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Thread: Isuzu F1 early '90s - Lotus/Isuzu?

  1. #1
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    Isuzu F1 early '90s - Lotus/Isuzu?

    Yes I have already posted this pic on here/elsewhere and it's mostly gone unnoticed (I think). Due to my interest in the sport I again ask the question "Does anyone have any info on this thing"?



    Only info I've ever found:

    "One notable no-show was the Japanese Isuzu V12 that Lotus tested in 1991. Little is known of this engine apart from that it was secretly tested in 1991. The only public viewing was when the engine was shown at the Tokyo Motor Show in 1991"

    Now, in 1991, Lotus from memory were running around the back end of the field using basically a 3 year old chassis with a Judd 3.5lt V8 engine scoring a couple of points only. Main drivers were Brit Jonny Herbert and a very young future World Champion Mika Hakkinen.



    However in 1992, Lotus indeed designed and manufactured a brand new chassis which combined with the customer version Ford HB V8 engine (Benetton were the factory supplied team) rewarded them with multiple points finishes throughout the season. Again from memory, in 1992 Lotus joined Williams to be the first F1 Teams to pioneer Active Suspension. In coming years Williams Renault would dominate with Mansell and then Prost due to this suspension system.

    What could have been!



    1991 Turbo Lotus Esprit on the Amiga 500 - 1 of the best car games for its vintage, the 1991 Lotus/Isuzu Elan was included!

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    Chassis #:

    1990 Lotus 102 Lamborghini
    1991 Lotus 102B Judd
    1991 Lotus 102C Isuzu (experimental)
    1991 Lotus 103 ???? (never built - Isuzu????)
    1992 Lotus 107 Ford

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    The only thing i could find relating to the Isuzu V12 was this post on another site http://www.gtr.co.uk/forum/91160-why-di ... en-f1.html

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    Peter Collins head of Lotus F1 commenting early 1992:

    'A big part of any budget is to have an engine supplier behind you. The major spenders in motor racing are the tobacco companies and the motor manufacturers. I don't think you can say that they will necessarily continue to be involved in the 1990s.'

    Lotus has not had manufacturer support since its split with Honda at the end of 1987, but last year a 102C chassis appeared testing a mysterious Isuzu V12 engine.

    'It was a very serious attempt to run an engine and look at its capability with a view to the future,' explains Collins, 'but not necessarily in 1992. The timing between the first meetings and when we ran the engine was very short. Although the engine did show potential, it would certainly not have been the right thing to do in 1992. As to the future, it depends what the company wants to do with its engine.'

    At the same time the new technology-led Lotus is looking to breakthroughs in other areas. Trying to get ahead in the technology race.

    'We've done three or four tests with the active suspension system,' says Collins. 'It's working well. There are advantages, but we would like to see a bigger performance gain before we commit to using it. The technology is there but it is important not to do too much in one step. The 107 will be able to run both active and passive.

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    becoming a post whore!

    Passing comment:

    The Lotus-Isuzu one's been mentioned a few times - it got a bit of coverage in the comics at the time, but nobody seems to be willing to say much about how serious it was. Given that there was an Isuzu engine going into the new Elan, and the relationships between Lotus and Isuzu and GM... was this a back-door way of trying to get a GM tie-up for a serious go at F1, or was it a case of "there's an engine Isuzu have got sitting on the shelf and they're part of the family...."...?

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    Quote Originally Posted by kawa
    The only thing i could find relating to the Isuzu V12 was this post on another site http://www.gtr.co.uk/forum/91160-why-di ... en-f1.html
    Read that, interesting comment.......

    Did I read this properly - Isuzu V12 in a McLaren F1 road car? It was considered even for a brief moment. Far out!

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    Jalopnik:
    http://jalopnik.com/cars/jalopnik-fanta ... 327268.php
    Murray shopped around for an engine, initially trying with Honda and then Isuzu. Honda was a real possibility, as their engines had been powering McLaren's Formula 1 cars for some time. Honda eventually backed away and McLaren decided that as nifty as Isuzu's 3.5-liter V12 would be, they needed to go with a manufacturer that had racing cred.
    Rumorpedia:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McLaren_F1
    When Honda refused, Isuzu, then planning an entry into Formula 1, had a 3.5 V12 engine being tested in a Lotus chassis. The company was very interested in having the engine fitted into the F1. However, the designers wanted an engine with a proven design and a racing pedigree.
    Youtube:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NTyaoMnG8kY
    Description in English paraphrases the above two statements, language is Japanese, may or may not state the same.



    The engine was used in the Lotus open wheel race car, considered by McLaren, and eventually found its way, or was intended for use in the Como concept car.

    The Como was a mid engine sister car to the Buick Wildcat concept car. The Buick had a GM V8, and the running version of the Como may also have had a Chevy V8. The Como appeared at the 29th Tokyo Auto Show.

    The Isuzu V12 specs are 3.5 liter displacement and 740ps/13500rpm, 42kgm/11000rpm.

    The engine is currently believed to be in the "basement" of one of the Japanese car club presidents. One problem with this theory is that Japanese homes do bot have basements. But the suspected owner has more than a few other goodies that indicate that if he does not have the engine, he probably knows where it is.

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    Very interesting info "JT191" - what could have been I guess............

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    I have uncovered a few more details about this.

    In 1989, F1 changed its rules to prohibit turbochargers, and the naturally aspirated V12 became the standard. The engine was built as a replacement for the V8 engine in the Lotus 102B.
    In addition to the previous cited power and torque, the banks were 75 degree angle, and the weight was 150 kg.

    The engine in the chassis was named "Lotus 102C" to distinguish it from the other cars sharing this chassis but with different engines.

    The car was tested at Silverstone for a 250km session, driven by Lotus test driver Johnny Herbert, but there is no official record of the lap times. There are only eyewitness accounts that the Isuzu powered Lotus 102C was running nearly identical lap times as the McLaren MP4/6 Honda car that it was sharing the track with during this practice session.

    Ownership of the engine is still held by Isuzu Motors, but as of September, 2008, it was being lent to Tamiya Inc. Tamiya has recently acquired a Lotus 102B race car, and they have placed the Isuzu V12 engine next to the Lotus 102B race car, on display in their headquarters building in Shizuoka.

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    That's gonna make one monster R/C car! :lol:

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