repairs to Tabor’s chassis are already under way.