The Lotus 18 was a race car designed by Colin Chapman for use by Lotus in Formula Junior, Formula Two, and Formula One.

Lotus 18
Lotus 18 Stirling Moss Monaco 1961.jpg
Lotus 18 Formula One car
CategoryFormula One, Formula Two, Formula Junior
ConstructorTeam Lotus
Designer(s)Colin Chapman
Technical specifications
ChassisSteel spaceframe
Suspension (front)Double wishbone, with inboard coilover spring/damper units.
Suspension (rear)Lower wishbone, top link, and radius rod suspension, with outboard coilover spring/damper units.
EngineCoventry Climax FPF 2467 cc / 2497 cc / 1499.8 cc mid-mounted
TransmissionLotus (Ansdale-Mundy) 5-speed sequential manual
Competition history
Notable entrantsTeam Lotus
Rob Walker Racing Team
UDT-Laystall Racing Team
Equipe Nationale Belge
Notable driversUnited Kingdom Innes Ireland
United Kingdom Stirling Moss
United Kingdom Alan Stacey
United Kingdom John Surtees
United Kingdom Jim Clark
United Kingdom Trevor Taylor
Debut1960 Argentine Grand Prix
Constructors' Championships0
Drivers' Championships0
n.b. Unless otherwise stated, all data refer to
Formula One World Championship Grands Prix only.


Lotus 18 was the first mid-engined car built by Lotus and was a marked improvement over Chapman's early and only moderately successful front-engined formula cars, the 12 and 16. It was introduced for the 1960 F1, F2 and FJ seasons, with about 27 examples of the F1 and F2 versions and 110 of the FJ versions. As a stop-gap before the introduction of the 18's successor models, the Lotus 20 for F2/FJ and 21 for F1, some 18 chassis were rebodied with 21 skins to create the interim Lotus 18/21 hybrid derivative.

The 18 was replaced by the Lotus 21 in Formula One and the Lotus 20 in Formula Junior in 1961.


The car was a classic Chapman design, being extremely light and simple; the body was made up of lightweight panels bolted to heavily-triangulated tube frame[1] (spaceframe) chassis. Thus the car was rigid, strong and light, maintaining the 16's forward weight distribution despite the engine moving behind the driver.

Lotus 18 Formula Junior

It was powered initially by a 2,467 cc Coventry Climax FPF (3.70" x 3.50") four cylinder DOHC engine inherited from the Grand Prix version of Lotus 16.[2] In 1960, the FPF was enlarged slightly to 2497 cc (3.70" x 90 mm), which produced 239 hp (178 kW) at 6,750 rpm from a weight of only 290 lbs (132 kg)[2] and had a wide torque range.[2]

The 2.5 litre engine was replaced by a 1.5 Litre (82 mm x 71 mm) Climax FPF Mk.II with new Formula One engine rules in 1961. The Formula Junior variant used a 998 cc Cosworth Mk.III or a Downton BMC "A" Series with 948cc displacement. The Formula Junior version also used smaller gauge chassis tubing and Alfin drum brakes on all four corners.

Further contributing to the weight advantage was the adoption of lightweight sequential manual transmission originally developed for Lotus 12 by Richard Ansdale and Harry Mundy incorporating the unique sequential-shifting motorcycle gearbox, and a ZF limited-slip differential in a common Magnesium alloy housing to form a transaxle, which also provided the mounting points for inboard rear brakes. This gearbox had been improved in its reliability for Lotus 15 and 16 in 1957-58 by Keith Duckworth, who had just joined Lotus as a gearbox engineer.

Although Porsche in Austria pioneered the sequential-shifting gearbox for racing cars, with the Type 360 Cisitalia, the idea was relatively new and the original transaxle in the Lotus 12, which was essentially an enlarged motorcycle gearbox, combined with ZF limited-slip differential, had gained the nickname "Queerbox", or "Gearbox-full of neutrals" for its poor reliability. With Duckworth having left to form Cosworth in 1958, Mike Costin, who, despite being the co-founder of Cosworth, remained with Lotus for a while longer, adopted the improved Queerbox in the Lotus 16, into a configuration for directly mounting it behind the engine for Lotus 18 with dedicated oil scavenge and pressure feed pumps, further improving its reliability while retaining the small and light design.

Formula Junior version utilized the Renault 4-speed transaxle, and both of the Lotus transaxle and this Renault 'box had the gear shifter lever on the left side of the driver. An optional gearbox was the VW gearbox with Hewland 4 speed gears. This last gearbox has the added advantage of being able to change gear ratios from behind the gearbox without removing the gearbox from the car.

The front suspension was by double-wishbone arms with an outboard coil/damper unit. Unlike Chapman's former designs where the ends of the anti-roll bar acted as a leg of the upper wishbone, the 18 had a separate front anti-roll bar. The rear suspension was by upper and lower radius arms with a reversed lower wishbone, where the fixed-length half-shaft acted as the upper-link. The coil/damper unit was also mounted outboard in the rear, and the 18 sometimes ran with and without the rear anti-roll bar.

In order to capitalize on the weight advantage, Chapman designed a light, sleek machine only 28 inches (71 cm) high (excluding windscreen) and weighing just 980 lbs (440 kg).[3] To help facilitate this, the driver was placed in a semi-reclining position,[2] pioneered about a decade before by Gustav Baumm of NSU.[4]

Racing historyEdit

The Lotus 18 had remarkably good handling with a unique suspension system which drastically reduced weight transfer and body roll in cornering. Shortly, the Lotus 18 was proving to be faster than any car Grand Prix racing had ever seen,[5] eclipsing even the legendary Auto Unions and being widely copied. It was also built as a two-seat sports-racer called the Lotus 19 or Monte Carlo.[2]

The car took Lotus' first F1 victory, by Innes Ireland in the non-championship Glover Trophy, on 8 April 1960.[6] Its first World Championship win happened six weeks later, on 29 May, albeit by privateer Rob Walker, who leased the car from Chapman. Driven by Stirling Moss the car took a dominant win at the 1960 Monaco Grand Prix. It was an early taste of things to come. Moss also won the United States Grand Prix at the end of the season helping Lotus finish second in the constructors' championship.

Moss repeated his win in a legendary race at Monaco the following year, beating off the more powerful and faster 'sharknose' Ferraris. He then won at the fearsome Nürburgring in changeable weather, while Innes Ireland took a third win in the USA to help Lotus finish second in the constructors' championship in 1961. The Lotus 18 was also notable for giving Jim Clark his first Grand Prix start in 1960.

The Belgian Grand Prix at Spa in 1960 was notable for Moss's accident in the Rob Walker 18 in practice which kept him from the race and the death of Alan Stacey when he left the track in his 18 apparently following a bird strike in the face.

Complete Formula One resultsEdit

Championship resultsEdit

(key) (Results in bold indicate pole position; results in italics indicate fastest lap.)

Year Entrant Engine Tyres Drivers 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Points WCC
1960 Team Lotus Climax Straight-4 D ARG MON 500 NED BEL FRA GBR POR ITA USA 34 2nd
Innes Ireland 6 9 2 Ret 7 3 6 2
Jim Clark Ret 5 5 16 3 16
Ron Flockhart 6
John Surtees Ret 2 Ret Ret
Alan Stacey Ret Ret Ret
Rob Walker Racing Team Stirling Moss 1 4 DNS DSQ 1
Taylor-Crawley Racing Team Mike Taylor DNS
Jim Hall Jim Hall 7
1961 Team Lotus Climax Straight-4 D MON NED BEL FRA GBR GER ITA USA 32* 2nd
Innes Ireland Ret
Trevor Taylor 13
Rob Walker Racing Team Stirling Moss 1 4 8 Ret Ret 1 Ret
UDT-Laystall Racing Team Cliff Allison 8 DNS
Henry Taylor DNQ 10 Ret 11
Juan Manuel Bordeu DNS
Masten Gregory Ret Ret
Olivier Gendebien 11
Lucien Bianchi Ret Ret
Equipe Nationale Belge Ret
Willy Mairesse Ret
Scuderia Colonia Michael May Ret 11 DNS
Wolfgang Seidel DNS 17 Ret Ret
Camoradi International Ian Burgess DNS DNS 14 14
Tony Marsh Tony Marsh DNQ Ret 15
Tim Parnell Tim Parnell Ret 10
Gerry Ashmore Gerry Ashmore Ret 16 Ret
Louise Bryden-Brown Tony Maggs 13 11
J Frank Harrison Lloyd Ruby Ret
Jim Hall Jim Hall Ret
J Wheeler Autosport Peter Ryan 9
Prince Gaetano Starrabba Maserati Straight-4 Gaetano Starrabba Ret 0 -
1962 UDT-Laystall Racing Team Climax Straight-4 D NED MON BEL FRA GBR GER ITA USA RSA 36* 2nd
Masten Gregory Ret
Scuderia Repubblica di Venezia Nino Vaccarella DNQ
Emeryson Cars John Campbell-Jones 11
Equipe Nationale Belge Lucien Bianchi 9 16
Ecurie Excelsior Jay Chamberlain 15 DNQ DNQ
Gerry Ashmore Gerry Ashmore DNQ
Scuderia Jolly Club Ernesto Prinoth DNQ
John Dalton Tony Shelly Ret DNQ
BRM V8 DNQ 1* 8th
1963 Tim Parnell Climax Straight-4 D MON BEL NED FRA GBR GER ITA USA MEX RSA 54* 1st
Tim Parnell DNQ
André Pilette DNQ
André Pilette DNQ
Kurt Kuhnke Borgward Straight-4 Kurt Kuhnke DNQ 0 -
1965 Clive Puzey Motors Climax Straight-4 D RSA MON BEL FRA GBR NED GER ITA USA MEX 54* 1st
Clive Puzey DNPQ

* Includes points scored by other Lotus models

Non-Championship resultsEdit


Year Entrant Engine Tyres Drivers 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21
1960 Team Lotus Climax Straight-4 D GLV INT SIL LOM OUL
Innes Ireland 1 1 Ret 1 Ret
John Surtees Ret 6 Ret Ret
Alan Stacey 4
Jim Clark Ret 2 Ret
Taylor-Crawley Racing Team Mike Taylor Ret
RRC Walker Racing Team Stirling Moss 1
Vandervell Products Ltd. Vanwall L4 Tony Brooks DNS
Scuderia Centro Sud Maserati Straight-4 Ian Burgess Ret
Jim Clark 6 1 Ret 9 6 7
Innes Ireland 10 5 Ret 10 Ret 9 Ret
Trevor Taylor Ret 19 9 Ret
Rob Walker Racing Team Stirling Moss 4 7 1 8 1 1
UDT Laystall Racing Team Ret 1 1 2 2
Cliff Allison 2 8 5 15 8
Henry Taylor 4 6 Ret Ret 2 8 4 Ret 8
Carl Hammarlund Ret
Masten Gregory Ret NC 5 Ret Ret Ret
Jo Bonnier 11
Scuderia Colonia 2
Wolfgang Seidel Ret Ret 2 11 5 Ret DNQ Ret 8
Maurice Trintignant DNS
Michael May Ret Ret Ret
Tony Marsh Tony Marsh 7 3 3 6
Louise Bryden-Brown Dan Gurney 14 5
Camoradi International Ian Burgess Ret 6 DSQ 4
Lloyd Casner DNS DNS DNS
RHH Parnell
The Three Musketeers
Tim Parnell 7 6 Ret 8 7 5 5 DNQ 7 Ret 3
André Pilette Ret
Gerry Ashmore Ret 11 2
Gerry Ashmore DNA
Scuderia Dolomiti Ernesto Prinoth 3 DNS 10 Ret 2
Jack Holme Jack Holme Ret WD
Prince G. Starabba Maserati Straight-4 Giorgio Scarlatti Ret
Gaetano Starrabba Ret
Syd van der Vyver Alfa Romeo Straight-4 Syd van der Vyver 7 5 6
Equipe Judette Ford Straight-4 Bob van Niekerk 9 Ret 9
Bernard Podmore Bernard Podmore Ret WD Ret
Neville Lederle Neville Lederle Ret
Ecurie Wolman Borgward Straight-4 Helmut Menzler Ret Ret 10
Masten Gregory 4 Ret Ret 5 Ret 5
Innes Ireland 3 Ret 3 Ret
Stirling Moss 7 Ret
Rob Walker Racing Team Ret
Maurice Trintignant 1 Ret
Graham Hill 3
Scuderia Republica di Venezia Nino Vaccarella DNQ 6 Ret Ret
Colin Davis Ret
Carlo Abate Ret
RHH Parnell Tim Parnell Ret 9 Ret 7
John Dalton Ret
Gary Hocking Ret Ret
John Dalton Tony Shelly 5 3 6 7 Ret 6 8 Ret 5
Ecurie Excelsior Jay Chamberlain 5 Ret DSQ 16 DNQ Ret Ret 9
Olle Nygren Ret
Gerry Ashmore Gerry Ashmore Ret 9 8
Graham Eden Ret Ret
Speed Sport David Piper 11 17 8 7
A. Robinson & Sons Philip Robinson Ret
Walter Hansgen Walt Hansgen Ret
Jim Hall Homer Rader 8
Jack Holme Jack Holme DNQ Ret
Autosport Team Wolfgang Seidel Günther Seiffert Ret WD 12 DNQ Ret NC 9 10
Kurt Kuhnke DNQ Ret
Kurt Kuhnke Borgward Straight-4 DNA DNA DNA
Ecurie Wolman Helmut Menzler 10
Vern McWilliams Vern McWilliams DNQ DNQ
Prince G. Starabba Maserati Straight-4 Gaetano Starrabba Ret
Syd van der Vyver Alfa Romeo Straight-4 Syd van der Vyver 7
Bill Scheepers Bill Scheepers DNQ
Equipe Judette Ford Straight-4 Bob van Niekerk 11
Bernard Podmore Bernard Podmore 13
Neville Lederle Neville Lederle 14
Ted Lanfear Peter van Niekerk DNQ DNQ
1963 A. Robinson & Sons Climax Straight-4 D LOM GLV PAU IMO SYR AIN INT ROM SOL KAN MED AUT OUL RAN
Brian Robinson Ret
Philip Robinson 8 Ret
RHH Parnell NC
Tim Parnell 7 DSQ Ret 9
Ron Carter Ret WD
André Pilette Ret 12 10 9 12
André Pilette DNS DNS
Ernesto Prinoth Ernesto Prinoth 8
Scuderia Jolly Club Ret
Jock Russell Jock Russell Ret
Jack Holme Jack Holme Ret
Prince G. Starabba Maserati Straight-4 Gaetano Starrabba Ret 6 5 DNQ
Kurt Kuhnke Borgward Straight-4 Kurt Kuhnke DNQ Ret Ret
Ernst Maring DNQ Ret Ret
1964 Jock Russell Climax Straight-4 D DMT NWT SYR AIN INT SOL MED RAN
Jock Russell Ret
Clive Puzey Motors Clive Puzey 8
Kurt Kuhnke Borgward Straight-4 Ernst Maring Ret
Joachim Diel Ret
1965 Scuderia Nord-Ouest Climax Straight-4 D ROC SYR SMT INT MED RAN
Colin Davis DNQ
Clive Puzey Motors Clive Puzey 9
1966 Clive Puzey Motors Climax Straight-4 D RSA SYR INT OUL
Clive Puzey 7


  • Lotus Formula Juniors 1960-1963 - Robinshaw & Bouckley
  1. ^ Setright, L.J.K., "Lotus: The Golden Mean", in Northey, Tom, ed. World of Automobiles (London: Orbis, 1974), Volume 11, p.1228.
  2. ^ a b c d e Setright, p.1228
  3. ^ This was virtually the same as the 16 with, oddly enough, more weight actually on the front wheels. Setright, p.1228.
  4. ^ Setright, p.1230.
  5. ^ Setright, p.1229.
  6. ^[permanent dead link]