The car, owned by enthusiast Steve Griffiths, was the first normally-aspirated Lotus for five years. The Judd V8-powered car, designed by ex-Williams aerodynamicist Frank Dernie, was driven by Nelson Piquet and Satoru Nakajima. With turbo engines banned, the 101 reintroduced high-revving screamers to the sport.
The tightly-packaged 101 was originally shaken down at Snetterton by then test driver Martin Donnelly. Steve’s 101 was first raced in April of that year by Piquet, before being campaigned by Satoru Nakajima for the rest of the season. The Japanese driver scored a best result of fourth in the Australian GP.
The following year the car was tested by Johnny Herbert before being sold by Team Lotus. After spending the next 20 years in storage it was purchased by Steve Griffiths, who restored the car to original condition in time for the 2010 Lotus Festival, including a rebuild of the Judd V8.
The Type 102 is an exciting combination of two great marques, Lotus and Lamborghini and interestingly it is the only Lotus ever to run a V12 engine. Designed under the technical direction of Frank Dernie the 102 represents about 150,000 hours of R&D, wind tunnel, continuous engineering and design time from concept to racing car.
All composite manufacture was undertaken in-house at Ketteringham Hall. (The Team even made a super light carbon fibre helmet for Warwick and knuckle protectors for Donnelly.) The engine is a 3.5 litre 80 degree 48 valve V12 which gave the team a competitive 650 plus horsepower, from a strong and practical unit. The gearbox is a 6 speed (+ reverse) transverse unit designed by Team Lotus and incorporating Lamborghini internals.
The B193 was designed by Ross Brawn and Rory Byrne and raced by Benetton team in the 1993 Formula One season. It was powered by the latest Cosworth HBA engine in an exclusive deal with Ford and it ran on Goodyear tyres.
The car is distinguishable from its predecessor due to its track being narrower per the regulations of 1993, and the addition of bargeboards at the San Marino Grand Prix.
Thanks to the more powerful engine, Michael Schumacher was able to consistently challenge the McLarens and on occasion challenged the seemingly unbeatable Williams FW15C.
It is arguable that it was overall the second most competitive car on the grid, behind the Williams, with Schumacher regularly scoring podiums and out-qualifying the single-lap ace Ayrton Senna in 8 of the 16 races of the season. Having a factory engine in contrast to McLaren having to make do with a customer unit gave Benetton a noticeable power advantage, although Williams used a far superior Renault V10 unit, however the McLaren had the edge at some races, in particular in wet conditions. The car was very advanced in the technological sense and featured active suspension, a semi-automatic transmission and traction control from the Monaco Grand Prix onwards.
Benetton eventually finished 3rd in the Constructors’ Championship just behind McLaren.
The car is now owned by Stephen Ottavianelli and still runs on semi auto paddleshift gearbox, with the traction control and launch control still in operation.
The Benetton B190 that powered triple World Champion Nelson Piquet to his penultimate Grand Prix victory in 1990 will join the Lotus Festival F1 line-up at Brands Hatch this August.
Designed under the direction of legendary designer John Barnard, the B190 began a rise to prominence to Benetton, who won two World titles with Michael Schumacher in the middle of the decade. The team was later bought by Renault, then Genii Capital, who signed a deal with Lotus for 2011, running under the famous racing name ever since.
Back in 1990 Piquet was joined by rising star and Grand Prix winner Alessandro Nannini, but a helicopter accident for the latter ended his F1 career. He was replaced by Roberto Moreno and the pairing finished 1-2 in the Japanese Grand Prix, the second year that the team benefitted from a clash between title contenders Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost. Piquet then won the next race in Australia, which concluded the season.
The B190’s Ford V8 engine produces 650bhp at 11,500rpm and is currently owned by enthusiast John Reaks, who has demonstrated the car at several events as well as being a Lotus on Track regular.