THE LOTUS 22
Built primarily for the Formula Junior (FJ) series, the Lotus 22 was a single-seat racing car developed directly from the Lotus 20. Updates from the older car included disc brakes all round; 13-inch rear wheels (down two inches on those fitted to the Lotus 20); a lower body due to a more severely canted engine, which meant a more reclined position for the driver; and a revised suspension set-up. A double-skinned bulkhead and thicker space-frame tubing also meant the 22 was stiffer and more robust than the outgoing 20. Most of the 77 examples built were powered by a dry-sump 1098cc Cosworth MKIV or MKXI engine. In standard tune, these developed around 70kw. A few cars were fitted with a 1498cc Lotus Twin Cam — at that time, a new engine that had just been introduced with the Elan. Of course, any Lotus 22 using these larger-capacity motors would have been ineligible for FJ. Unveiled at the 1962 Racing Car Show, the Lotus 22 was available to customers at a cost of £1500. Although considered expensive in its day, the 22 proved to be a popular choice among FJ privateers — especially as Lotus works driver Peter Arundell scored a remarkable 18 wins from 25 starts in his Lotus 22 FJ. Indeed, so complete was Lotus’ domination of the series that many began to accuse it of cheating. This led to a famous bet between Lotus supremo Colin Chapman and motor racing writer Richard von Frankenberg, who believed Lotus was using oversized engines. A wager of £1000 was agreed on, and the test involved 30 laps of Monza, with the Lotus’ engine being dismantled and measured following the on-track outing. It was driven by Arundell, who broke his previous lap record at Monza, and, following a complete examination, the 22’s engine was found to be within FJ capacity limits. An embarrassed von Frankenberg was forced to apologize and, of course, hand over a cheque for £1000. The Lotus 22 continued its winning ways in 1963, FJ’S final season. Although it was effectively swept away at the end of that season to make way for Formula 3, through the enthusiasm of people such as Duncan Rabagliati and the Formula Junior Historic Racing Association, today, FJ is enjoying a worldwide resurgence in interest. And, with so many Lotus 22s having been produced, they remain a popular choice for historic racers.
single-seaters. A new Richardson cylinder head was fitted, along with a lighter, stiffer crankshaft and a Richardson-spec exhaust but with a US- designed collector for more torque. In addition, all the suspension bolts were replaced, with nylock nuts used throughout. The 22’s gearbox internals were then 90-percent new but with the correct Formula Junior ratios.
Noel’s original aim was to build a good Formula Junior car with the advantage (as compared to his Gemini) of a reliable five-speed Hewland gearbox, a new Richardson head, and four-wheel disc brakes.
“I had seen and photographed many juniors over the years, but those with the highest standard of preparation were undoubtedly the Lotus 22 and 27 cars owned by UK racer Andrew Hibberd. Unconsciously, over time, the new base standard was to match or exceed the level of excellence achieved with Hibberd’s Lotus 22,” he said.
The end result was an underweight car that will need some ballast — a significant advantage, as many FJS struggle to get under the 400-kilogram limit. It’s been fully restored back to Formula Junior spec as it ran in the UK and Europe with Jonathan Williams for the Anglo-swiss Team in 1963, and Noel said he believes that the final result was “as near perfection as possible in every detail.”