The product of the Granatelli/Lotus collaboration was the Lotus 56, the first-ever turbine-powered Lotus automotive. Just like the automotive pushed by Parnelli Jones one yr earlier, the 56 would additionally benefit from four-wheel drive’s additional traction to harness the turbine’s energy, this time a barely completely different STN 6/76 from Pratt & Whitney that generated roughly 500 horsepower. Nonetheless, that is the place the similarities ended.
Chapman’s infatuation with weight and aerodynamics resulted in a unique format for the 56, with the engine behind the motive force — versus alongside within the earlier Paxton Turbocar — and a radically slender, doorstop-like wedge form.
For the 1968 Indy 500, Granatelli and Lotus determined to marketing campaign not one, however 4 of the Lotus 56s. Throughout apply periods, one of many automobiles piloted by Mike Spence set a brand new monitor report of 169.555 mph, so the workforce knew that it had a formidable contender on its fingers. Later within the day, Spence took the wheel of a unique Lotus 56 which seemed to be underperforming. Sadly, Spence was concerned in a crash throughout his troubleshooting check laps in that second automotive, one which he did not survive.
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