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Lotus 33

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Title: Lotus 33  
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Subject: Jim Clark, Lotus 43, Mike Spence, Lotus 25, Brabham BT19
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Lotus 33

The Lotus 33 was a Formula One car designed by Colin Chapman and built by Team Lotus. A development of the successful Lotus 25, in the hands of Jim Clark it won 5 World Championship Grands Prix in 1965, assisting Clark to his second World Championship.


  • Concept 1
  • Racing history 2
    • World Championship results 2.1
  • PC Simulation 3
  • Bibliography 4


The Lotus 33's development was based on the earlier Lotus 25 model, taking the monocoque chassis design to new development heights. The 33 was again powered by the 1500 cc Climax engine. The 33 was almost identical to the 25, but had suspension designed around newer, wider tyres. The car was more rigid and was simpler to build than its predecessor.

Five Lotus 33s were constructed, with chassis numbers following on from the 25. Another chassis, serial number 'R12', was modified to take the stillborn Climax flat-16 engine; this car was designated the Lotus 39. Serial number 'R13' was not used by Team Lotus but was later adopted by Reg Parnell Racing for their rebuilt Lotus 25.

Racing history

Introduced for the 1964 season, the 33 made its first appearance at the non-Championship Aintree 200. Clark qualified fourth, and set fastest lap before retiring. The 33's first World Championship event was the German Grand Prix. However, both Clark and his team mate Mike Spence struggled with the car and it was not until the following year that it came good. Clark won the first event of 1965, the South African Grand Prix and went on to take four more wins on the way to his second world championship. Clark missed the Monaco Grand Prix (a race which he would never win) to race in the Indianapolis 500, which he won.

In 1965 a four-valve version of the Climax engine was used which had an increase in power (about 210 bhp (157 kW) - 220 bhp (164 kW) compared to the older Climaxes which gave about 200 bhp). However the extra power sacrificed reliability, and Clark retired from the final 3 races of 1965, fortunately after he'd wrapped up the title. The 33 was pressed into service with bored out 2 litre Climax V8 and BRM V8 engines for the early races of 1966, until the 3 litre Lotus 43 was ready. In 1967, with the new Lotus 49 still suffering teething trouble, the 33s were deemed more suitable for the tight turns of Monte Carlo. Clark set fastest lap but retired his Climax-engined 33 while Hill drove the BRM-engined car to second place.

The 33 was also campaigned in 1965 by DW Racing Enterprises for Paul Hawkins, and in 1965 and 1966 by Reg Parnell Racing, however their car was actually a crashed 25 rebuilt as a 33, with a BRM engine. The 33's final World Championship race was the 1967 Canadian Grand Prix, where privateer Mike Fisher finished in 11th place. Fisher also qualified the car for that year's Mexican Grand Prix, but engine problems prevented him from starting the race.

The 33 also met with success outside of the World Championship with Jim Clark and Mike Spence each winning two non-Championship events, and Clark winning the 1967 Tasman Series.

World Championship results

() (results in bold indicate pole position; results in italics indicate fastest lap)
Year Entrant Engine Driver 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Points1 WCC
1964 Team Lotus Climax V8 MON NED BEL FRA GBR GER AUT ITA USA MEX 37 (40)2 3rd
Jim Clark Ret Ret 7 5
Mike Spence 8 Ret 6 7
Walt Hansgen 5
Moises Solana 10
1965 Team Lotus Climax V8 RSA MON BEL FRA GBR NED GER ITA USA MEX 54 (58)2 1st
Jim Clark 1 1 1 1 1 Ret Ret Ret
Mike Spence 4 7 7 4 Ret Ret Ret 3
DW Racing Enterprises Paul Hawkins 10 DNA DNA Ret
Reg Parnell Racing BRM V8 Innes Ireland 9 Ret Ret 2 8th
Bob Bondurant Ret
1966 Team Lotus Climax V8 MON BEL FRA GBR NED GER ITA USA MEX 8 6th
Jim Clark Ret Ret DNS 4 3 Ret
Pedro Rodríguez Ret Ret
Geki 9
Peter Arundell 6
BRM V8 Ret Ret 12 8 7 133 5th
Pedro Rodríguez Ret
Reg Parnell Racing Mike Spence Ret Ret 5 Ret 5
Jim Clark Ret
BRM V8 Graham Hill 2 6 8th
Mike Fisher Mike Fisher 11 DNS
1 Points were awarded on a 9-6-4-3-2-1 basis to the first six finishers at each round, but only the best placed car for each make was eligible to score points. In 1964 and 1965 only the best six results from the season were retained, and only the best five results for 1966. In 1967 the best five results from the first six rounds and the best four results from the last five rounds were retained.
2 Total points scored by all Lotus-Climax cars, including Lotus 25 variants.
3 Total points scored by all Lotus-BRM cars, including Lotus 43 variants.

PC Simulation

A driveable, detailed virtual recreation of the Lotus 33 is available in the '1965 F1 Mod' add-on for the Grand Prix Legends PC-based F1 racing simulation.


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