The black and gold John Player Special livery that once adorned Team Lotus Formula 1 cars is easily one of the greatest in the history of the sport. Simple, classy, and easy to spot on the track, the famous JPS colors are synonymous with some of F1's greatest drivers. These include Ayrton Senna, Mario Andretti, and one of the sport's biggest advocates and pioneers, Emerson Fittipaldi. Now, the British automaker is paying tribute to the Brazilian with a special variant of its newest hypercar: the Special Edition Lotus Evija Fittipaldi. And yes, it comes in black and gold.
The electric two-seater celebrates Lotus and Fittipaldi's successes in the early '70s, an era when F1 cars were fast, drivers were macho superstars, and safety wasn't really a concern. The hypercar is finished in the special shade of black, followed by hand-painted gold accents to achieve that famous look. Look closely, and you'll also find a hand-tinted plan view of the Type 72 F1 car etched into the carbon fiber roof. Other special cues have been sprinkled throughout the car, including the Brazilians racing number 8, Union Jack flags, and even Fittipaldi's signature has been hand-stitched into the dashboard.
The Evija Fittipaldi's pièce de résistance is certainly the cabin's rotary dial located on the instrument panel. This key component has actually been hand-crafted from recycled aluminum belonging to the original Type 72 F1 car, according to Lotus. This makes the Evija Fittipaldi part of the brand's history not just in theory due to its honorary livery and mementos, but in actuality due to this unique component.
“It’s fantastic to be back at Hethel for such a special occasion," Fittipaldi said. "I’ve really enjoyed being a part of this project and it’s been a wonderful experience revealing the car to some of the new owners. Having the opportunity to drive both the Evija Fittipaldi and my championship-winning Type 72 Formula 1 car on the test track at Hethel has been an incredible experience.”
Lotus is building only eight Evija Fittipaldis to commemorate the eight surviving Lotus Type 72s, all of which were present at the automaker's HQ for the hypercar's reveal. As is the case nowadays with most special editions of any sports car, some—if not all—are already spoken for.
“Fittipaldi and my father enjoyed a very special relationship, and their spectacular success was a brilliant team effort by the dedicated designers and mechanics at Team Lotus. One of motorsport’s most admired drivers, it is always emotional whenever Emerson is reunited with the Lotus Type 72, which he describes as the greatest car he ever raced,” said Lotus Managing Director Clive Chapman. “Bringing together the Lotus Evija, the Lotus Type 72, the black and gold livery and Emerson, all in celebration of his World Championship victory 50 years on – need I say more?”
While Fittipaldi went on to win both the driver and constructors' championships in 1972, he didn't let fame get in the way of advocating for major changes related to driver, car, track, and even fan safety. He, along with the likes of Jackie Stewart, went as far as boycotting venues in order to force organizers to improve safety measures. Fittipaldi went on to win the F1 drivers' championship again in 1974 with McLaren, and later on, the Indy 500 and CART title in 1989, followed by a second 500 win in 1993.
Got a tip? Email us at email@example.com