• THE 2008 EXHIBITION •
AND HE WON!
Not many have driven a race car better than Mario Andretti. He could make a bad car competitive and a competitive car victorious. He won the Indianapolis 500, the Daytona Formula One World Championship and the Pikes Peak Hillclimb. He won the Champ Car National Championship four times and was a three-time winner at Sebring. He won races in sports cars, sprint cars – on ovals, road courses, drag strips, on dirt and on pavement. He won at virtually every level of racing since he arrived in America from his native Italy at age 15. He is a racing icon, considered by many to be the greatest race car driver in the history of the sport.
Assessing his legacy is easy…. He drove the careers of three men. He drove with a passion and joy that few have equaled – and he won. Mario Andretti took the checkered flag 111 times during his career – a career that stretched five decades. And he was competitive all of those years. He was named Driver of the Year in three different decades (the 60s, 70s, 80s), Driver of the Quarter Century (in the 90s) and the Associated Press named him Driver of the Century in January, 2000.
The admiration for Andretti has been for his achievements on and off the race track. On October 23, 2006, at the Columbus Citizens Foundation in New York, Andretti was awarded the highest civilian honor given by the Italian government, the Commendatore dell'Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana, in honor of his racing career, public service, and enduring commitment to his Italian heritage
Enzo Ferrari is the only other recipient of the Commendatore from the world of automobile racing.
LOTUS TYPE 79: THE GROUND EFFECTS CAR
The Lotus Type 79 was a concentrated effort to making the lower surfaces of the body increase the downforce. The Type 79 monocoque consisted of sheet aluminum rather than honeycomb, which was only used for the floor. It was a slimmer chassis than the Type 78, without the sideways extensions that housed the Type 78’s fuel tanks. Apart from containing the oil and water radiators, the Type 79’s side pods performed the fundamental aerodynamic function and were attached to the sides of the monocoque.
In 1977 Chapman unveiled the Lotus Type 78 Formula One race car and once again the rule books would have to be rewritten, as would automotive history. The Lotus Type 78 used bodywork on the underside that effectively created a venturi. As the air rushed under the car, the air was forced to accelerate and the pressure was lowered dramatically. The result was downforce that was never before imaginable, (in excess of 2000 pounds of downforce was created in addition to Lotus Type 78's 1250 pound weight). The Lotus Type 78 was said to corner as if truly on rails, and won six Grand Prixs in 1977. The impact upon racing created by ground effect cars were so astounding that by the end of 1981 the ground effects Formula One cars were banned. They were replaced with flat bottomed cars in 1982.
It has been said that Colin Chapman accomplished more to influence the modern race car than any other human.
The Lotus Type 79 Was Revolutionary in many Other Areas
- the inverted wing design supported by the skirts placed on the bottom side of the pods generated a huge downforce.
- the sleek chassis design, with a forward driving position and the entire fuel tank situated behind the driver’s shoulders.
- clean, efficient suspension linkages and arms.
- the clean aerodynamics of the whole car body.
Lotus Racing - Drivers1976 Bob Evans, Gunnar Nilsson, Mario Andretti,
1977 Gunnar Nilsson, Mario Andretti
1978 Hector Rebaque, Jean-Pierre Jarier, Mario Andretti,
1979 Carlos Reutemann, Hector Rebaque, Mario Andretti
1980 Elio de Angelis, Nigel Mansell, Mario Andretti
Team Lotus - World Drivers Champions1963 Jim Clark (GB)
1965 Jim Clark (GB)
1968 Graham Hill (GB)
1970 Jochen Rindt (Austria)
1972 Emerson Fittipaldi (Brazil)
1978 Mario Andretti (USA)