Lotus 100T

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Lotus 100T
Lotus 100T Honda Collection.jpg
Category Formula One
Constructor Team Lotus
Designer(s) Gérard Ducarouge
Martin Ogilvie
Predecessor Lotus 99T
Successor Lotus 101
Technical specifications[1]
Chassis Carbon fibre and Kevlar monocoque
Suspension (front) double wishbones, coil springs
Suspension (rear) double wishbones, coil springs
Axle track Front: 1,798 mm (71 in)
Rear: 1,651 mm (65 in)
Wheelbase 2,776 mm (109 in)
Engine Honda RA168-E, 1,494 cc (91.2 cu in), 80° V6, turbo (2.5 Bar limited), mid-engine, longitudinally mounted
Transmission Lotus-Hewland 6-Speed manual
Weight 540 kg (1,190.5 lb)
Fuel Elf
Tyres Goodyear
Competition history
Notable entrants Camel Team Lotus Honda
Notable drivers 1. Brazil Nelson Piquet
2. Japan Satoru Nakajima
Debut 1988 Brazilian Grand Prix
Races Wins Poles F.Laps
16 0 0 0
Constructors' Championships 0
Drivers' Championships 0

The Lotus 100T was a Formula One car designed by Gérard Ducarouge and Martin Ogilvie for Team Lotus, and used during the 1988 Formula One season. The 100T was an update of the previous Lotus 99T model; technically the car was virtually unchanged, except for redesigned nose and rear bodywork. The car was powered by the same, 640 bhp (477 kW; 649 PS), 1.5L turbocharged Honda V6 engine that powered the McLaren team to 15 wins in 16 races in 1988. The car was driven by reigning World Champion Nelson Piquet, and Japanese driver Satoru Nakajima.

Unlike its predecessor, the 100T wasn't fitted with electronic active suspension, still an advanced system despite having been introduced on the 99T at the insistence of 1987 lead driver Ayrton Senna who was looking for an advantage. Lotus felt that with the Honda having lost around 300 bhp (224 kW; 304 PS) from 1987's figures, the further loss of approximately 5% of engine power to run the active system was not worth it and reverted to a conventional suspension setup with dampers supplied by Bilstein. However, with the loss of Senna to McLaren, and despite signing Nelson Piquet as his replacement, Lotus were very much an also-ran team during much of 1988. Piquet picked up a number of points, including three third-placed finishes, during the season, but the car's lack of ultimate speed resulted in Lotus's first season without a win or pole position since 1981. Indeed when Nakajima failed to qualify the car at Monaco, it became the first (and only) F1 car powered by a Honda turbo engine which failed to qualify for a race. Nakajima actually failed to qualify twice in 1988, also not making the grid in Detroit.

Many felt that with Honda power, Piquet should have been able to match the McLarens, or at least be the "best of the rest", though more often than not he wasn't even that, and at times was even shown up by his team mate Satoru Nakajima who many believed would not even have been in F1 had it not been for Honda. Piquet's lackluster season in defense of his championship confirmed the general view that the Brazilian would race to win in nothing less than a top notch car (though he confirmed in a 2012 interview on Brazilian TV that he was never right after his crash at San Marino in 1987 and only drove from 1988 until his retirement after 1991 "for the money"). The 100T proved it was not a top notch car despite team boss Peter Warr stating in Monaco that "If McLaren can build a fast car then we must be able to as well" (Monaco proved a disaster for Lotus. Nakajima failed to qualify while Piquet's race lasted one lap before retiring with collision damage).

At the end of the 1988 season turbocharged engines were outlawed, rendering the 100T chassis obsolete. It was replaced by the conventionally aspirated Lotus 101 for the 1989 Formula One season.

Late in the 1988 season, former three-time World Champion Jackie Stewart test drove the 100T at the Snetterton Circuit in Norfolk, England, which was Lotus's test track at the time. Within a few short laps he identified the car's basic problems. He said that the car lacked rigidity despite its carbon fibre and kevlar monocoque, and that the chassis couldn't handle the abrupt power delivery of the turbocharged Honda engine which made the car difficult to drive, a common complaint of Piquet and Nakajima, as well as the team's test driver Martin Donnelly. He also noted how cramped the driving position was and that the steering wheel and instrument panel were so close together that it made the panel almost unreadable. Stewart managed to spin and stall the car on one lap at the "Bomb Hole" corner when his driving glove was caught in the small space between the steering wheel and the top of the cowling and had to turn off the engine in order to be able to take his glove off to untangle it. He also said that "It was not a car that Nelson Piquet would have wanted to drive too many more times" and rated the car as "Perhaps one of the more disappointing cars I drove".[2] When questioned about Stewart's findings during practice for the season ending Australian Grand Prix, Peter Warr refused to say what the Scot had reported, only stating that he had correctly identified problems on which the team was already trying to fix.

Nelson Piquet finished the season in sixth place with 22 points in defense of his title, picking up third places in Brazil, San Marino and Australia. Nakajima finished 16th in the Drivers' Championship with one point from his sixth place in Brazil. Lotus finished fourth in the Constructors' Championship with 23 points, a massive 176 behind McLaren.

Satoru Nakajima's Lotus 100T on display at the Honda Collection Hall in Japan.


Complete Formula One results[edit]

(key)

Year Entrant Engine Tyres Drivers 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 Pts. WCC
1988 Camel Team Lotus Honda RA168-E
V6 (tc)
G BRA SMR MON MEX CAN DET FRA GBR GER HUN BEL ITA POR ESP JPN AUS 23 4th
Brazil Nelson Piquet 3 3 Ret Ret 4 Ret 5 5 Ret 8 4 Ret Ret 8 Ret 3
Japan Satoru Nakajima 6 8 DNQ Ret 11 DNQ 7 10 9 7 Ret Ret Ret Ret 7 Ret


References[edit]

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