Lotus Ford J.P.S. Mk. IV type 79 F.1 1978

The 1978 F.1 World Championship was the first season that I followed continuously, at least from the  South African GP onwards.

I don’t need to say that I fell in love with the Lotus 79 from its maiden race in Belgium, which was won by Andretti by a great margin and with great ease. It was clear that the car was something new in the field of motor racing.

Everyone focused on the famous skirts, but the Lotus 79 was revolutionary in many other areas:

  • the inverted wing profile, allied to the seal produced by the skirts, generated a huge downforce that literally sucked the car down onto the track;
  • 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 aerodnamics of the whole car body.

To be honest, the 1978 World Championship was not that thrilling. Andretti and Peterson ruled the practices as usual, starting ahead on the grid and rapidly increasing the gap, ending first and second if they encountered no trouble.

Mario Andretti would have won the title anyway, but then came the tragedy at Monza tragedy which cost Ronnie Peterson his life, and the victory day was not the happy event it should have been.

For a long time, as a young boy, and then as a grown up modeller, I dreamed that there would one day be a  1/12th Lotus 79 scale model kit, and finally I was lucky enough to be invited to design it.

Hopefully I will continue to be as lucky, doing something similar with the nephews of the 79 that we still don’t have in 1/12th: the Williams FW07 and Brabham BT49…

My deepest thanks to Classic Team Lotus for their kind support.

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