Lotus and Formula 2

Lotus and Formula 2

Stanley Gillen [Ford of GB Managing Director] observed: –

“we are convinced that the success which British cars and engines have achieved in F1 world championships have assisted the entire British motor industry in its exports drive……..

The prestige which accrues from F1 world championship victory benefits us all”


This is brief introduction /overview of Lotus and F2.

In future we will examine individual models in more detail.

F2 did not perhaps receive the same attention from Chapman as given to F1.

Some evidence suggests commercial considerations reduced competitiveness.

The editors believe the Cosworth engines made a significant contribution.

Jim Clark drove both F1 and 2 Lotus and tragically died racing a F2 car.

The Lotus 48 retailed at £5,000.

Subscribers might like to see the directly relevant and integrated A&R pieces that complement and help structure this article:-

  • Other race Formula Lotus raced in including 1172, Formula Ford, Junior and 5000
  • Cosworth engines including DFV

F2: From wiki: –

“The 1.6-litre era, and driver grading (1967–1971)edit

For 1967, the FIA increased the maximum engine capacity to 1600cc.[2] With the “return to power” of Formula One the gap between Formula One and Formula Two was felt to be too wide, and the introduction of new 1600cc production-based engine regulations for Formula Two restored the category to its intended role as a feeder series for Formula One. The FIA also introduced the European Formula Two Championship in 1967. Ickx, driving a Matra MS5, won the inaugural championship by 11 points from the Australian, Frank Gardner.

The most popular 1600cc engine was the Cosworth FVA, the sixteen-valve head on a four-cylinder Cortina block that was effectively the “proof of concept” for the legendary DFV. The 1967 FVA gave 220 bhp (160 kW; 220 PS) at 9000 rpm. Other units also appeared, including a four-cylinder BMW and a V6 Dino Ferrari.

Nevertheless, many Formula One drivers continued to drive the smaller and lighter cars on non-championship weekends, and some Grand Prix grids (notably in Germany, where the long circuit at the Nürburgring could cope with large entries) would be a mix of Formula One and Formula Two cars. Jacky Ickx made his Grand Prix debut there in a Formula Two car, qualifying with the fifth fastest time overall. Forced to start behind even the slower Formula One cars, Ickx quickly forced his way back into a points position, only to be forced to retire with broken suspension. Jim Clark, regarded as one of the greatest race drivers of all time, was killed in a Formula Two race early in 1968, at the Hockenheimring.

The “invasion” of Formula One drivers in Formula Two ranks (a situation similar to that of buschwhacking in modern-day NASCAR) was permitted because of the unique grading system used. Any driver with an A grading was not permitted to score championship points. A driver gained an A rating via various means (that changed somewhat over the years), such as finishing in the points in two Grand Prix events or the top three in two World Sports Car events. The annual Formula Two champion was also granted an A rating for one year, and a Formula One World Champion was A graded for five. This system permitted less experienced drivers to work towards the championship and forward their careers, while allowing senior drivers to keep their hand in during the long breaks between Grands Prix of the time.

In the early years of the 1600cc formula, Brabham and Lotus were the most numerous constructors, although Ferrari intermittently entered a works team, as did BMW (with Lola and Dornier-built chassis). A number of smaller constructors such as Matra and Tecno were successful. Chevron also provided cars. The French firm Matra won the three first editions of the European championship, with Tecno winning the fourth.”


Roger Taylor image of Type 59

Lotus F2 cars

Year Model/Type no

1957 12

1964 32

1965 35

1967 41B

1968 48

1968 58

1969 59B

1973 74

[see selected specifications below]

Ford Cosworth engine [specification from “Lotus Coventry Climax and Cosworth engines” ]

Ford Cosworth FVA engine

General General
based on Ford 116E ,block
Bore/stroke 85.73×69.14mm
Power Output Over 200bhp
Cost £2,500/$7,000
Crankshaft Nitride steel, lead indium bearing inserts
Clutch 7.25.Borg&Beck twin plate diaphram
with sintered discs
Head Light alloy double ohc
Camshafts Chilled cast iron …5 bearing .gear driven
Valves 2inlet,2 exhaust per cyl. inverted cup type
tappets…double helical springs
Pistons forged light alloy ..pot type.. recessed in top
for valve clearance
Rods steel, lead indium bearing inserts
Lubrication dry sump system with combined scavenge
and pressure pumps
Ignition Coil distributor. Alternator ..1 x10mm spark
plug per cyl.
Fuel injection Lucas Mk.II with mechanical pump and
metering unit driven by toothed rubber belts
Accessory drives Gear-driven at front and rear of head

The Cosworth engine was built around the Ford Cortina 1500 block. Which had 5 main bearings. It was rugged and conventional. The Cosworth engine was retailed for what we believe to be £2,500 or $7,000 in period.

On the test bed on one occasion producing 202 bhp at 8,500 rpm.

It was compact unit and an estimated weight was between 260-265 lbs. Which included starter and clutch.

The engine grew out as direct product of DFV programme.

It’s believed these other marques adopted the Cosworth engine included: –

  • Brabham
  • Cooper
  • Lola
  • Mclaren
  • Matra

Lotus F2 specifications from Taylor

Model Model Model
Function F2 F2&1
Year 1967 1968
Volume 4 1
Engine Cosworth Ford FVA dohc Ford Cosworth DFW&FVA
C.C. 1599 2498&1598
Carburation Lucas fuel injection Lucas fuel injection
Power Output bhp 220 425&225
Transmission ZF Ds12 ZF5DS12&Hewland FT200
Chassis full monocoque centre section Steel monocoque
space frame rear carrying engine
Body GRP integral centre section nose
cone, engine cover
Front Suspension fabricated cantilever top w/b de Dion front sub frame twin
lower w/b inboard c.s/damper radius rods c.s/damper
Rear Suspension reverse lower w/b,top link de Dion rear sub frame twin
twin radius rods c.s/damper radius rods c.s/damper
Brakes F/R outboard Girling disc 12-inch outboard ventilated disc
Wheels F/R 13×8,13×10 or 12 13x10and 13×12
Tyres F/R 7.00×13 /10.00×13 8.00×13/10×13
Length [inches] 149.5 152
Width [inches] 68 70
Height [inches] 30 31
Wheelbase [inches] 91.75 96
Track F/R [inches] 58/58 50/54
Weight -lbs 926 950
Model Type 59 Type69
Function F3&2 Formula 2
Year 1969 1970/71
Volume 44 including F2&FF 65 including F2&F3
Engine Holbay Ford R68 Cosworth FVA/BDG
C.C. 997 1598 and later 1980
Carburation single Weber downdraught Fuel injection
Power Output bhp 117 230/265
Transmission Hewland Mk.VI Hewland Mk.VI
Chassis multitubular [square] spaceframe Aluminium monocoque
alloy stressed floor with rear space frame
Front Suspension Unequal length double wishbone double wishbone csd,ar bar
coil spring damper, anti-roll bar
Rear Suspension reversed lower wishbone, top reversed lower wishbone, top
link, twin rad’rods,csd,a.r.bar single top link, twin rad’rods,csd,
Brakes F/R 10.25-inch outboard Girling disc 10.25/10approx. outboard
Wheels F/R 13×8/13×10 13×10/13×14
Tyres F/R 7.50×13/ 9.50×10 8.00×13/11.50×13
Length [inches] 144 150
Width [inches] 69.5 72
Height [inches] 24.5 37
Wheelbase [inches] 92.75 92.5
Track F/R [inches] 56/56 57/58
Weight -lbs 881 720
Model Type 74
Function Formula 2
Year 1973
Volume 2
Engine Lotus Novamotor
C.C. 1973
Carburation fuel injection
Power Output bhp 275
Transmission Hewland FG400
Chassis aluminium monocoque
Body GRP
Front Suspension double wishbone, torsion bar arb
Rear Suspension twin lower, single upper link
twin radius arms cs damper arbar
Brakes F/R outboard/inboard ventilated
Girling disc
Wheels F/R 13×10/13×15
Tyres F/R 8.20×13/13.10×13
Length [inches] 160
Width [inches] 74
Height [inches] 36
Wheelbase [inches] 95.5
Track F/R [inches] 58/59
Weight -lbs 1078

Learning Opportunities

Our learning /educational opportunities are intended to be challenging thought provoking and requiring additional research and/or analysis.

These opportunities are particularly designed for a museum/education centre location where visitors would be able to enjoy access to all the structured resources available in conjunction with any concurrent exhibition.

In this instance we suggest the following might be appropriate:-

  • How many engine types were used in F2?
  • Who were the most significant drivers?
  • Which designers worked on Lotus F2 cars?
  • Was Lotus fully committed to F2&3?
  • Did F2 achieve its objectives?
  • Which other marques competed in F2?
  • Explain the production volumes for Lotus F2 cars

Exhibitions, Education and Economics

In the museum context the editors believe that commercial considerations are both necessary and complementary with its educational objectives.

For these reasons our suggested outline Business Plan includes provision for promoting products and services which share Chapman’s ideals of mechanical efficiency and sustainability. In addition we propose merchandising that explain and interprets the technical, social and cultural context of Chapman’s designs in period. It’s suggested there will be catalogue for on line purchasing.

In this instance we suggest the following might be appropriate:-

  • Two-timing: Lotus F2
  • Two-up: Lotus in F2 competition
  • Twofold: Lotus Construction chassis techniques for F2
  • Too Little Too Late? Lotus participation in F2
  • Fabricating F2
  • Chapman Facilitates F2
  • F2 Facia
  • F2 Features
  • F2: Fire up –sight and sound –fits and starts
  • Lotus F2 flaw?
  • Lotus F2 fluctuation
  • Lotus F2 focus
  • Lotus F2: Fusion
  • Ford for Formula Two


Assessing Lotus in F2 is not easy at it involves rule change, specifications and engine capacity. The editors draw these limited interpretations: –

  • That the Lotus F2 cars derived some influence from F1 but this did not grant them success
  • That commercial considerations might have impacted providing owners with versatility and value for money possibly at cost of focus
  • Although perhaps not generally appreciated Honda made an impression with its engines in F2 racing
  • F2 did not possibly enjoy full Lotus team backing
  • Lotus did achieve some success with the talents of Jim Clark who was sadly killed in one of these cars.

We concur with the remarks made by Stanley Gillen particularly the importance of Lotus to the outcomes. We believe the principle still applies and for this reason campaign for a dedicated Lotus Museum.






Please note the editors of the A&R attempt to give the broadest spectrum of references but not all are available for consultation in an article. However by noting their existence it may assist students in their research.