18th July 2013
The Mk2 Cortina-Lotus has never had quite the same cachet as the revered Mk1 version, possibly because it was slightly more of a mainstream model, being entirely manufactured on Ford’s production line rather than being hand-assembled by Lotus. Partly for that reason it did not achieve the same success on track; Lotus was not so interested in racing cars they did not build and changing regulations did not entirely suit the model.
Team Lotus did however campaign a pair of Mk2’s in the 1967 British Saloon Car Championship, driven by Team’s Grand Prix drivers Graham Hill and Jacky Ickx, whilst John Miles and Paul Hawkins also drove on occasion. Bearing the registration numbers CTC 14E and CTC 24E, the cars had previously seen service on Ford’s Press fleet before being prepared for racing. The regulations of the day had become a little more liberal and amongst other things the familiar Lotus Twin-Cam engine was replaced by Cosworth’s FVA unit. Those regulations also saw the Porsche 911 classified as a touring car so the Cortina had a tough time on track – despite a clutch of class wins during the season there were no overall victories.
The cars were duly sold on, CTC 24E seeing service with Alan Mann Racing before the Escort Twin-Cam (should that be Escort-Lotus?) came on stream, before disappearing into the world of club racing etc. Now both cars have survived and will be re-united at Brands Hatch after many years apart, one of them travelling from its current home in Switzerland. What’s more, the one formerly driven by Graham Hill will head the track parade with grandson Josh Hill at the wheel!