Lotus 69 (Formula B 1971) car-by-car histories
A new Lotus 69 model was built for Formula B in 1971, comprising a spaceframe chassis, Hart Ford twin cam engine, F2-style Lotus 69 bodywork and uprated front suspension.
The model number "Lotus 69" was used for a range of distinct but related cars in 1970 and 1971, for Formula 2, Formula 3, Formula B, Formula Atlantic and Formula Ford. It had started in 1970 when designer Dave Baldwin "metaphorically" cut the spaceframe centre section out of the F2 Lotus 59B and replace it with a monocoque section, incorporating bulbous sides containing the bag tanks. This car was successful in 1970 in the hands of Jochen Rindt, who won four of his first five F2 races in it, Tetsu Ikuzawa and Emerson Fittipaldi, so for 1971, Lotus Racing continued with the same monocoque Lotus 69 in F2 but also used the same name for their F3, F/Atlantic, FB and FF cars, despite these being spaceframe cars based on the Lotus 59 disguised with the bodywork and beefed-up front suspension from the F2 car.
The Formula B cars were sold to the Jim Russell Racing Team in Canada, and to Castrol for Craig Hill; and others were sold via agent Fred Stevenson's Lotus Racing East. William Monson in the US Pacific northwest also acquired a car but that still only brought the total to seven, and Lotus Racing had unfortunately laid down a run of 12 cars. Tetsu Ikuzawa acquired one to use in Japanese racing but the others had to be sold off cheaply when Lotus Racing was closed down.
Jim Russell teammates Jacques Couture and Dave McConnell were very successful in the Canadian FB series in their Lotus 69s, Couture winning the Players national series and McConnell the Molson Quebec regional series. Fred Stevenson won the SCCA Northeast Division title but could only finish fifth in the Runoffs, behind March 71BMs and Brabham BT35s. In later seasons it became very difficult to tell these Lotus 69s from the preceding Lotus Formula B models, as it was straightforward to fit Lotus 69 bodywork onto a 1969 FB Lotus 59 or a 1970 FB Lotus 59.
New to Jacques Couture in March 1971 with green/yellow bodywork according to the Lotus built record. Raced by Couture in the Players Formula B Championship and the Molson Formula Championship in Canada in 1971, winning rounds of both, and in the Seattle round of the SCCA Continental Championship. Unknown in 1972, but advertised by Fred Opert in February 1973. Thought to be the car driven by Opert customer Julio César Hidalgo in the FB race at Autodromo de San Carlo, Caracas in March 1973. Subsequent history unknown.
Driven by: Jacques Couture and Julio César Hidalgo. First race: Mont-Tremblant, 16 May 1971. Total of 12 recorded races.
New to William Monson (Kent, WA) in February 1971 with pale yellow bodywork according to the Lotus built record. Raced by Monson in the SCCA Continental Championship and SCCA Nationals in 1971 but after only a few races he suffered a major accident at Laguna Seca in June 1971 when he clipped the bridge and was in hospital with significant injuries. He returned to racing but crashed again in a SCCA Regional at Portland in August, seriously damaging the car. This time he retired from racing and sold the wrecked Lotus to Gary Gove (Tacoma, WA). Gove's racing partner Pete Lovely was then in the process of fitting a F1 DFV engine to his 1970 F2 Lotus 69 and Gove was able to use the F2 rear end to repair Monson's car. The result was a very quick car and in 1972 Gove raced it in ICSCC and NW Regional events plus at least one National and the Westwood round of the Canadian FB series. In 1973, Gove won the NorPac title in the Lotus and then sold it to Jon Norman (Oakland, CA) who won the 1975 NorPac FB title and was second in 1976. Norman also took the car to the SCCA Runoffs in 1975, finishing a remarkable fourth, and raced it in several Pro Formula Atlantic races. Norman raced it at least once in SCCA events in 1977 before replacing it with a much newer March 76B. Subsequent history unknown. Norman sold the car in 1978, and it sat in the new owner’s garage until Norman bought it back from him in about 2011. The car was restored by Phil Reilly and it was raced by Norman and by Dan Marvin in CSRG vintage events. The car was sold in December 2016 to Chris Cord who also uses it in historic racing.
Driven by: William Monson, Gary Gove, Jon Norman and Terry Visger. First race: Seattle (R1), 23 May 1971. Total of 28 recorded races.
New to "J Couture/J Ross" in March 1971 with green/yellow bodywork according to the Lotus built record. "Ross" may be Jim Russell, whose Canadian racing school supported Couture's team. This would be the car entered by Jim Russell Racing Team for David McConnell (Montréal, Quebec) in the 1971 Canadian FB series. McConnell won one round of the national Players Formula B series and four rounds of the Quebec Region Molson Championship, which he easily won. McConnell bought a new GRD for the 1972 Tasman championship, and the subsequent history of the Lotus 69 is unknown.
Driven by: David McConnell. First race: Mont-Tremblant, 16 May 1971. Total of 13 recorded races.
New to "J Silver" in March 1971 with red bodywork according to the Lotus built record. Nothing more is known of this car.
New to Craig Hill (London, Ontario, Canada) in April 1971 with white bodywork according to the Lotus built record. Raced by Hill in the Players Canadian Formula B championship in 1971, with Castrol sponsorship, winning one race. Retained by Hill for 1972, now entered by his Fother-Hill Limited as the "Castrol Kleen-Flo Special", and won two races that season. Sold to Ron Shantz (Kitchener, Ontario) for 1973, and entered by Auto Race Developments in the Canadian series. History then unknown until it was bought back from Canada by English dealer Bobby Howlings in 1988 together with two other Lotuses. It was sold to Michael Schryver, and restored for him by Simon Hadfield, who raced it in HSCC events in 1989. By 1995, it had been sold via Fredy Kumshick to Claudia Neuhaus, and in 1999 it was raced by Jochen Durstewitz. In 2000, it was bought from Neuhaus by Kyle Kaulback, taken to the US, and raced as a 1600cc F2 class car in Formula 70 races. Still with Kaulback in 2011.
Driven by: Craig Hill and Ron Shantz. First race: Edmonton (R1), 20 Jun 1971. Total of 21 recorded races.
New to Lotus East in April 1971 with yellow/green bodywork according to the Lotus built record. Lotus East boss Fred Stevenson recalls that this was his car for the 1971 season, when he won six successive SCCA Nationals to win the Northeast Division title, and then finished fifth at the Runoffs. He then ran the car in the two FB races at Bogotá in early 1972. Subsequent history unknown, but in 2006, Fred said that the car was being restored in Australia.
Driven by: WP Fred Stevenson. First race: Lime Rock, 29 May 1971. Total of 10 recorded races.
New to "Lotus East/Hogan" in April 1971 with white bodywork according to the Lotus built record. Lotus East boss Fred Stevenson recalls that this car was sold to Ted Coconis (Weston, CT), a very successful graphic designer. Coconis raced the car in Formula B in Northeast Division in 1971 and 1972. The car was driven by Ted's son Tim Coconis (Palo Alto, CA) in the Canadian FB series 1973, when father and son raced as a team with two Lotus 69s. Tim returned with it in 1975, both in SCCA Nationals and in the Players Formula Atlantic series, but it was completely wrecked in an accident at the SCCA National at Watkins Glen in August 1975, injuring Tim Coconis. Tim disassembled the car, discarding the wrecked chassis and selling the engine and gearbox, and stored what was left until the 1980s, when it was bought by a new owner based near Albuquerque, New Mexico. A new chassis was fabricated by Peter Denty, and a new Hewland FT200 acquired, but restoration did not progress far. In August 2001, it was advertised on race-cars.com, and was sold in May 2003. It is reported that Dave Bean (San Andreas, CA) was restoring this car before he died in August 2017. Subsequent history unknown.
Driven by: Ted Coconis and Tim Coconis. First race: Mont-Tremblant (R3), 1 Aug 1971. Total of 9 recorded races.
Built for stock with white bodywork according to the Lotus built record. Fitted with a Cosworth FVC engine for Tetsu Ikuzawa to drive in the JAF Grand Prix in May 1971, then returned to Europe and converted to Formula 2 specification for Reine Wisell to drive at Kinnekullering and Brands Hatch in August, and in the Torneio Brasiliero in October and November. Advertised by Lotus Cars Ltd in March 1972 when it had yellow bodywork. Apparently unused during most of 1972, but in early December Ian Mawby (Cambridge) acquired the "ex-Wisell" car to replace the Lotus 69 he had wrecked at Brands Hatch at the end of November. Raced by Mawby until an accident at Snetterton in July 1973 left him badly injured.
Mawby started to rebuild this car with a new chassis, but it was still incomplete when sold to John Bicht, an American expat. Bicht rebuilt the car with a number of his own ideas, including narrower front track and a Lola T360 nose, and raced it in Indylantic in Britain in 1976 as the "Swift SA1". He advertised the car in 1977, and eventually sold it to a friend in the US. After Bicht had made further improvements, including narrower rear track and a March nose, the car proved to be "quite quick". It was later sold by this owner to Joe Grimaldi. Subsequent history unknown.
Driven by: Tetsu Ikuzawa, Reine Wisell, Ian Mawby and John Bicht. First race: Fuji, 3 May 1971. Total of 23 recorded races.
Built for stock with maroon bodywork according to the Lotus built record, but still unsold at the end of 1971. To Geoff Rollason (Craven Arms, Shropshire) and fitted with a Hart Cosworth FVA for British hillclimbs in 1972. Alan Brown observed the chassis number "71/69/9/FB" on Rollason's car at the Great Auclum hill climb in 1972. Retained by Rollason for hillclimbs again in 1973. Rollason bought a F1 Brabham BT37 for 1974 and he recalls that the Lotus 69 was sold to a hillclimber who later had a massive accident in the car on the finishing straight at Prescott, severely damaging the car and leaving the driver very badly injured, possibly paralysed. At Prescott 31 March 1974, Gordon Brooks raced a 1600cc Lotus 69-FVA which was described in a programme annotation as being Rollason's 1973 car. Then at the 5 May Prescott, another programme annotation says that Brooks crashed in practice, so this must be the accident that Rollason remembers. Brooks was not seen in the Lotus again.
Driven by: Geoff Rollason and Gordon Brookes. First race: Shelsley Walsh (R5), 11 Jun 1972. Total of 22 recorded races.
Built for stock with red bodywork according to the Lotus built record, but still unsold at the end of 1971. Not one of the cars advertised by Lotus Cars Ltd after the closure of Lotus Components so this must be the car raced by Ian Mawby (Cambridge) in Formula Atlantic and formule libre in 1972. Wrecked in Mawby's crash at Brands Hatch in November 1972 and Mawby bought the ex-Reine Wisell sister car to replace it.
Driven by: Ian Mawby. First race: Silverstone (R3), 19 Mar 1972. Total of 14 recorded races.
Built for stock with white bodywork according to the Lotus built record, but still unsold at the end of 1971. Advertised by Lotus Cars Ltd as a rolling chassis with Hewland FT200 gearbox in March 1972. Nothing more is known of this car.
Built for stock with blue bodywork according to the Lotus built record, but still unsold at the end of 1971. Advertised by Lotus Cars Ltd as a rolling chassis with Hewland FT200 gearbox in March 1972. It appears that this car was sold to Scuderia Nettuno in Italy for Claudio Francisci in Formula 3 specification. Autosprint in May 1972 said that Francisci had bought a new Lotus 69, ex Formula B, and would share it with Ettore Ricci in the colours of Elcom. The pair raced it though the 1972 Italian F3 season. Subsequent history unknown.
Driven by: Claudio Francisci and Ettore Ricci. First race: Imola (R3), 1 May 1972. Total of 11 recorded races.
Formula B Lotus 69s in 1971
Of the 12 cars built, only eight had been used or sold by the end of 1971, and seven of these cars be accounted for: 71/69.1.FB was raced by Jacques Couture, 71/69.2.FB by William Monson, 71/69.3.FB by David McConnell, 71/69.5.FB by Craig Hill, 71/69.6.FB by Fred Stevenson, 71/69.7.FB by Ted Coconis and 71/69.8.FB by Tetsu Ikuzawa and Reine Wisell. That leaves only 71/69.4.FB, which must surely be the car driven by Bob Hebert as teammate to Stevenson.
'the Bob Hebert car'
A Lotus 69 raced by Bob Hebert (Monterey, MA) in Northeast Division SCCA Nationals in 1971 and 1972. Although no results have yet been found for Hebert in 1973, he scored two points in the NEDiv points table that season.
Driven by: Bob Hebert. First race: Summit Point, 18 Apr 1971. Total of 20 recorded races.
'the Don Adley car'
Donald A Adley (Hamden, CT) raced a Lotus 69B in SCCA North Atlantic Road Racing Championship races in 1971 and 1972. Nothing more known.
Driven by: Donald A. Adley. First race: Thompson Raceway, 15 Aug 1971. Total of 5 recorded races.
Formula B Lotus 69s in 1972
In 1972, William Monson's 71/69.2.FB went to Gary Gove, Craig Hill retained 71/69.5.FB, Ted Coconis retained 71/69.7.FB and the ex-Tetsu Ikuzawa/Reine Wisell 71/69.8.FB went to Ian Mawby for libre racing. Bob Hebert also retained his car, which may well turn out to be the untraced 71/69.4.FB. The other three cars, Jacques Couture's 71/69.1.FB, David McConnell's 71/69.3.FB and Fred Stevenson's 71/69.6.FB all disappear after 1971.
Two mystery cars appear in 1972: Ted Coconis's car which was run alongside his father's and is likely to have been the ex-Fred Stevenson's 71/69.6.FB, and Derek Johnson's car which was seen just once at Sanair in May 1972 and is likely to be either Couture's 71/69.1.FB or McConnell's 71/69.3.FB. However, one of the Coconises appeared in Formula Ford in 1972, presumably the son, and that car was also said to be a Lotus 69, so maybe the team's second Lotus 69 was actually a Formula Ford.
It is important to note that a significant number of other Lotus Formula B cars remained unidentified. These include the cars of Harold Miller (Reseda, CA), which is almost certainly an older model; Jackie Burnett at Trois-Rivières in August 1971; Robert Rickard (New Cuyama, CA/San Jose, CA) in late 1971 and in 1972; Jack Bailey at Vacaville in April 1972; Dan Adley (Hamden, CT) at Lime Rock and Thompson in 1972; Ronald Light (Lebanon, PA) at Lime Rock; and Jim Anderson (Santa Ana, CA) in the IMSA Pro FB race at Las Vegas in July 1972.
the Derek Johnson car
(Sanair 1972 only)
Derek Johnson (Montréal, Quebec, Canad) is reported to have raced a March 69B at Sanair on 28 May 1972, his first race since a nasty accident in August 1971 had written off his March 71BM. This may have been a loan deal, as five days later Johnson purchased a Brabham BT29, and used that for the rest of the season.
Driven by: Derek Johnson. First race: Sanair (R1), 28 May 1972. Only one recorded race.
'the second Coconis team car'
Ted Coconis (Weston, CT) bought a 1971 Formula B Lotus 69, chassis 71/69.7.FB and raced it in SCCA Pro and SCCA Nationals in 1971 and 1972, but at some point he acquired this second Lotus 69. In 1973, he and son Tim raced a pair of Lotus 69s, sponsored by Ted's company Graphics International Racing, but exactly how the second care was used during this time is unclear. The main car was typically entered as #88, with white numbers on a black background, so it only required a few pieces of black tape to change this into #83, #68 or #89, as required. Both cars are thought to have looked the same, but until a picture is found of them alongside each other, this cannot be confirmed. The Coconises were not seen in 1974, and when Tim returned in 1975, he used his father's original car. The subsequent history of the second car used in 1973 remains a mystery.
Driven by: Ted Coconis. First race: Trois-Rivières, 27 Aug 1972. Total of 8 recorded races.
Formula B Lotus 69s in 1973
In 1973, Gary Gove retained his ex-William Monson's 71/69.2.FB, Craig Hill's 71/69.5.FB was sold to Ron Shantz, Ted Coconis retained 71/69.7.FB and Mawby retained his ex-Tetsu Ikuzawa/Reine Wisell 71/69.8.FB. Bob Hebert's mystery car, suspected to be 71/69.4.FB, has not yet been found in results, but he did score two points in NEDiv FB that season, so must have retained the car for at least part of the year. Of the two other mystery cars from 1972, Derek Johnson's was not seen again, but the second Coconis car was retained. One extra mystery Lotus 69s appeared: George Liebman Jr raced a Lotus 69 in an SCCA Regional at Bridgehampton in October 1973, an appearance so late in the season that he could have acquired Bob Herbert's car.
In the seven SCCA Divisions' Formula B points tables, the only Lotus drivers to appear were Gove, Hebert and Oregon Region driver Ken Thomson who scored two points. A Ken Thompson of Portland, Oregon, had raced a Lotus 20 in Formula C five year earlier, but it's hard to believe he was still driving the same car.
Further down the results sheets, Kent Clark of the SCCA's West Texas Region drove an unidentified Formula B Lotus at Fort Sumner in September 1973.
the George Liebman car
George Liebman Jr raced a a Formula B Lotus 69 in a New York Region SCCA Regional at Bridgehampton in October 1973, having earlier been entered in such a car for the Pro FB race that supported the Grand Prix at Watkins Glen. The car was entered as #77. Nothing more known.
Driven by: George Liebman Jr. First race: Bridgehampton, 28 Oct 1973. Only one recorded race.
Formula B Lotus 69s in 1974
John Jensen (Agincourt, Ontario) entered a Lotus 69 for the Bahamas Grand Prix PRRO event at Waterford Hills in September 1974.
Pat Phalan (Wilmington, DE) entered a Lotus 69 in two North Atlantic Road Racing Championship events at Bridgehampton and Lime Rock in 1974.
Other unidentified Lotuses in Formula B in 1974 may turn out to be 69s. The only Lotus-mounted FB points scorers whose cars we know nothing about across the seven SCCA Divisions in 1974 were Thomas Cooney (Indianapolis, IN) with one point in CenDiv, and Henry Roddiger (Lake St Louis, MO) with four points in Midwest Division. Bill Hallandal (Flint, Michigan) also scored three points with his older Lotus 41C in CenDiv, and John Stowe (Hartford, CT) scored two points at Bryar Park with an antique Lotus 32 in NEDiv.
Mike Rocke (Livermore, CA) entered an unknown Formula B Lotus in the Laguna Seca June Sprints in June 1974, and David Ahrens (E. Hartford, CT) entered a FB Lotus at Lime Rock in August 1974.
the Pat Phalan car
Pat Phalan (Wilmington, DE) entered a Lotus 69 in two SCCA North Atlantic Road Racing Championship events in mid-1974, and also raced the car in early 1976 before replacing it with a Chevron. Nothing more known.
Driven by: Pat Phalan. First race: Summit Point, 27 Jul 1975. Total of 2 recorded races.
'the Henry Roddiger car'
Henry Roddiger (Lake St Louis, MO) raced a Lous in SCCA Formula B in 1974, 1975 and 1976. All his known races were at MAR or IRP. His car has not yet been identified, but is thought to have been a Lotus 69.
Driven by: Henry Roddiger. First race: Mid-America Raceway, 23 Jun 1974. Total of 6 recorded races.
the Victor Gagliano car
Victor Gagliano (Floral Park, NY) raced a Lotus 69 in SCCA Formula B from 1974 to 1976, appearing on entry lists for races at Bridgehampton, Lime Rock and Watkins Glen. His car was entered by VAS Enterprises, Gagliano's company, which had previously been the entrant of his Formula C March 703. The Lotus was entered as #99 in August 1976, the same number used by Bob Silvestro on his Lotus 69 just before and after Gagliano's last known appearance. It is likely they were the same car.
Driven by: Victor Gagliano. First race: Watkins Glen, 4 Oct 1974. Total of 4 recorded races.
Formula B Lotus 69s in 1975
Henry Roddiger (Lake St Louis, MO) raced his FB Lotus in the SCCA National at Indianapolis Raceway Park in September 1975.
the James Predith car
James B 'Jim' Predith, then of Fitchburg, WI, but in NEDiv in the 1970s, recalled to Lotus historian Michael Oliver in 2015 that he had bought a Lotus 69 with a slightly twisted chassis from someone in the Finger Lakes area in 1975. He said that he raced the car for one season and then sold it to someone in the Michigan Lower Peninsula area. In November 1979, Predith (Utica, MI) had advertised a "Lotus 69 FB/ATL Chassis #001" which was complete with Hart twin cam engine and Hewland FT200 gearbox. If he was remembering correctly that he had only raced it for one season, that would suggest that his purchase was a few years later, perhaps 1977 or 1978.
Formula B Lotus 69s in the late 1970s
Pat Phalan (Wilmington, DE) raced his "Lotus 69" at Summit Point in April 1976, and Henry Roddiger (Lake St Louis, MO) raced his unidentified FB Lotus in SCCA Nationals at Mid-America Raceway and Indianapolis Raceway Park in 1976.
Meanwhile in England, Chris Morris (Gloucester) had a 1598cc Lotus 69 at Pontypool in June 1976, and John Wilson (Hitchin) had a Lotus 69 with 1600cc twin cam engine at Prescott in April 1978.
the Robert Silvestro car
Bob Silvestro (Patterson, NY) raced a Lotus "69B" in SCCA Northeast Division Formula B in 1976, entered as #99 by Continental Automotive. As his home town is just 75 miles from Victor Gagliano's home town of Floral Park, NY, and as both Silvestro and Gagliano entered their Lotus 69 as #99, it seems very likely that they were the same car. Silvestro retained the car for 1977 and 1978.
Driven by: Robert Silvestro. First race: Watkins Glen, 15 Aug 1976. Total of 5 recorded races.
the Peter Dragffy car
Peter Dragffy (Montréal, Quebec, Canada) is believed to have owned a Lotus 69 from about 1978 until 1988, when it was bought from him by John Arnold. He had the car restored by Peter Denty in 1993. When the car was advertised from Golden, Colorado in July 2009, the frame number and FT200 gearbox number both matched the factory records for chassis 71/69.9.FB. It was finished in maroon bodywork work. In 2010, the car was acquired by Pearce Raeder (River Forest IL). Raced by Raeder at Road America in July 2012, at the SVRA Spring Vintage Festival in May 2019, and the US Vintage Racing National Championship in November 2020. Still with Raeder in June 2021.
Unresolved Formula B Lotus 69s in Historic racing
A large number of Lotus 69s have appeared in historic racing, but it is hard to distinguish between F2 Lotus 69s, Formula 3 Lotus 69s, Formula B Lotus 69s, the Formula Atlantic Lotus 69s, and even Formula Ford Lotus 69s. One of these cars appears to claim the identity of a specific Formula B Lotus 69s: Steve Hitchins' car was brought back from the US in 1988 and is believed to be the ex-Ian Mawby car.
the Steve Hitchins car
In 1989, Steve Hitchins acquired a Lotus 69 from Bobby Howlings that Howlings had recently imported from North America. The car was identified as Ian Mawby's former car, and after discussion with Mawby, Hitchins concluded it had to be chassis number 71/69/9/FB, based on Mawby's recollection that it was maroon when new. It was rebuilt by George Wadsworth's Racing Fabrications in 1989/90 with a BDA engine, and FIA papers were issued for it as "71 69 9 FB" in September 1990. At this time, the car was dark blue and wore #55. It was raced by Hitchins in HSCC events in 1991. Some years later, this "ex-Hitchins" Lotus 69 was acquired via Terry Nightingale and Racing Fabrications by Rob Harvey and raced in FORCE and HSCC events at Oulton Park in 2003, 2004 and 2006. When this car was advertised by Kelvin Jones in June 2005, it was said to be chassis "71-69/9 FB". At the time it again had a BDA engine, was all red, and wore #27. By August 2011, the car was in the hands of Andrew Thorpe, who recalled that "it belonged to Nigel Harrison" in the US. This is presumably the Nigel Harrison (Houston, TX) of "Lotus Owners of Southern Texas" who was active in Lotus circles around 2003/2004. The car was sold by Thorpe to Neil Armstrong (Rugby) some time around 2017. Advertised by Armstrong in December 2020, when still said to be "Chassis number 71/69/9/FB" and ex-Mawby/Hitchins/Harvey.
As with so many of the cars of this era, Chris Townsend has done much of the work on this model. Thanks also to Ted Walker, Simon Hadfield, Steve Wilkinson and Pearce Raeder.
Thanks also to Richard Bunyan, John Sadler, Keith Lewcock, Bruce Stewart, Arny Spahn and Peter Viccary for allowing their photographs to be used on this page.
These histories last updated on .