The Beginning of a Legend: How Lotus and Stirling Moss Forever Changed Formula 1

Exactly 60 years have passed since Sir Stirling Moss won his first victory in Formula 1 at the wheel of a Lotus.

On May 29, 1960, Sir Stirling Moss drove his Lotus for almost three hours, battling rivals in the streets of Monte Carlo to win the Monaco Grand Prix. This was the first Formula 1 championship race win for Lotus.

The Beginning of a Legend: How Lotus and Stirling Moss Forever Changed Formula 1 photo 2

Exactly 60 years later, Lotus paid tribute to the beginning of its truly remarkable Formula 1 history, which was written by such legendary drivers as Mario Andretti, Jim Clark, Johen Rindt, Emerson Fittipaldi, Graham hill, Ronnie Peterson and Ayrton Senna. After Moss' first win, Lotus’ racing cars won races another 80 times, bringing six championship titles and seven World Constructors' Championship wins.

Sir Stirling Moss cemented his reputation as a master driver in rainy weather in Monaco in 1960. He drove his new Lotus 18 with great confidence through the wet streets, confidently going to the finish line. Given the first pole position, as well as the lap records set during the race, it was really a landmark performance. It is worth noting that only the top three drivers completed all 100 laps of the track, and only five drivers were qualified. To understand the intensity of the race and the intensity of passion, it is worth noting that Stirling Moss was ahead of his closest competitor Bruce McLaren by only 52 seconds. A Lotus Type 18 with a lightweight body, which, as expected by Lotus founder Colin Chapman, was ideal for the tight, winding streets of Monaco.

Lotus Type 18 piloted by Stirling Moss Lotus Type 18 piloted by Stirling Moss

Lotus CEO Phil Popham added:

Today we celebrate the anniversary of not just a remarkable achievement but also the beginning of a significant period in the history of Lotus. Sir Stirling Moss is a name inscribed in gold letters in the motorsports history, and his skill at the Monaco Grand Prix exactly 60 years ago was the catalyst for our successful legacy in Formula 1. This irresistible urge to challenge expectations and explore the limits of opportunity is ingrained in the company's DNA.

That weekend of the 1960 Monaco Grand Prix began with Moss setting new lap practice and qualification records, earning a spot on the front row of the starting grid and giving Lotus its first ever pole position. Eight drivers were not qualified, and only 16 cars entered the track. At first, Joe Bonnier took the lead on his BRM. However, the brakes of his car began to give up after 17 laps and he had to slow down and give up the advantage to Moss.

A few laps later, it started to rain, and Jack Brabham overtook Bonnier in a battle for second place as drivers slowed down trying to cope with the deteriorating conditions. The wet track made drivers literally struggle to stay on the tarmac. The driver’s exemplary car handling and skills were critically important in such challenging conditions.

The Beginning of a Legend: How Lotus and Stirling Moss Forever Changed Formula 1 photo 3

Brabham competed with Moss for the lead on the 43th lap, but he lost due to gearbox problems. The rain gradually subsided, and Moss began to pull away until he had to give up first position on lap 60. Moss had to use all his driving skills on a wet track to regain the lead, finishing ahead of dueling Bruce McLaren and Phil Hill. This was the first chapter of Lotus’ epic victory history.

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