Lotus Exige LF1 Plaque Number 38
The Lotus Exige LF1 is a limited edition car. 81 Lotus Exige S cars received a Lotus F1 Team inspired livery and interior trim to commemorate 81 Grand Prix victories won by the Lotus marque up until the end of 2013.
Each of the 81 limited edition cars is sequentially numbered and celebrates a specific Grand Prix from car #1 commemorating Lotus’ first GP victory at Monaco in 1960 to car #81 marking Kimi Raikkonen’s win at Australia in 2013.
An individually numbered limited edition carbon fibre build plate located on the passenger side dash gives the number of the car / victory together with the circuit and the Grand Prix with year.
Each car was also supplied with a collectors pack which included, amongst other items, a individual book specific to each car. There are a number of standard pages within the book that provides details about Lotus’ history and the Lotus Exige and there is also an individual double page that details about the race the car commemorates.
My Lotus Exige V6 LF1 commemorates victory number 38, the 1970 Holland Grand Prix at Zandvoort. This was a significant race in Lotus’ history as it was won by Jochen Rindt in the Lotus 72C, its inaugural race. Jochen Rindt went on to win the 1970 F1 World Championship, posthumously, and the Lotus 72C won the Constructors Championship. The Lotus 72 went on to win 3 Constructors Championships and 2 Drivers Championships.
The 1970 Dutch Grand Prix, Zandvoort
There were only two weeks between the Belgian and Dutch GPs but McLaren had regrouped and the team fielded three cars for Peter Gethin, Dan Gurney and Andrea de Adamich. Denny Hulme was out of action because of burns to his hands sustained at the Indianapolis 500. BRM, which had won the Belgian race with Pedro Rodriguez, expanded to three cars again with George Eaton joining Rodriguez and Jack Oliver, while there was a new face at Tyrrell with Elf nominee Francois Cevert replacing Johnny Servoz-Gavin. Team Lotus had decided that the new 72 was ready, with both anti-squat and anti-dive removed on Jochen Rindt’s car and just anti-squat removed on John Miles new car. Ferrari had two cars again with F1 debutante Clay Regazzoni joining Jacky Ickx on this occasion. Making its first appearance was the Bellasi chassis, driven by Silvio Moser. It failed to qualify.
Practice & Qualifying
Practice was marked by two large accidents with Jack Brabham and Rodriguez both overturning cars but emerging unhurt. Jochen Rindt also suffered an accident, when he braked too late, misjudging his new brake discs, crashing head-on into the barriers, and forcing his mechanics to repair the car overnight.
Still, after being only tenth in first practice, Rindt put the new Lotus on pole position by a couple of tenths with Jackie Stewart's Tyrrell March and Ickx alongside him on the front row. Chris Amon's March and Jack Oliver's BRM were on the second row, while Regazzoni, Rodriguez and Miles shared the third row. Then came Piers Courage in Frank Williams's De Tomaso and Jean-Pierre Beltoise in the first of the Matras.
The Grand Prix
Race day was dull and overcast and the start of the race was brought forward to avoid a clash with the World Cup Final, which was taking place in Mexico City.
At the start Chris Amon was left sitting on the grid while the rest of the field jinked around him. This did not affect Ickx, Rindt, Oliver and Jackie Stewart but the rest of the field was a bit of jumble behind Miles. On the second lap Rodriguez managed to get ahead of Miles and a lap later Rindt took the lead from Ickx. Next time around Stewart had slipped past Oliver to take third place. Making rapid progress in the early laps was Regazzoni who passed Beltoise, Courage and Miles to move to sixth place. Things then began to settle down with the only movement being Courage overtaking Miles for seventh position. On lap 23 Courage crashed, his De Tomaso hitting a sand back, colliding with a post and turning over. The car caught fire with Courage trapped underneath. He was the second F1 driver to die in 19 days.
The race went on and Rindt stayed ahead throughout. Ickx suffered a puncture and so Stewart was able to get to second and Regazzoni to third. Ickx recovered and charged back, repassing his teammate for third place.
The first victory of the Lotus 72 was unimportant given what had happened to Rindt’s close friend Piers Courage, with whom he had eaten dinner just the night before. Rindt was heavily shaken by the loss of yet another fellow driver and contemplated retirement.
The Lotus 72 powered Rindt to another three Grand Prix victories in succession, France, Britain and Germany. During practice at the Italian Grand Prix Rindt was involved in a horrific high-speed crash that took his life. At the time he died Rindt had won five of that year's ten Grand Prix, which meant that he had a strong lead in the World Championship. His point’s advantage could not be beaten and he became the only posthumous World Champion.