top of page
  • historicendurance

The cars that made history - Lotus 91

  • The chassis driven by Elio de Angelis and Nigel Mansell.

  • Iconic JPS deco.

  • Last Lotus to compete under the leadership of Colin Chapman.

At this year's Estoril Classics, one of the headliners will be the Lotus 91, a car that allowed Lotus to return to competitiveness, with Nigel Mansell conquering a podium and Elio de Angelis a win.

One of the world's premier classic racing events in the world is a chance for fans to see the machines that have made international motor racing history and this year fans will once again have the chance to see some of the cars that have left their mark on the pages of motor sport.

Steve Brooks is bringing to the Autódromo do Estoril a Lotus 91 adorned in the iconic colours of the John Player Special, a car that competed in the 1982 Formula One World Championship for Elio de Angelis and Nigel Mansell, with Roberto Moreno and Geoff Lees replacing him in the Dutch and French Grand Prix respectively.

The Italian took victory in the Austrian Grand Prix, while the 1992 Formula One World Champion took third place, his second podium in Formula One, in the debut of the British single-seater, which took place in Jacarépagua, Brazil.

After years of lack of competitiveness, its last title dating from 1978, Lotus was looking for a way back to good results and Colin Chapman, instead of looking for a radical idea, as was his style, concentrated in looking around to find the best solutions for his single-seater.

He followed the path of McLaren and designed a chassis made of carbon fibre and kevlar, taking inspiration from Brabham to fit his car with carbon brakes. With his death at the end of the year due to a heart attack, the 1982 single-seater would be his last creation that Chapman would see competing.

Equipped with the traditional normally aspirated V8 Cosworth DFV as turbo engines began to gain hegemony, the Lotus 91 gave the team a competitive boost, yet was not an effective answer to the Williams and McLaren, which were powered by the same engine.

The chassis that Steve Brooks brings to Estoril Classics, featured in the event's official poster, was driven by Nigel Mansell and Elio de Angelis, drivers who have some connections to Autódromo do Estoril.

The English driver won the 1986 edition of the Portuguese Grand Prix driving a Williams FW11 Honda. But Mansell made his mark on the Portuguese race for other reasons, not always positive.

In 1989, 'Il Leone', working for Ferrari, missed the team's pit when he was going to change tyres and, in order to lose as little time as possible, he changed into reverse gear in the pit lane, which was forbidden. It was decided to show him the black flag, meaning disqualification, but Mansell continued the race, later claiming that because the sun was too low he could not see the race director's indication.

The result was a collision with Ayrton Senna who tried to overtake him at Turn 1 and they both abandoned on the gravel. It was a remarkable episode that contributed to world motor racing folklore and to elevating the Autódromo do Estoril to a landmark in Formula One history.

Elio de Angelis took part in only two Portuguese Grand Prix races, having lost his life in a test at Paul Ricard in mid 1986. The Italian driver drove a Lotus in both races in Portugal, seeing the chequered flag in fifth place in 1984 and fourth in 1985, won by his team mate Ayrton Senna.

Estoril Classics is the opportunity for all fans to see up close a car that is important to Lotus' history, as well as boasting lines that give it a consensual beauty, and that allowed two Portuguese Grand Prix characters to achieve outstanding results.

As usual, tickets can be purchased through the official Estoril Classics website, and also physically at FNAC, Worten, El Corte Inglês and CTT Correios, being that, as it is public knowledge, the number of tickets is limited to the physical space of the paddock of the Autódromo do Estoril.

39 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page