World beater

PUBLISHED: 09:29 13 January 2014 | UPDATED: 09:29 13 January 2014

Masterpieces, December

Masterpieces, December


Masterpieces: Art and East Anglia is a fascinating walk through our region’s creative brilliance and artistic heritage, from the Palaeolithic handaxe discovered on Happisburgh beach in March 2000 that is one of the oldest human artefacts to have been discovered in Britain, to the inspiring work of today’s Norfolk artists such as the brilliant Colin Self.

Each month during the exhibition, we are featuring one of the wonderful Norfolk pieces in the words of the guest writers from the book by Ian Collins – external director of the exhibition – which accompanies the show. This month, Clive Chapman, son of founder of Lotus, Colin Chapman writes about the iconic black and gold racing car.

The Team Lotus type 72 is arguably the greatest racing car of all time, scoring Grand Prix victories in four of its six years (1970–1975) of Formula One competition. The car’s overall tally during those years was 20 Grand Prix wins. In 1970 Jochen Rindt drove the Team Lotus Type 72 to victory in the World Championship of Drivers, with Emerson Fitipaldi repeating the achievement in 1972. Team Lotus itself won the World Championship of Constructors in 1970, 1972 and 1973.

The wedge-shaped, side-mounted radiators and torsion-bar suspension combined to lead the way in terms of tyre performance, low drag and high downforce. The famous black and gold colours of the bespoke JPS brand enhanced the good looks of the car and made it instantly recognisable worldwide, as part of an unprecedented and innovative global brand-marketing campaign by Imperial Tobacco.

Chassis number nine (of nine) – or “72/9” – was built by Team Lotus during 1974. The 72/9 made its debut in the 1975 South African Grand Prix, in which Ronnie Peterson finished 10th.

Ronnie raced the car exclusively, competing in 13 Grands Prix, plus the Race of Champions. His best finishes were fourth at Monaco and Dijon, both races he had won so famously in 1974.

The 1975 US Grand Prix at Watkins Glen was the last race for the Type 72 design. Since then 72/9 has remained in the private Classic Team Lotus Works collection, just as Ronnie finished racing it. The car is awaiting the catalyst of an enthusiast’s interest to move it to the front of the queue for restoration to running condition.

Team Lotus Type 72


Designed by Colin Chapman and Maurice Philippe

Classic Team Lotus Works Collection

See for yourself

Visit the Masterpieces: Art and East Anglia exhibition at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, University of East Anglia, Norwich, NR4 7TJ, until February 24, 2014. Open Tuesday to Saturday, 10am-8pm; Sunday 10am-5pm; closed Mondays. Tickets: £8 adults, £6 concessions, £20 family ticket. Advance bookings: 01603 593199. For details of talks and events linked to Masterpieces, see

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