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Gallery: Up close and personal with the Camel Lotus 101

Submitted by on August 28, 2014

Camel Lotus 101The 1989 Camel Lotus 101 is machine of incredibly beauty, however it’s perfect lines and striking colors mask a painful history reflecting on the brutality and political speed of the Formula 1 game.

Images: Jayson Fong - Form & Function

LMC_8477Wearing one of the most iconic liveries to have graced the Formula 1 scene, the Camel Lotus 101 is nothing short of eye catching in any paddock.  However, the beauty of the Camel 101 will forever be hindered by its somewhat lackluster performance in the 1989 championship. A year which Lotus would enter facing a handful of critical issues.LMC_6154Facing a new naturally aspirated formula for 1989, Team Lotus was left stranded without a heart to their cars after Honda entered exclusive deals with McLaren at the end of 1988. After exploring various power plant options, Lotus was forced to turn to Judd to supply them with a customer V8.LMC_5461However, the customer Judd powerplant supplied for the 101 (Judd supplied new engines for their primary customer, March) produced 610hp, approximately 80bhp less than the V10 Honda McLaren.  The 101 was immediately less competitive.LMC_4635Additionally, changes were being felt within the team after Gerard Ducarouge was replaced by Frank Dernie as chief designer. Recruited from Williams, Dernie was tasked with designing a new car to meet new F1 regulations. With less power compared to their turbo counterparts, Dernie’s designs for the 101 would be focused on reducing drag and maximizing down force.LMC_0058The result was a tightly packed design that was considerably longer, lower and narrower than the turbo monsters. The design was so compact that MOMO was asked to produce a special steering wheel to allow the drivers knuckles to clear the cockpits sides.FFF_8347Other features included a high intake behind the driver feeding cold air into the Judd V8 and a more open cockpit exposing the driver’s shoulders.FFF_0309a

The Lotus 101 was piloted by Nelson Piquet and Satori Nakajima scoring 15 points during the season with four 4th place finishes between them. Piquet finished 8thin the driver’s championship.FFF_0361Although wearing one of the most memorable suits in F1, the Camel Lotus 101 will forever reflect the brutality and political speed of the Formula 1 game. One season is all it takes to go from being a championship contending team to grid filler.

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