For the early 1960s, Lotus fielded the 21, an evolution of their 18/20 Formula Junior car. Work was done to the gearbox and suspension to prepare it for F1 competition, and to handle the 1.5-liter Climax engine. Though Ferrari had a more powerful car, Innes Ireland was able to score a victory at the Watkins Glen Grand Prix. For the 1962, Colin Chapman fielded a new car that housed a V8 engine. Unlike the Lotus 21 of 1961, the Lotus 24 would be made available to privateers. The Lotus 24 would be the last customer Lotus Formula 1 car.
The Lotus 24 had a spaceframe chassis with a slightly longer wheelbase. The V8 engine was mated to a ZF gearbox that had been first used on the 21. A larger fuel tank was added to help feed the larger engine. Disc brakes, a fiberglass body, and an independent suspension setup completed the ensemble.
Jim Clark raced a Lotus 24 fitted with a Climax engine in five of the pre-season, non championship races and scored three pole positions and two victories.
In total, Lotus produced twelve Lotus 24 cars. Seven were fitted with Coventry Climax V8 engines and five with BRM powerplants. Later, Reg Parnell assembled an additional three cars from parts supplied by the factory.
The Lotus 24 performed well for two seasons. At the 1962 season opener at Zandvoort, Works driver Trevor Taylor finished second. It appeared that the Lotus 24 would be a worthy contender against the superior Lotus 24 and the BRM P57. The new Lotus 25 had an aluminum monocoque which was more rigid and lighter than the conventional spaceframe. Nevertheless, the Lotus 24 was able to secure several top finishes.
For the 1963 season, the competition had superseded the Lotus 24. The best result throughout the year by the Lotus 24 was in a BRM engine example that managed a fifth and sixth place finish.
The Lotus 24 continued to race during the 1964 season, with even one racing into 1965.By Daniel Vaughan | Jul 2012