Lotus 33


The Lotus 33 was a Formula One car designed by Colin Chapman and Len Terry[1] and built by Team Lotus. A development of the successful Lotus 25, in the hands of Jim Clark it won 5 World Championship Grands Prix in 1965, assisting Clark to his second World Championship.

Lotus 33
Lotus 33 Climax Jackie Stewart at Goodwood Revival 2013 001.jpg
Jackie Stewart driving a Lotus 33 in 2013
CategoryFormula One
ConstructorTeam Lotus
Designer(s)Colin Chapman
Len Terry
PredecessorLotus 25
SuccessorLotus 43
Technical specifications
ChassisAluminium monocoque
Suspension (front)Upper cantilever rocker arms and lower wishbones, with inboard mounted Armstrong coilover spring/dampers
Suspension (rear)Upper transverse links and twin radius rods with reversed lower wishbone. Armstrong outboard coilover spring/dampers.
  • Coventry Climax FWMV
    1,497 cc (91 cu in), or
  • BRM P56
    1,498 cc (91 cu in), or
  • BRM P60
    1,909 cc (116 cu in)
V8 Naturally aspirated mid-mounted
TransmissionZF 5-speed manual
Competition history
Notable entrants
Notable drivers
Debut1964 Aintree 200,
Constructors' Championships1 (1965)
Drivers' Championships1 (Jim Clark, 1965)


The Lotus 33's development was based on the earlier Lotus 25 model, taking the monocoque chassis design to new development heights. The 33 was again powered by the 1500 cc Climax engine. The 33 was almost identical to the 25, but had suspension designed around newer, wider tyres. The car was more rigid and was simpler to build than its predecessor.

Six Lotus 33s were constructed, with chassis numbers following on from the 25 and beginning with R8. One chassis, R12, was modified to take the stillborn Climax FWMW flat-16 engine; this car was designated the Lotus 39. Chassis number R13 was not used by Team Lotus but was later unofficially adopted by Reg Parnell Racing for their crashed chassis R4, rebuilt around a 33 chassis.[2] The last of the series, R14, was built with a 2-litre version of the Climax V8 for the 1966 World Championship season, pending the arrival of the Lotus 43.

Racing historyEdit

A Lotus 33 on display at the 2015 Goodwood Festival of Speed

Introduced for the 1964 season, the 33 made its first appearance at the non-Championship Aintree 200. Clark qualified fourth, and set fastest lap before retiring. The 33's first World Championship event was the German Grand Prix. However, both Clark and his team mate Mike Spence struggled with the car and it was not until the following year that it came good. Clark won the first event of 1965, the South African Grand Prix and went on to take four more wins on the way to his second world championship. Clark missed the Monaco Grand Prix (a race which he would never win) to race in the Indianapolis 500, which he won.

In 1965 a four-valve version of the Climax engine was used which had an increase in power (about 210 bhp (157 kW) - 220 bhp (164 kW) compared to the older Climaxes which gave about 200 bhp). However the extra power sacrificed reliability, and Clark retired from the final 3 races of 1965 after he'd wrapped up the title. The 33 was pressed into service with bored out 2 litre Climax V8 and BRM V8 engines for the early races of 1966, until the 3 litre Lotus 43 was ready. In 1967, with the new Lotus 49 still suffering teething trouble, the 33s were deemed more suitable for the tight turns of Monte Carlo. Clark set fastest lap but retired his Climax-engined 33 while Hill drove the BRM-engined car to second place.

The 33 was also campaigned in 1965 by DW Racing Enterprises for Paul Hawkins, and in 1965 and 1966 by Reg Parnell Racing, however their car was actually a crashed 25 rebuilt as a 33, with a BRM engine. The 33's final World Championship race was the 1967 Canadian Grand Prix, where privateer Mike Fisher finished in 11th place. Fisher also qualified the car for that year's Mexican Grand Prix, but engine problems prevented him from starting the race.

The 33 also met with success outside of the World Championship with Jim Clark and Mike Spence each winning two non-Championship events, and Clark winning the 1967 Tasman Series.

PC SimulationEdit

A driveable, detailed virtual recreation of the Lotus 33 is available in the '1965 F1 Mod' add-on for the Grand Prix Legends PC-based F1 racing simulation.

It is also available in the 'Grand Prix Legends 1967' mod for PC-based racing simulation "Assetto Corsa".

Formula One World Championship resultsEdit

(key) (results in bold indicate pole position; results in italics indicate fastest lap)

Year Entrant Engine Driver 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Points1 WCC
1964 Team Lotus Climax FWMV 1.5 V8 MON NED BEL FRA GBR GER AUT ITA USA MEX 37 (40)2 3rd
Jim Clark Ret Ret 7 5
Mike Spence 8 Ret 6 7
Walt Hansgen 5
Moises Solana 10
1965 Team Lotus Climax FWMV 1.5 V8 RSA MON BEL FRA GBR NED GER ITA USA MEX 54 (58)2 1st
Jim Clark 1 1 1 1 1 10 Ret Ret
Mike Spence 4 DNA 7 7 4 Ret 11 Ret 3
DW Racing Enterprises Paul Hawkins 10 DNA DNA Ret
Reg Parnell Racing BRM P56 1.5 V8 Innes Ireland 9 Ret DNS 2 8th
Bob Bondurant Ret
1966 Team Lotus Climax FWMV 2.0 V8 MON BEL FRA GBR NED GER ITA USA MEX 8 6th
Jim Clark Ret Ret DNS 4 3 Ret
Pedro Rodríguez Ret Ret
Geki 9
Peter Arundell 6
BRM P60 2.0 V8 Ret Ret 12 8 7 133 5th
Pedro Rodríguez Ret
Reg Parnell Racing Mike Spence Ret Ret Ret Ret 5 Ret 5 Ret DNS
Jim Clark Ret
BRM P60 2.1 V8 Graham Hill 2 6 8th
Mike Fisher Mike Fisher 11 DNS
1 Points were awarded on a 9-6-4-3-2-1 basis to the first six finishers at each round, but only the best placed car for each make was eligible to score points. In 1964 and 1965 only the best six results from the season were retained, and only the best five results for 1966. In 1967 the best five results from the first six rounds and the best four results from the last five rounds were retained.
2 Total points scored by all Lotus-Climax cars, including Lotus 25 variants.
3 Total points scored by all Lotus-BRM cars, including Lotus 43 variants.

Non-Championship Formula One resultsEdit

(key) (results in bold indicate pole position; results in italics indicate fastest lap)

Year Entrant Engine Tyres Drivers 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
1964 Team Lotus Climax FWMV 1.5 V8 D DMT NWT SYR AIN INT SOL MED RAN
Jim Clark Ret 1
Mike Spence 16
Jackie Stewart 17
1965 Team Lotus Climax FWMV 1.5 V8 D ROC SYR SMT INT MED RAN
Jim Clark Ret 1
Mike Spence 1 Ret DNS 3 Ret
DW Racing Enterprises Paul Hawkins NC DNA Ret 10 DNA
Reg Parnell Racing BRM P60 2.0 V8 Innes Ireland 6
1966 Team Lotus Climax FWMV 2.0 V8 F RSA SYR INT OUL
Mike Spence 1
Peter Arundell 3 DNS
Jim Clark 3
Reg Parnell Racing BRM P60 2.0 V8 Innes Ireland Ret
David Hobbs 3
Mike Spence Ret
1967 Team Lotus BRM P60 2.1 V8 F ROC SPC INT SYR OUL ESP
Graham Hill 4


  1. ^ Cruickshank, Gordon (November 2014). "Len Terry – obituary". Motor Sport magazine archive. p. 44. Retrieved 19 November 2015.
  2. ^ Nye, Doug (August 2013). "A whole bunch of trouble". Motor Sport magazine archive. p. 74. Retrieved 2 August 2016.
  3. ^ a b "Lotus 33 car-by-car histories". OldRacingCars. Retrieved 23 January 2019.