Video: Cosworth and Lotus Change the Formula 1 World, 1967

Lotus 49 ZandvoortREVISED AND UPDATED — This short film from 1967 records a pivotal moment in F1 history: the debut of the Lotus 49 and the Ford-Cosworth DFV at the Dutch Grand Prix. Racing would never again be the same. Watch. 



At Circuit Zandvoort on June 7, 1967, the world of F1 was set on its ear. This was the day Colin Chapman’s groundbreaking Lotus 49 made its competition debut, and with it the revolutionary Ford-Cosworth DFV racing engine. The sport hasn’t been the same since.

The Cosworth DFV—the letters stood for Dual Four Valve—contributed several innovations to the world of motorsports. First, the engine doubled as a stressed member of the chassis, allowing a lighter, stiffer structure. Next, Duckworth shrewdly recognized that a modern, properly engineered V8 could actually be superior to the complex and cumbersome 12 and 16-cylinder F1 engines then fielded by the other manufacturers. Cleverly focusing their resources, the Cosworth crew leapfrogged over the competition with a more powerful, practical package. And of course, the entire project was enabled by Walter Hayes of Ford UK, which provided the funding.

This beautiful little 10-minute film, produced by Ford and called First Time Out, is a step back in time to the key moment. Watch for all the top motorsports celebrities of the day as they come into frame, from Cosworth principal Keith Duckworth to dual car and bike world champion John Surtees. Of course, the two drivers of Team Lotus, Graham Hill and Jim Clark, are the stars of the production.

In practice, Hill was on pole for the Zandvoort race but dropped out on lap 11 while in the lead when his Cosworth stopped due to a broken cam drive. Clark’s cam drive began to fail as well, but held together long enough to give the Lotus 49 and the Cosworth DFV their first F1 victories—the first of many. The Lotus 49 eventually took 12 wins, while the Cosworth DFV earned 155 Grand Prix victories in nearly two decades of competition. And then, in turbocharged form, the Cosworth V8 would enjoy a second career as the dominant engine in Indy car racing. Watch the film and see where the revolution began.


2 thoughts on “Video: Cosworth and Lotus Change the Formula 1 World, 1967

  1. As an American kid reading Road & Track back in the day, I feel in love with these cars and the scene and became a life long F1 fan. Thanks for the great movie.

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