Lotus 82

The mysterious Lotus 82 six wheeler

Unraced 1970 - 1979 Unraced 1980 - 1989

In 1976, Tyrrell arrived in the Formula One with the first six wheeler, the Tyrrell P34 (Project34). The car had four small tyres in front of the car and two normal sized tyres in the back. The car was successful in the two years Tyrrell used the car, it scored several podiums and even won a race. During the same period, 1976/1977 March designed their 2-4-0 six wheeler. Instead of four wheels in front it had four wheels at the rear.  This design never made it to the circuit however; the car was used in hill climb races in 1979 and was successful. This 2-4-0 concept was the base of the mysterious Lotus 82 six wheeler, which no one ever has seen.

While no one published a photo of the Lotus 82 Six Wheeler, better said no one saw the Lotus 82 Six Wheeler, it seemed that Colin Chapman already penned the car. Some people in the paddock even said that the car was already build by the team. Which raised the question when will the car appear on the track?  An article that appear on the 24th of January 1980 in the Motoring News suggested that the car was already build but Colin Chapman was not necessarily the first to moot the Lotus 82 Six Wheeler. Another article mentioned that the car would be tested soon.

Was there anything know of the car and it looks? Yes, there was but it is mostly guessing.  The Lotus 82 would have been a six-wheeler ground effect car, which used the 2-4-0 concept as March used for their six wheeler a few years earlier. It is not sure if the Lotus 82 was based on an existing Lotus F1 car. However, it was mentioned that the Lotus 79 was used as base. The tyres in the rear where 13 inch, theoretically the airflow around the rear wing and the side pods would have been optimized. Another, theoretical, improvement would have been the increase of the top speed on straight lines, and the cars traction would be improved.

However as said, it is not sure if the Lotus 82 really has been built in 1980, or that it was only a design idea from Chapman. We do know that a couple of teams designed a six wheeler Formula One car. Teams as March, Williams and Ferrari tested with the car. While other teams where rumoured to build a six wheeler, Lotus and BRM are the best examples. Could the Lotus 82 be successful? I really do not know, it could be if you look at the March 2-4-0 but it only got raced during hill climb races.