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Video: Lotus 38 to star at the Goodwood Festival of Speed

Submitted by on June 29, 2010

One of the most eagerly anticipated appearances at next weekend’s 18th Goodwood Festival of Speed, indeed anywhere in historic motorsporting circles, will surely be the first public exercising of the iconic Lotus 38. Formula 1 aficionados may be more familiar with Colin Chapman’s 25, 33, 49 and 72 models, all of which won world championship grands prix, but the 38 deserves its place in this exalted company.

For this is the car – the actual car – in which Jim Clark dominated the 1965 Indianapolis 500, America’s biggest motor race. And the superlatives don’t end there: this is the car that broke a front-engined monopoly that had lasted since the inaugural race in 1911. It was also the first car to win at over 150mph and the first non Offenhauser-powered machine to triumph since 1947.

For superstar Clark, victory in this most famous event finally justified the Herculean effort over three years to beat the Americans at their own game. The 1963 world champion even missed the prestigious Monaco GP that May to avenge his defeat by Parnelli Jones in the ’63 500 and car failure 12 months later. As well as leading all but 10 laps of the 500-mile classic, he would later that year capture a second world title for his beloved Lotus.

Following a static-display appearance at Goodwood in 2009, great efforts were made to get the 38 going again for the 2010 Festival. The green-and-yellow V8-powered icon hadn’t turned a wheel for 45 years, residing peacefully instead in the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan.

Now, however, following an exhaustive, nut-and-bolt restoration by Classic Team Lotus – run appropriately enough by Chapman’s son Clive – in Norfolk (where else?!), the car is ready to stun onlookers this weekend. One of Clark’s closest friends and rivals, Sir Jackie Stewart, will drive the car on the 1.1-mile hillclimb course in what is sure to be as evocative a moment ever witnessed at Goodwood.

Indianapolis 500, 31 May 1965

1st: Jim Clark (GB)-Lotus-Ford 38 – 200 laps in 3h19m5.34s (150.686mph)

2nd: Parnelli Jones (USA)-Lotus-Ford 34 – 200 laps

3rd: Mario Andretti (USA)-Hawk-Ford – 200 laps

4th: Al Miller (USA)-Lotus-Ford 29 – 200 laps

5th: Gordon Johncock (USA)-Watson-Offenhauser – 200 laps

6th: Mickey Rupp (USA)-Gerhardt-Offenhauser – 198 laps

Henry Hope-Frost

Images: IMS photo, classic team lotus

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