Lotus Found And Built A Lost 1970s Can-Am Prototype

A head-on view of the Lotus Type 66
A head-on view of the Lotus Type 66

This is the car that could’ve taken down the McLaren M8D in 1970.

Lotus founder Colin Chapman aspired to compete against the dominant McLaren cars in Can-Am but never progressed further than the design stage. However, the Lotus Type 66 will finally see the track 53 years later as a limited-edition track-day special.

For a generation of motorsports fans, the Can-Am Challenge Cup was the greatest racing series on the planet. The championship operated on the premise that everything goes. Can-Am had next to no technical regulations and only required that cars be fitted with a windscreen, a roll bar, fenders and two seats.


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The Type 66 is based off an early 1970s plan but designed to modern safety and technical standards. Over a 1,000 hours of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) work went into maximizing the downforce produced by the Type 66. The 21st-century Can-Am racer also features an inboard fuel cell, a sequential gearbox, an anti-stall system and a modern driver compartment to ensure the car is safe to drive.

Photo: Lotus
Photo: Lotus

True to period, the Lotus Type 66 will come painted in the iconic Gold Leaf Cigarettes red, white and gold livery used by the Lotus 72. Simon Lane, Executive Director of Lotus Advanced Performance, said in a release:

“While the visual expression is strikingly similar to what could have been – including the period-correct white, red and gold graphics – the technology and mechanical underpinnings of the Lotus Type 66 represent the very best in today’s advanced racing performance.”

Photo: Lotus
Photo: Lotus

Lotus projects that the Type 66 will be on pace with modern GT3 racing machinery. However, it will be extremely difficult to get your hands on the Can-Am racer. The British sports car producer is only building a run of ten Type 66s that will be sold for £1 million ($1.27 million) each.

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