One of the technically brilliant but ill-stared ‘twin-chassis’ JPS Lotus 88 Formula One cars, banned from the world championship by the FIA in mid-1981, is to race for the first time, in this year’s Thoroughbred Grand Prix Car Championship.
Lotus specialist Steve Hitchins has bought chassis 88-2 from a private collector in the USA. Used by Nigel Mansell in opening practice for the British GP at Silverstone, it was then transformed overnight into single-chassis 87 specification for the race.
Any 3-litre normally-aspirated car scrutineered for a world championship or national Fl race between 1966 and 1985 is eligible to compete in the FIA’s flagship Historic series, so it may run in both forms. Said Hitchins: “It’s being rebuilt in 88 guise by Vin Mallde Racing. I can’t wait to start testing. If we find it’s no use, we can easily switch.” Brainchild of Lotus founder Colin Chapman, and detailed by Marlin Ogilvie and Peter Wright, the 88 featured a ‘primary chassis’ comprising the bodywork, wings and radiators. Like a giant wing, it fed downforce directly to the suspension; a ‘secondary’ inner carbon honeycomb tub carried the driver, engine and gearbox. MP