How Ireland and the Lotus 18 turned up the heat

Browse pages
Current page

1

Current page

2

Current page

3

Current page

4

Current page

5

Current page

6

Current page

7

Current page

8

Current page

9

Current page

10

Current page

11

Current page

12

Current page

13

Current page

14

Current page

15

Current page

16

Current page

17

Current page

18

Current page

19

Current page

20

Current page

21

Current page

22

Current page

23

Current page

24

Current page

25

Current page

26

Current page

27

Current page

28

Current page

29

Current page

30

Current page

31

Current page

32

Current page

33

Current page

34

Current page

35

Current page

36

Current page

37

Current page

38

Current page

39

Current page

40

Current page

41

Current page

42

Current page

43

Current page

44

Current page

45

Current page

46

Current page

47

Current page

48

Current page

49

Current page

50

Current page

51

Current page

52

Current page

53

Current page

54

Current page

55

Current page

56

Current page

57

Current page

58

Current page

59

Current page

60

Current page

61

Current page

62

Current page

63

Current page

64

Current page

65

Current page

66

Current page

67

Current page

68

Current page

69

Current page

70

Current page

71

Current page

72

Current page

73

Current page

74

Current page

75

Current page

76

Current page

77

Current page

78

Current page

79

Current page

80

Current page

81

Current page

82

Current page

83

Current page

84

Current page

85

Current page

86

Current page

87

Current page

88

Current page

89

Current page

90

Current page

91

Current page

92

Current page

93

Current page

94

Current page

95

Current page

96

Current page

97

Current page

98

Current page

99

Current page

100

Current page

101

Current page

102

Current page

103

Current page

104

Current page

105

Current page

106

Current page

107

Current page

108

Current page

109

Current page

110

Current page

111

Current page

112

Current page

113

Current page

114

Current page

115

Current page

116

Current page

117

Current page

118

Current page

119

Current page

120

Current page

121

Current page

122

Current page

123

Current page

124

Current page

125

Current page

126

Current page

127

Current page

128

Current page

129

Current page

130

Current page

131

Current page

132

Current page

133

Current page

134

Current page

135

Current page

136

Current page

137

Current page

138

Current page

139

Current page

140

Current page

141

Current page

142

Current page

143

Current page

144

Current page

145

Current page

146

Current page

147

Current page

148

Current page

149

Current page

150

Current page

151

Current page

152

Current page

153

Current page

154

Current page

155

Current page

156

Current page

157

Current page

158

Current page

159

Current page

160

Current page

161

Current page

162

Current page

163

Current page

164

Current page

165

Current page

166

Current page

167

Current page

168

Current page

169

Current page

170

Current page

171

Current page

172

Current page

173

Current page

174

Current page

175

Current page

176

Current page

177

Current page

178

Current page

179

Current page

180

Incredible though it might seem to the greyer fraternity among our readership, this year marks the 50th anniversary of Colin Chapman’s first rear-engined racing car, the Lotus 18. Innes Ireland stood the Formula 1 world on its ear with his early pace in the ugly duckling’s debut race, the 1960 Argentine Grand Prix.

Team Lotus’s most junior mechanic there was Maurice Levy, who recalls: “I think there were four of us, including Stan Ellsworth, who had taken over from dear old Willie Griffiths as Team’s chief mechanic. The car was finished just in time for the trip; we took it straight to the airport. I believe we flew to Buenos Aires via first Stuttgart, thence to Dakar, Senegal, and then on a beautiful Lockheed Constellation Super G to Buenos Aires, where we found some thieving bastard had stolen the car’s rev counter!

“Anyway, In between dry but humid periods interspersed with tremendous downpours which flooded the streets we did practice and qualifying, and the car performed really well. I saw Innes in the morning outside his hotel and he was limping badly, asking that when we got to the circuit could I bandage his toe? It turned out that the previous evening (probably about 2am knowing him) he’d leapt off an Estacione [Jeep] and attempted to land on top of the steps to the magnificent entrance of his hotel. He missed, of course, and had fractured his toe! I was sworn to secrecy not to tell Chunky, and it obviously didn’t affect Innes’ driving .

“We also had to look after Alan Stacey and a local named Rodriguez Laretta driving our front-engined Lotus 16s. But I was overawed by the fact that (I believe I’m right here) Froilán González had convinced the Automovil Club to run the circuit backwards, and each time he exited the left-hander before the pits in his works Ferrari, wearing a tee-shirt that was fit to burst, you would see his great hairy armpit.

“As the race progressed poor Stacey succumbed to heat prostration, rolled into the pitlane, nudged our pitwall and collapsed. He was as hot and dry as tinder, so the medics put a wet blanket over him till he came round. Innes had told Mike Costin to get a bucket of water ready out somewhere on the back of the circuit, and upon a signal from Innes to chuck it over him. The plan nearly worked it seems, but it was some unsuspecting bugger behind Innes who ended up getting soaked! Interestingly, Laretta had what looked like a big cabbage leaf on his head under his helmet and reckoned many locals did the same for their sports car races .

“The way Innes dominated much of that race is well recorded and we could have won but for a brake problem. I’m sure it was a sheared [loose] disc bolt that damaged a front disc, but for whatever reason I didn’t get to see the 18 after the race, as the 16s had to be loaded onto two DAF Mosquito car transporters for the journey over the mountains to Cordoba for the non-championship race the following week.

“I can’t be certain, but I think that when we emerged [at Goodwood] the prototype wasn’t used for the Glover Trophy, nor the next meeting, the Silverstone International – both of which Innes won!”

Well, I couldn’t find a photographic record of the water bucket being emptied in Innes’s direction – but here’s one (above) of him grabbing a drink as track temperatures were over 143F that day, and well over 100 in the shade. It really wasn’t easy, you know.

You may also like

Related products