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The Lotus 112 was the proposed 1995 Formula One car of Team Lotus.

Conception

The Lotus 112 was Team Lotus' planned entry to the 1995 Grand Prix season. It was a stillborn project conceived by chief designer Chris Murphy throughout their final Formula One campaign in 1994. Originally, type 112 was to be the designation for the model that became the Lotus Elise. However, that car was given type number 111 instead, in homage to the original Lotus Eleven.

As a project little had been confirmed about the car’s final specification. It was rumoured that Lotus were intending to include the promising higher-spec Mugen-Honda ZA5D engine, which had shown great promise at its first outing during the 1994 Italian Grand Prix at Monza. Johnny Herbert had qualified his car 4th on the grid before being shunted by a late braking Eddie Irvine at the Rettifilio. However, in an attempt to reduce the costs associated with an exclusive engine deal Lotus may have had to use a Ford (Cosworth) unit.

Team Lotus were also planning to retain their final 1994 driver line-up of Alex Zanardi and Mika Salo.

In appearance the 112 was broadly similar to other Chris Murphy designed Lotuses. It did, though, incorporate a new and distinctive arrow nose and an unusual pushrod arrangement on the front suspension. Despite this radical departure, the car’s construction retained certain characteristic hallmarks. The tub would have been constructed from the traditional Lotus composite of carbon aluminium honeycomb, with the bodyshell being processed out of carbon fibre. Only a few parts of the 112 were ever fabricated before the project was suspended, along with the scale model for wind tunnel testing which was later to be found in the aeronautical engineering department of City University.

Team Lotus demise & impact on the 112

On 17 January 1995, new owner David Hunt (younger brother of 1976 world champion James) was forced to close down Team Lotus in the face of crippling debt and lack of sponsorship for the forthcoming season.

The Lotus 112 therefore became the last Formula One chassis to be designed by the legendary Team Lotus.

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