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In Tazio 4: looking at Colin Chapman, racing driver

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Colin Chapman the Lotus genius, the design guru, those we know well. In Issue 4, Richard Heseltine looks at a lesser well-known side of Chapman: how he performed as a racing driver.

Colin Chapman was a keen driver. His talent as a racing driver was perhaps not in the same league as his design qualities nonetheless, Colin Chapman was a force to be reckoned with on the track.

Photo Richard Heseltine Archives

Hawthorn and Clark

It was the late Tony Brooks himself who praised Chapman behind the wheel as someone who “would give a good run to any of the top drivers.” At the Whit Monday meeting at Goodwood in 1956, Chapman even managed to beat Mike Hawthorn. And even though he needed a bit of luck, Chapman snatched a win from his star-driver-to-be Jim Clark in 1958. Chapman, very briefly, even made it to Formula 1.

Photo Lotus

Celebrity race

Of course, Colin Chapman would go on to lead Lotus to seven titles in the constructors’ championship and six drivers’ titles. Leading Lotus and beating the competition proved to be an all-encompassing task, yet Chapman never really lost his knack for driving. He proved so during a memorable celebrity race for F1 team managers in 1971, where he was up against the likes of Jack Brabham and John Surtees.

See Also

Many memorable moments, to be enjoyed in issue 4 of Tazio Magazine. Now available.

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