Bookshelf: Lotus 72 1970–75 by Pete Lyons

Published this month, Lotus 72 1970–75, the first in Evro’s new Formula 1 Greats series, covers one of the most revered Formula 1 cars ever made. 

Introduced in 1970, the wedge-shaped Lotus 72 competed for six seasons, winning 20 World Championship Grands Prix, two Drivers’ titles (for Jochen Rindt in 1970 and Emerson Fittipaldi in 1972) and three Constructors’ titles (in 1970, 1972 and 1973), racing first in Lotus’s evocative red, white and gold livery, then the equally eye-catching black and gold of the John Player Special period.  Pete Lyons, Autosport’s renowned Formula 1 reporter for part of the Lotus 72 era, explores the car’s entire race-by-race career in his insightful commentary accompanying a magnificent array of over 325 photos.

1970: after troubled early development, the 72 finally took over from the long-serving 49, its four consecutive race wins enough to secure the World Championship for Jochen Rindt, posthumously after his death during practice for the Italian Grand Prix.

1971: with promising youngster Emerson Fittipaldi elevated to team leader after Rindt’s death, great things were expected of the 72’s second season but it proved to be winless.

1972: now in black and gold John Player livery, the 72 became far more competitive and Fittipaldi’s four Grand Prix victories made him World Champion.

1973: Ronnie ‘SuperSwede’ Peterson joined Fittipaldi to form a dream team and together they won seven races, but because Lotus’s spoils were divided between the two drivers Jackie Stewart was able to come through to become World Champion.

1974: still the 72 soldiered on, now as the fall-back car after its successor, the 76, failed to deliver; partnered by Jacky Ickx, Peterson won three Grands Prix.

1975: well beyond its sell-by date, the 72 did a final season but by now it was far from effective, with Ickx’s second place in the tragic Spanish Grand Prix its best result.
Pete Lyons, son of Autosport magazine’s US photographer/correspondent Ozzie Lyons, followed his father’s lead into a lifelong career in motorsports journalism. He was at the United States Grand Prix in 1970 when Emerson Fittipaldi achieved his début victory with the Lotus 72, and was still covering Formula 1 for Autosport during that epochal model’s sixth and final season, 1975. California-based Lyons once declared the 72 ‘my favourite Lotus’. In this new book he tells us why.

UK price: £50.00 • ISBN: 978-1-910505-33-5
Format: 280x235mm • Hardback • 304 pages
Illustration: over 325 photos, mainly colour

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