Colin Chapman of course utterly detested his nickname ‘Chunky’, which had originated in the 1950s. He could be notoriously vain, and sadly fought a lifelong battle with his weight. Sometimes he appeared more chunky than at others. I know the feeling, but without the guilt.
Our late friend Andrew Ferguson, who managed Team Lotus through much of the ’60s, recalled how – during one of their apparently interminable ‘month of May’ stays at Indy for testing, practice and qualifying before the race – Colin would make a conspicuous display of managing to “go without breakfast”.
He would plonk himself down at the breakfast table and declare his dietary intention, often with some criticism of the unhealthy menu choices the other Team Lotus players had made. The day’s briefing would then begin, and with his usual fluency Colin would breeze through the day’s requirements, and the previous night’s brainwaves. The further he got into this, the more forgetful he would become. Absent-mindedly he’d pick up a fork and stab a sausage on Andrew’s plate – chomp, chomp, gulp. Then a slice of toast, or a lavishly buttered muffin. Then eggs over easy. And after 20 minutes or so he’d be ready for another great day’s racing, content that he’d done the right thing… and gone without his breakfast.
As for everybody else’s… I guess this might have been why Team Lotus seemed to be inhabited by slim people.
Ho hum. Such is greatness.
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