July 4 2015 Latest news:
Friday, February 21, 2014
A legendary Lotus grand prix car raced by world champion Graham Hill could fetch up to £1million when it goes to auction.
The Lotus 49B is one of Lotus boss Colin Chapman’s most recognisable designs, and became one of the longest-lasting in Formula One after making its debut in 1967.
The model was driven by world champions Jim Clark, Jochen Rindt and Emerson Fittipaldi until 1970, but the chassis being auctioned at the Goodwood Festival of Speed – the R8 – belonged to Graham Hill during his time with the Gold Leaf Lotus team.
It was built in October 1968 and is one of just a handful of the 12 Lotus 49s to have been produced.
James Knight, group motoring director for the auctioneers Bonhams, said: “By every standard, Colin Chapman’s Lotus 49 concept is an absolute landmark in Formula 1 design. It simply raised the bar for every rival manufacturer, and its Cosworth-Ford V8 engine went on to win a record 155 World Championship Grands Prix.”
The R8 chassis was raced by Hill, father of 1996 world champion Damon, in the Tasman Championship races in New Zealand and Australia in January and February 1969.
He drove it to second place at both Christchurch and Invercargill, New Zealand, before finishing fourth at the Australian GP at Brisbane, and sixth at Melbourne.
The car was then shipped back to Europe and driven by Richard Attwood in the 1969 Monaco Grand Prix, where he finished fourth and set a fastest lap. It was later adapted at Lotus’s Hethel works and raced by Hill again at the 1969 British Grand Prix.
After being retired in 1972, it was bought by Lotus enthusiast John Dawson-Damer, who painstakingly restored it and added it to his eight-strong collection of Lotus cars, which have been sold off since his death in 2000.
The Lotus 49B-R8 will go under the hammer at the Bonhams Festival of Speed auction on June 27.