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  Lotus 49B Cosworth
 

  Article Image gallery (91) Chassis (6) Specifications  
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Country of origin:Great Britain
Produced in:1968
Numbers built:7 (one unused)
Designed by:Maurice Phillippe and Colin Chapman
Predecessor:Lotus 49 Cosworth
Successor:Lotus 72 Cosworth
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:June 20, 2014
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Click here to download printer friendly versionMore than any time before or since, Grand Prix racing was revolutionized in the 1960s. There was little resemblance between the front-engined Ferrari 246 Dino that won the 1960 Monza Grand Prix and the winged and sponsored Formula 1 cars used in 1969. Colin Chapman's Lotus was frequently at the source of these revolutions. A major catalyst for the rapid development was the switch to a displacement limit of 1.5 litres for the 1961. With less power available, there was much more emphasis on the chassis and suspension design. Chapman took a major step forward in 1962 with the Lotus 25, which used a monocoque chassis instead of the conventional spaceframe used in the past. It was lighter and more rigid.

After just five years the regulations were changed once more with the displacement hiked to three litres. This left many of the independent teams like Lotus and Cooper without an engine. Both BRM and Coventry Climax figured they could cut a few corners by turning their 1.5 litre V8s into 3-litre sixteen cylinder engines. Only the BRM 'H16' became a reality and it found its way in the back of the Lotus 43 built for the 1966 season. The unusual engine was heavy, but rigid enough to take the bulk of the suspension loads, so it was bolted directly to the monocoque chassis. Jim Clark managed to score one victory, but at every other occasion the highly unreliable engine expired.

Not surprisingly Chapman was on the look out for a new engine for 1967, but he struggled to find one. He then contacted his old friends Mike Costin and Keith Duckworth, the founders of the Cosworth engine tuning company. They were most definitely interested, but they did not have the resources to produce an engine to Formula 1 specifications. Having just won the Indy 500 with Ford, Chapman used his influence to convince one of the company's executives to fund the operation; a lengthy relationship between Ford and Cosworth was born. Using a Ford four cylinder as a base, the Cosworth team first developed a 16-valve 1600 cc FVA engine for Formula 2. It would form the basis for the three litre V8 readied for the 1967 season.

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  Article Image gallery (91) Chassis (6) Specifications