23's 'Ring of confidence

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“I tell you, that Lotus was unbeatable,” says an animated Trevor Taylor, reliving the Lotus 23’s blistering run at the1962 Nürburgring 1000Km. Unbeatable so long as it lasted. It didn’t. Taylor never got to race the car (which was a testbed for the new Twin-Cam in 1498cc trim) as team-mate Jim Clark retired on the same lap as they were due to swap places. “At the start Jimmy just went off into the distance. I mean he just disappeared the second the flag dropped. The ‘Ring is a long old track and it must have been 10 or 12 minutes by the time he came past the pits for the first time. There was nothing near him. I mean nothing. We all thought there must have been an accident or something. It was a good 20 or 30 seconds before all the other cars came past.

“The 23 was made for the ‘Ring. It was just perfect on the bends. While all the big Ferraris and the like were sliding around losing time, the Lotus just stayed glued to the track. I loved it. Unfortunately, an exhaust manifold split when jimmy had a two-minute lead, and that was that. Lap11, I think it was. Typical of my luck.

“Then of course we went to Le Mans which was even worse. We were competing in the same class as all the French GTs and the organisers did everything they could to stop us racing, throwing us out because we had six studs on the front wheels and four on the back. We modified them to what they said they wanted but they still wouldn’t let us play which is typical of the French.

“I loved the 23 though. Couldn’t fault it. It was a proper driver’s car. A proper little Lotus.”