Micromax: Microlight and maximum boost Lotus 98&99T

Sponsor, Brands, Specialists and Suppliers: The Companies that supported the Chapman /Lotus Road & Racing Programme

Micromax: Microlight and maximum boost Lotus 98&99T

Figure 1: Image from the net and the Micromax name and logo image


Lotus cars sold

They were bought for their:-

  • Performance –road or track
  • Driving pleasure
  • Reputation and image
  • Aesthetics
  • Symbolism
  • Owner identification /personality extension etc.

All the above were integrated within a total framework design.

The above list is heavily dependent on a select group of components [either bought in proprietary or in house manufacture] that delivered the desired outcomes and met strict criteria.

Many of these components often contributed significantly to the overall aesthetic, many are extremely functional and beautiful in their own right .They formed part of a complementary whole.

In this series we examine:-

  • significant Individual components from all the marque types
  • Briefly explain their role /contribution /evaluation
  • Analysis form and function with regard to their integration, where appropriate
  • Provide suppliers/specialist advertising materials where appropriate

Understanding Lotus’s use of proprietary parts provides invaluable learning opportunities not just historical but right up to the present day. These lessons are not just applicable to automotive engineers/ designers but to the wider Industrial /Product Design professions.

The Skillful and creative adoption, absorption and integration of components was a powerful factor in the Chapman design methodology and contributed significantly to both competition and commercial success. It also feed his ability to mutate parts and materials to his desired ends.

The use of components is a fundamental skill of the Industrial Designer and the direct provision of added value.

The exact interpretation of sponsorship in conjunction with Lotus is difficult to establish objectively. The appearance of a sponsor’s logo on a car is not necessarily evidence of financial support. Access to historical archive and contracts is sought wherever possible but with the passage of time and for various reasons these are not always available or accessible to the public.

This series also embraces the specialist suppliers to Lotus. We are particularly interested in those suppliers and products that have a connectivity with aviation.

In constructing the historic sponsor series, the A&R looks only at the logos worn in period and assumes the company involved had no objection to Lotus promoting their products. The A&R sees much to be gained by the wider promotion of sponsors but in the event that a specific organization disapproves for any reason that article will be removed.

Sponsorship is an instrument of mutual benefit and promotion. Subscribers might like to see A&R articles on Sponsorship and Product Placement to understand the numerical / financial reach provided by sponsorship with its ability to identify and project status through identification.

The principle continues particularly with regard to education based exhibitions [see below for details]

Each of these articles is devoted to a company/ organization that is believed to have sponsored or supplied specialist items to Lotus.

The intention of each article is to: –

  1. Explain the sponsors own history and outline their products and services – past-present and future
  2. Explain the historical connection with Lotus and the contribution made both in competition and the production cars
  3. To suggest how these two interlocking facets may be translated into exciting, interpretive, educational and commercial exhibitions

Subscribers might to see complementary and structured pieces to this article: –

  • Primary sponsors like Gold Leaf / John Player Specials
  • Product Placement
  • Separate dedicated series on engines and gearbox
  • Logo on Lotus
  • Lotus major sponsors like John Player Specials, Camels and engines like Honda and Renault

Mircomax Company Profile /Abbreviated summary

Despite a search and various enquiries around the globe we have been unable to locate the exact sponsor despite their distinctive logo.

There are several companies in the UK with this title others in Australia but none have acknowledged sponsorship of Lotus in the 1980’s.

Lotus Connections

The name Micomax appears in capital letters on the Lotus 98T in gold and in blue on the 99T accompanied by what looks like a trademark which seems to resemble a cartoon creature of some sort?

Specifications from Taylor:

Model Lotus 98T
Function Formula 1
Year 1986
Volume 4
Engine Renault EF15B V6 turbo
C.C. 1492
Carburation Twin GarrettAiResearch turbochargers
Power Output bhp 750-900, 1150 in qualifying
Transmission Lotus-Hewland DGB 6 speed
Chassis Carbon fibre /Kevlar with aluminium honeycomb monocoque
Body Kevlar one piece top, carbon fibre flat undertray
Front Suspension Steel rocker lower wishbone, pull rod operated inboard c.s/d,a.r.b
Rear Suspension Steel rocker lower wishbone, pull rod operated inboard c.s/d,a.r.b
Brakes F/R outboard ventilated carbon fibre discs with single Brembo calipers
Wheels F/R 13×11.5or 12/13×16.25inch
Tyres F/R 10.00×13/15.00×13
Length [inches] 181
Width [inches] 80
Height [inches] 41.5
Wheelbase [inches] 107
Track F/R [inches] 71.5/63.75
Weight -lbs 1188

Figure 2: Editors outline sketch exploring the John Player Specials logo on the Lotus 98T, which has Micromax colour coded in body side

Model 99T
Function FI
Year 1987
Volume 6
Engine Honda RA 166-E V6 Turbo
C.C. 1495cc
Carburation Twin turbo
Power Output bhp 800 bhp
Transmission Lotus/Hewland 6 speed
Chassis Carbon fibre/Kevlar with aluminium honeycomb monocoque
Body Kevlar one-piece nose ,cockpit and tail, carbon fibre flat undertray
Front Suspension Steel rocker &lower wishbone, pull rod, computer controlled damper
Rear Suspension Steel rocker &lower wishbone, pull rod, computer controlled damper
Brakes F/R 11inch outboard ventilated carbon fibre discs with single Brembo caliper
Wheels F/R 13×11.5/13×16.5inch
Tyres F/R 10.00×13/15.00×13 Goodyear radials
Length [inches] 166″
Width [inches] 84.5″
Height [inches] 39.5″
Wheelbase [inches] 107″
Track F/R [inches] 71/65″
Weight -lbs 1188lb

Period Address for economic geography exercise

Not known

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.

Understanding the potential of componentry particularly proprietary items provides some of the following learning opportunities; in this instance we suggest the following might be appropriate:-

Figure 3: Image from Team Lotus Archive but also featured in Taylor, The Lotus Book re Lotus 101/ 1989

Specific to Micromax and Lotus 98/99T

  • Examine the Lotus 99 T through the 107B and evaluate the hierarchy of sponsors, is there any evidence of contribution and sponsor representation size?
  • How can sponsors of lesser means make their representation dramatic and sufficiently graphic? And what are the challenges of aesthetic representation and integration within an overall livery?
  • How can the same smaller sponsors extract benefits?
  • Do you consider that multiple and scattered sponsor add or detract from aesthetic (benchmark with JPS for example) and does this have commercial implications?


  • Use a technical dictionary where needed to define components and roles
  • Was there a viable alternative to the part under consideration?
  • Is what might it have been /cost?
  • Examine the suppliers/specialist advertising what does it convey? And what is its iconography?
  • Integrate this item with our series on the economic geography of motor sports locations and manufacturing bases
  • Has the component had exposure at any motor shows?
  • Does the company continue to supply classic/heritage parts?
  • What changes in technology and materials have impacted on Lotus through its history?
  • How does component design impact on form and function
  • Does the supplier/specialist have aviation links? If so what?
  • What is the importance of ergonomics and how does it influence modern automobile design?
  • Does excessive safety/ and or ergonomics impact negatively on aesthetics
  • What is the impact of standardization of platforms through mark ranges and indeed shared with other manufacturers? Could uniformity ultimately impact on sales even if economies of scale improved?
  • Enumerate Lotus bought in components
  • How has mass production and proprietary parts assisted the specialist car market?
  • Produce an engineering drawing of a selected component and consider the specification of the materials and assembly process, costs and volume
  • Explore an enumerate supplier/specialists components used in other Industrial Design fields
  • How did the supplier/specialist extract value from their sponsorship/support?
  • Explore Graces Guide for further background detail
  • Study the economic geography of the British auto industry what factors determined locations?
  • What have been the causes of change and circumstance that have impacted on British motor industry?
  • What has been the role of F1 /motor sport valley based around Bicester?
  • What is the importance of outsourcing to the motor industry?
  • Study a British car specialist like Morgan, TVR, Ginetta or Lotus where do they source parts? What are the advantages?

Exhibitions, Education, Economics and Entertainment

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 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 exhibition titles might be appropriate:-

Figure 4 : Editors sketch of Lotus 99T


  • The Lotus Maxim
  • Lotus under the Microscope
  • Lotus Microscopic
  • Lotus Microlight, maximum boost


  • Lotus Parts: Past ,Present Future
  • Lotus Parts: The Winning Factor
  • The Principle Part
  • Act the Part
  • Assign the Part
  • Lotus Components
  • Lotus Components :Parts and Parcel
  • Lotus Sponsors, Specialist and Suppliers:Form,Function and Forte
  • Lotus Components:Parts and Partiality
  • Lotus Aesthetics : With little to spare
  • Lotus Cars: Spare and Slender
  • Product launch with title of dedicated specific relevance

Conclusion: “The whole is greater………”

There can be little doubt about the contribution made by Micromax. They seem to have sponsored Lotus in two consecutive years 1986&1987.

We have endeavoured to be comprehensive in our coverage of sponsors and suppliers including both large and small.

These might have given support through money, materials or services. Incrementally each was important.

In the two years that Micromax supported Lotus even with the supreme talents of

Senna they were improving taking into account a major engine supplier change.

The Team was international.

Perhaps one of our subscribers can identify correctly who Micromax were. Perhaps within the Lotus archive there are details of the contract and possibly the agreement of the exact representation granted. Note the example given of Courtaulds i.e. 22×8.5 cm’s a bargain at $350000, see illustration above.

Components were material to reliability and competitiveness.

Chapman’s design and manufacturing methodology rather confirms the adage that “the whole can be greater than the sum of the parts”.

It’s an interesting an important study to consider deployment of components. It contributes to aesthetics, assembly economics and sales [attractive components/ known accepted performance and servicing ability etc.]

It is equally and mutually relevant and beneficial to the component manufacturer.

Chapman and his colleagues often took the best / most appropriate mass produced item and almost reinvented it in its service to design objectives. In this manner many components acquired a new status and indeed their aesthetic was enhanced surrounded by the Chapman conceptual whole.

It’s also extremely significant how many of these components were also used in Lotus competition cars. This created a powerful dynamic and interrelationship. Many components:-

  • Performed well in competition gaining beneficial publicity and sales
  • Both the component and racing reputation carried through to road cars and assisted sales
  • The component manufacturer gained disproportionate publicity and assisted products sell in other applications
  • All together a beneficial spiral was commenced. Publicity of the era often opted to highlight the Lotus dimension in publicity material. In fact there was a powerful synergy.

The relationship between Lotus and is sponsor specialist suppliers is significant and worthy of close study and has lessons for Engineering, Industrial Design and Manufacturing disciplines.

Along the way it’s possible too to study the wider British motor component industry and how it has helped foster the specialist car manufacturers.

Sponsorship is a worldwide phenomenon of immense commercial impotence. Both to host and sponsor organization.

With the Passage of time it’s likely to become more sophisticated and focused and the internet /multimedia technology will play greater role.

Sponsors have existed in motorsport before Chapman but he vigorously exploited the concept with Gold Leaf c 1967/68 and set a pattern for others to follow.

Sponsors of Lotus were likely to benefit financially and in terms of exposure to an extent greater than their investment. The benefits were, and remain essentially similar to present day:-

  • Access to mass international audience consistent with mass production distribution marketing branding etc.
  • Demographics of viewing audience and interest groups
  • Additional subsidiary /secondary advertising through media, news, magazines etc.
  • Identification with market /brand /marque leader in both F1 and road cars
  • Association with success and continuity evolving, developing technology, materials etc.
  • In period the identification with the charm ,charisma and ability to articulate that Chapman possessed
  • All the attendant glamour , drama ,danger ,and spectacle of F1
  • Ability to provide conducive hospitality to conduct business
  • Cost effectiveness of audience cost ratio
  • Possible further complex corporate benefits

Appendix 1: Context and operation of sponsorship from the net:-

  • Learn how sponsorship motives have evolved.
  • Be able to differentiate between advertising and sponsorship.
  • Learn the advantages of each of the key promotion tools.
  • Identify the six categories of sponsorship opportunities.
  • Distinguish between self-evident and strategic linkages.
  • Learn the trends in spending on sponsorships.
  • Gain insight as to how ambush marketing and leveraging play roles.
  • Develop a basic understanding of the three special cases of sponsorship.
  • Identify the five key sponsorship objectives.
  • Learn the importance of each sponsorship objective.
  • Understand the concept of matching.
  • Learn the potential components of a sponsorship plan.
  • View a comprehensive example of a sponsorship.

Gain an awareness of controversies regarding sponsorship.

Appendix 2 F1 and related racing results


Appendix 3

Marque Model /Type Chief Designers Engine maker Turbo Tyre Maker
AGS JH21C C.Vanderpleyn Motori Moderni V6 Turbo Pirelli
Arrows A8 D.Wass BMW Turbo -4 cylinder Goodyear
Arrows A9 D.Wass BMW Turbo-4 cylinder Goodyear
Benetton B 186 R.Byrne BMW Turbo-4 cylinder Pirelli
Brabham BT 55 G.Murray BMW Turbo-4 cylinder Pirelli
Ferrari F1-86 H.Postlethwaite Ferrari 126C Goodyear
Lola-FORCE TH-1 N.Oatley Hart Turbo-4 cylinder Goodyear
Lola-FORCE TH-2 N.Oatley Ford V6 Turbo Goodyear
Ligier JS 27 M.Tetu Renault V6 Turbo Pirelli
Lotus 98T G.Ducarouge Renault V6 Turbo Goodyear
McLaren MP4/2B J.Barnard TAG-Porsche V6 Turbo Goodyear
McLaren MP4/2C J.Barnard TAG-Porsche V6 Turbo Goodyear
Minardi 185 G.Caliri Motori Moderni V6 Turbo Pirelli
Oscella FA 1G G.Petrotta Alfa Romeo V8 turbo Pirelli
Oscella FA 1H G.Petrotta Alfa Romeo Turbo Pirelli
Tyrell 15 M.Phillippe Renault V6 Turbo Goodyear
Williams FW 011 P.Head & F.Dernie Honda V6 Turbo Goodyear
Zakspeed 841 P.Brown Zakspeed Turbo -4 cylinder Goodyear


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