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  Lotus Elan IWR Fastback
 

  Article Image gallery (14) Chassis (1) Specifications  
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Country of origin:Great Britain
Produced in:1965
Numbers built:one-off
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:December 21, 2012
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Click here to download printer friendly versionLaunched in 1962, the Lotus Elan was a formidable road car, so it was not surprising that teams were eager to race them. This did require some work and with Lotus themselves occupied with single seater racing, it was down to the teams themselves to turn the Elan into a racer. Among them was Ian Walker Racing (IWR), who during the 1963 season developed and successfully raced what would basically become the Elan 26R offered by the factory the following year. In return, Walker did receive help in the form of Lotus drivers like Mike Spence and Jim Clark to pilot his gold-painted Elans.

Encouraged by the great results of his 'Gold Bugs', Walker devised an even more ambitious plan for the 1964 season; winning the coveted Index of Thermal Efficiency in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. In order to get the best result, he decided to design an all-new slippery body himself that would allow his Elan to reach very high speeds down the long straights of the La Sarthe circuit. Considering that Walker had never penned a car before of that matter had even been to Le Mans, this was a rather bold undertaking. Taking nine months to complete, the result was nevertheless very impressive.

Expert coach-builders Williams & Pritchard were called in to create the body following Walker's design. Unlike the glass-fibre reinforced plastic panels found on the standard Elan, the new 'Fastback' was crafted entirely out of aluminium. This formed a major contribution to the 80 kg weight loss compared to the 'standard' 26R. While the original shape of the doors and the windshield was retained, Walker's design was slightly lower and longer. The nose was sharper and the finned tail was cut off following the principles of aerodynamicist Wunibald Kamm. Cleverly placed ducts provided cooling for all vital components as well as the driver.

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  Article Image gallery (14) Chassis (1) Specifications