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1978 Lotus Type 78 Formula 1 Windtunnel Model Exclusive SOLD

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Serial Number: none assigned
Logbooks: none required
Condition: never raced
Price: $15,000 USD
Location: Belgium
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Description

This is the Team Lotus windtunnel model used to develop the theory of race car "ground effects" or undercar airflow management as pioneeered on the Type 78. This has become the basis for virtually all formula car aerodynamics since. This development constitues one of the two major aerodynamic innovations developed by Team Lotus, the other being the "twin chassis" Type 86/88, a design direction equally compelling, but prematurely banned by race organizers.

History

The Lotus 78 introduced an entirely new concept to racing. An outwardly conventionaly design with front rockers and outboard coil springs in the rear, the car pioneered modern undercar airflow management or "ground effects". Invented by Team's brilliant engineer Peter Wright, the underside of the sidepods were shaped like an inverted airfoil, creating a hugh area of negative pressure and hence downforce. The very shot span, long chord airfoils were fitted with endplates of lightweight aluminum honeycomb which also served to disguise the whole affair, appearing as simple sidepods. Closer inspection revealed bristle skirts extending from the base of the end plates all the way to the road surface. The package was completed with conventional front and rear wings which functioned effectively as trim tabs.

Team drivers were Andretti and Nilsson and despite early developmental problems Andretti managed a third in the Drivers Championship and Lotus a second in the Constructors. The follow on car which further refined this aerodynamic treatment, the Type 79, saw Andretti take his World Championship and Lotus the Constructors, with teamate Ronnie Peterson a sad posthumous second. The overwhelming success of the Type 79 validated the design direction take by the Type 78 and laid the path for all modern racecar's aerodynamics.


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