There’s a rare chance to catch a glimpse of a car that played a vital part in a British Grand Prix winner’s career at this August’s Lotus Festival at Brands Hatch.
From Team Lotus’ final year in 1994, the 107c was carried over from the previous season with several key changes. Stripped of active suspension, a Lotus innovation that dominated F1 for the previous two years before a ban from the governing body, the team swapped paid-for Ford V8 engines to a works Mugen V10, based on the all-conquering Honda powerplant used by McLaren at the turn of the decade.
The 107c was intended as a stop-gap until the 109, designed to take the bigger engine, was ready for the Spanish Grand Prix early in the season. A lighter Mugen engine was also being built with the intention of hauling the team back to the front of the grid.
Drivers Johnny Herbert and Pedro Lamy raced the car at the Brazilian, Pacific, San Marino and Monaco Grands Prix in 1994, however they were unable to score points despite the 107’s excellent reliability. The newer 109 hit the headlines when the lighter Mugen unit was installed for the Italian Grand Prix and Herbert’s fourth place grid slot brought him back to the world’s attention.
However it was too late to save the team, forced into administration the day after the race and the British driver was sold to Flavio Briatore, first placed with Ligier, then Benetton for the final Grands Prix of the season. The Italian team patron also benefitted from the new engine, which powered Olivier Panis to victory at Monaco in 1996, not long after Herbert broke into the winners’ circle.
You can see the 107c at the Lotus Festival this August.