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Lotus 30
1965 Lotus Type 30
Category Group 7 Sports Racer
Constructor Team Lotus
Designer(s) Len Terry
Technical specifications
Chassis Steel Backbone
Suspension (front) Double Wishbone, Outboard Coil/Spring Damper
Suspension (rear) Double Wishbone, Outboard Coil/Spring Damper
Engine Ford 4,727cc 289 cu in V8
Transmission ZF 5 Speed Manual Synchromesh Limited Slip Differential
Competition history
Notable entrants Team Lotus
Notable drivers Jim Clark
Races Wins Poles Fastest laps

The Lotus 30 was a racing automobile, Colin Chapman's first and only attempt at a Group Seven / Can Am racing machine, and was first built in 1964, designed by Len Terry. It was most notable for its curvaceous fibreglass body work and "pickle fork" backbone chassis design first seen in the front engine Lotus Elan. On the 30 the layout was reversed and placed the engine behind the driver. The Lotus 30 was powered by a 4.7 litre (289 c.i.) Ford V8 engine, the same type as used in the Ford GT40, mated to a 5 speed ZF syncromesh gearbox. It used 13 inch wheels and solid disc brakes on each wheel. The Lotus 30 was regarded as unsuccessful and / or dangerous, (depending on whether or not you had to drive one fast).

It had several inherent design flaws which became evident as horse power requirements and tire technology of the period evolved and pushed the original design past its intended limits. The problems were mainly related to the torsional rigidity of the backbone chassis and materials available at the time. all of which resulted in chassis and suspension failures.

Jim Clark laboured long with the car, and managed to prize some promising results with it, before it was replaced with the Lotus 40, which used 15in wheels and vented disc brakes, as well as a larger engine, unfortunately the 40 was just as recalcitrant as the 30. The most telling comment about these Lotus race cars was that made by the American driver Richie Ginther. When asked what he thought of the new Lotus 40; Ginther, a lugubrious Californian said, "Same as the 30 but with ten more mistakes".

It was not for naught as this chassis type did prove to be perfectly acceptable for the lower powered Lotus Europa. This chassis design was further developed and used on the Esprit series cars.

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