Nearly 20 years after an abortive attempt to contest the 1981 British GP at Silverstone, the Lotus 88B made an encouraging race debut in the FIA Thoroughbred Grand Prix series in Barcelona. Owner and racer Steve Hitchins drove the twin-chassis car, extensively rebuilt by Vin Malkie Racing, to fifth place despite the loss of second gear. The 88B was one of Colin Chapman’s groundbreaking concepts.
It utilised a clever twin-chassis set-up which let the car sit tight to the ground at speed, but complied with the ride height regs of the day. It first appeared during qualifying for the 1981 British race, driven by Nigel Mansell. However, concerted pressure by rival teams banned it, and the 88B spent most of the next two decades in the USA, but was never raced.
The car returned to the UK late in 2000 and, 1000 man-hours later, has finally hit the tracks.
“Mike Wilds tested the car at Silverstone and he was amazed by how good it felt,” said Malkie. “It has lots of potential.”