If any of you are waiting for delivery of a new Lotus and it’s arrival has been inexplicably delayed, it may be that we are to blame. The day that we drove the Lotus 49 and Eagle-Weslake that adorn our cover it was blowing a gale, cold and damp. Even so, every time one of us ventured out in one car or other an ever growing crowd, every one a Lotus employee, would gather around the perimeter of the circuit, drawn by the unique music of a Grand Prix engine at maximum effort. And even when we were stopped, engines quiet, few could resist coming over for a stooge around the cars. I was both pleased and reassured by this; Lotus is doing brilliantly well right now after too many years on the brink of oblivion and, at the root of its success lies a passion for great cars. And while those who build Lotus Elises still want to take time off work to see a couple of old race can bumble around the track, the future will remain bright for them.
I finished the story of Didier Pironi in this issue even more saddened than I expected. Even by the often cruel standards of Formula One, his is an unusually tragic story and one in which every major player lost: Through his own actions he lost not only his career and, eventually, his life but also his friend and team-mate. Ferrari lost not one but two world champions in waiting and, to this day, it has yet to lift the title that would, without doubt have gone to one of Villeneuve or Pironi in 1982 had they not crashed. Yet, as Mark Hughes makes clear, Pironi was no suicidal shit but a methodical, thoughtful driver who was broadly liked by almost everyone in the paddock which, even back then, was something of an achievement.
But the biggest loss of all was suffered by two people who never even met him. Read the story and find out why.
Following my mention of the Grand Prix Legends computer game, we have been swamped by letters about it. Now I know the depth of feeling, I feel it was remiss of me not to mention it sooner. For those of you who don’t know, GPL is a game based around the 1967 world championship where you get to drive all the cars on all the tracks visited that year save Le Mans which wouldn’t play ball so Rouen was included instead.
The bad news is you need a reasonably powerful PC to make it work properly and without a steering wheel and pedals it is a waste of money. Properly equipped however, it is the most thoroughly researched, brilliantly conceived and thrilling PC game I have ever played. Your set-up options are limitless, your room for improvement without bounds. Best of all, you can piggy-back on Jim Clark’s Lotus 49 and see how it really should be done.