Lotus 72D

Lotus 72D

by Luca Dal Monte

It is the second evolution of the Lotus 72 designed by Colin Chapman and Maurice Philippe, which debuted in the 1970 season and led Jochen Rindt to the world title with the C version. With the D model, Emerson Fittipaldi won the 1972 World Championship title, and Lotus secured its fourth Constructors’ World Championship.

The car maintains the trapezoidal shape of the base model, starting with a small but wide nose and widening towards the rear. The D model adopts new rear suspensions and a redesigned, less inclined rear wing. Also redesigned is the air scoop above the driver’s head, with a more square and aerodynamic shape. The engine is the proven 8-cylinder Ford-Cosworth.

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Emerson Fittipaldi: At just twenty-six years old and with two races to spare, Emerson Fittipaldi becomes the youngest Formula 1 World Champion. His record will stand until 2005 with Fernando Alonso’s first title. The year 1972 is an incredible season for the young Brazilian ace, with five victories in the Spanish, Belgian, British, Austrian, and Italian Grand Prix. Emmo, who claimed his first Formula 1 win in the fourth race he competed in, becomes world champion at the end of his second full season.

David Walker: The thirty-one-year-old Australian, in his only full season in Formula 1, collects mediocre results in the first part of the year and suffers four retirements in the last four races. In his own way, he also sets a record: in Formula 1 history, he is the only teammate of a world champion who fails to score a single point in the championship season.

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The Lotus 72D, which debuted in the 1972 Formula 1 World Championship at the Monaco Grand Prix, the third race of the season, is not only remembered for its extraordinary record but also for its beautiful and equally unusual black livery with gold striping, courtesy of the new tobacco sponsor, JPS, which from this year onward becomes the historic sponsor of the British team.

In the hands of the only competitive driver Lotus fielded in 1972, Emerson Fittipaldi, the 72 model dominated the season with four victories and two podiums. But the 72D remained victorious even in 1973, when Chapman allowed it to compete before replacing it with the E model, winning another two Grand Prix races and securing another podium, all of them with Fittipaldi.

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