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Ayrton Senna Special: Technical Analysis 2: The Lotus 97T

  • Published on 12 Apr 2019 19:00
  • comments 0
  • By: Fergal Walsh

Technical Analysis: The Lotus 97T

During the 1985 season Ayrton drove the Lotus 97T. The car was developed by Gérard Ducarouge and Martin Ogilvie. The 97T was a further development of the Lotus 95T from 1984. The car used a Renault 1.5 litre turbo engine that produced about 800 hp. The sponsorship came from John Player Special. 

The 97T was in fact an easy design and used several elements that were used by Roy Winkelmann for the 96T (the IndyCar model of Lotus). It was also the first car to use some kind of bargeboards. These bargeboards became a discovery in the eighties and were developed in the course of the years into more extreme shapes. 

The design of Gérard Ducarouge had to deal with reliability problems in the course of the season. It was one of the best on the grid in 1985. It had a good brake balance and was friendly to the tyres. It also used a separately developed suspension. On an aerodynamic level, the car was less than the McLaren MP4-2B.

As the chassis was good and the mechanical grip produced an excellent workable car, the Lotus was able to come alive on a short, curvy track. It is therefore not surprising that during the 1985 season the Lotus had a high profile during rain races and short circuits. The car scored seven pole positions and three victories. 

Technical information, Lotus 97T: 

Chassis:

Chassis: Carbon fibre monocoque
Front suspension: Springs, Pullrods, Double wishbones
Rear suspension: Springs, Pullrods, Double wishbones
Steering: rack and pinion
Gearbox: Lotus / Hewland 5 speed manual 
Drive: Rear Wheel Drive 
Weight: 540 kilo
Wheelbase: 2,700 mm (107 in) / 1740 mm (69 in) / 1,630 mm (64 in)

 

Engine

Configuration: Renault Gordini EF15B V6 90 deg
Location: Turbocharged Mid, longitudinally mounted
Turbocharger: Garrett 
Displacement: 1,494 cc 
Power: 800 bph
Torque: 597 Kw
Fuel System: Electronic fuel injection
Fuel Type: Gasoline
Cooling System: Water Cooled
Cylinder bore: 86 mm (3.39 in) 80.1 mm (3.15 in)
Piston stroke: 42.8 mm (1.69 in) 49.4 mm (1.94 in)
Compression ratio: 7.0:1-7.5:1


Ayrton Senna Special: Part 1 - Ayrton and karting - The early years
Ayrton Senna Special: Part 2 - Ayrton and karting - International

Ayrton Senna Special: Part 3 - Ayrton and karting - The tough trip in Buenos Aires
Ayrton Senna Special: Part 4 - Ayrton and karting - The last race
Ayrton Senna Special: Part 5 - Ayrton in Europe - Formula Ford 1600 and the battle with Rick Morris

Ayrton Senna Special: Part 6 - Ayrton in Europe - A glorious year in Formula Ford 200
Ayrton Senna Special: Part 7 - Ayrton in British Formula 3 - Senna in a class of his own
Ayrton Senna Special: Part 8 - Ayrton in British Formula 3 - First signs of pressure and dirt game 
Ayrton Senna Special: Part 9 - Ayrton in British Formula 3 - Shame at Oulton Park and another title
Ayrton Senna Special Exclusive Interview: Allen Berg: Ayrton drove against the British system
Ayrton Senna Special: Part 10 - Ayrton as a test driver - The first experience in a Formula 1 car
Ayrton Senna Special: Part 11 - Ayrton as a test driver - A selection of different teams
Ayrton Senna Special: Part 12 - Ayrton at Toleman - Why the choice for Toleman was the right one
Ayrton Senna Special: Part 13 - Ayrton at Toleman - Monaco Grand Prix - Stefan was faster
Ayrton Senna Special: Part 14 - Ayrton at Toleman - Monaco Grand Prix - Post-race
Ayrton Senna Special: Part 15 - Ayrton at Toleman - Competitive in a new car with two podiums
Ayrton Senna Special: Technical Analysis 1: The Toleman TG183 (1984)
Ayrton Senna Special: Teammate 1: Johnny Cecotto
Ayrton Senna Special: Part 16 - Ayrton at Lotus - Facial Paralysis
Ayrton Senna Special: Part 17 - Ayrton at Lotus - Masterclass in Estoril
Ayrton Senna Special: Part 18 - Ayrton at Lotus - An unfortunate first half of the season
Ayrton Senna Special: Part 19 - Ayrton at Lotus - Many podiums and a victory at Spa-Francorchamps

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