Lotus 29 Indianapolis Race Car
The Lotus 29 was a single-seater racing car, which in 1963 Lotus built for the 500-mile race at Indianapolis
The 1963 Indianapolis car, basic-powered by an aluminium alloy version of the 4.2-litre Ford Fairlane engine. Jim Clark took second place in this.
While in the European monoposto series, and here especially in Formula 1, at the beginning of the 1960s, mainly mid-engine race cars were used, were used in US Formula racing even front engines. A first look into the future of this form of motorsport was made in the United States in 1961 was developed and by 1965 in the USAC series. when Cooper brought a mid-engine race car to Jack Brabham in Indianapolis. It was a Cooper T51, which had a Climax engine drilled to 2.7 liters. Brabham was ninth in the race with this vehicle.
A year later drove Dan Gurney a Cooper chassis with a V8 - Buick -Motor, but retired at halftime of the race with engine failure. Although Gurney had never competed for Colin Chapman's team, he convinced the British designer to build a stand-alone vehicle for the 1963 500-mile race. Chapman secured advance Ford support to get a usable engine. Ford already supplied Watson's racing cars, which had won the last four 500-mile races. However, these racing engines require methanol as fuel. But Chapman wanted an engine for normal racing gas and got a 4.2-liter V8 engine from the Ford Fairlane, which was converted into a racing engine. Chapman was confident that he would save fuel with conventional fuel to win the race by reducing the number of pits stops. Lotus brought a Lotus 25 to Indianapolis in the fall of 1962. That vehicle, with Jim Clark just before that won the US Grand Prix. The car got the Ford engine installed and both lap times and gas mileage were so impressive that Ford approved the funding for Project 29.
Chapman brought in September 1962 Len Terry, who had left the team at short notice, back and let this build the 29. Basically, the 29 was a lengthened Lotus 25 that got reinforced front and rear suspensions. The monocoque was the same as the 25th. However, the tanks in the car were completely new. Six were needed to provide the necessary capacity, but the race was over almost 800 kilometres, more than twice the Grand Prix distance. Two tanks came to each side of the car, one behind the cockpit, in front of the engine. The sixth, an aluminium tank, was under the driver's feet. Of course, all of the tanks had to be connected to the engine and special valves ensured that the fuel in the side tanks could not slosh from one tank into the other in the over-inflated curves.
Lotus brought three chassis to Indianapolis, Jim Clark and Dan Gurney sat in the race cockpits. Clark qualified for the fifth grid position with an average speed of 240.948 km / h. Gurney had an accident in the first practice, destroying a chassis. But he was able to fall back on the first prototype and started from twelfth on the grid. The strategy of the six tanks should make only a single pit stop necessary and thus decide the race for Lotus. However, the drivers had to keep up with the tire. The leading Parnelli Jones He came to the pits with his Watson after 62 laps for his first routine stop. This automatically took the lead behind Clark and Gurney, who had their halftime halves of the race - 200 laps to go - in laps 92 (Gurney) and 95 (Clark). With that, the Lotus had completed their stops and were now back behind Parnelli Jones on the squares two and three. However, the Lotus strategy was undermined by phases of the Yellow Flags - which prevent overtaking - that allowed Jones to refuel twice without losing the lead. After 177 laps, Dan Gurney had fallen behind due to engine misfires, but Jim Car was just five seconds behind Parnelli Jones. However, Watson pulled a blue smoke trail behind him and lost oil. The rules clearly stated in this case, that a vehicle that lost oil and did not pit was immediately taken out of the race with the black flag. However, the officials did not do so, which ultimately cost Jim Clark the potential victory. The vehicles driving behind Jones always had to go off the accelerator in the bends to avoid the oil-smeared spots. As a result, Clark could not catch up with the battered leader. As eleven laps to go Eddie Sachs had a spin on the oil track, there were again yellow flags. The race was released in the 193 laps, but Clark could no longer catch Jones on the now completely dirty track.
Jones won the race and Lotus protested after the end of the protest against the result, which was rejected a few days later. The Indianapolis victory for Jim Clark and Lotus followed in 1965 with the Lotus 38.A few weeks later, Jim Clark won the Milwaukee 200 with the Lotus 29 and Dan Gurney finished third. It was the first win for a mid-engine racing car in a USAC series race. After that, the cars were sold and came in 1964 and 1965, driven by private drivers, again, but unsuccessfully, in Indianapolis used.
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