The first car to compete in a race under the ‘Team Lotus’ banner was the 1954 Mark VIII Sports Racer that took part in the British Empire Trophy race at Oulton Park in April of 1954.
Just over two years later, an example of the first Lotus single-seater, the Type 12, was on the grid for the start of the 1957 Monaco GP. That day the Type 12 was driven by Cliff Allison, who would finish the first Grand Prix for Team Lotus in an incredible 6th place, scoring a World Championship point at their first attempt.
It would be another three years though before a Lotus chassis would score a Grand Prix victory, and it wouldn’t be a official Team Lotus entered car! In May of 1960, Stirling Moss, driving the Rob Walker team’s brand new Type 18 in its first race, scored an historic first Grand Prix victory for a Lotus at the Monaco Grand Prix. Moss scored three more victories, two in the Type 18 and one in the Rob Walkers hybrid Type 18/21.
The first Championship GP race victory for Team Lotus itself was at the final race of the 1961 season, when Innes Ireland famously took the chequered flag in a Type 21 at the US GP at Watkins Glen. Team Lotus would go on to win a total of 79 Championship Grand Prix races, score five World Drivers’ title wins and take seven Constructors’ titles. The 50th victory for a Lotus (a first for any manufacturer) was at the 1973 Spanish GP, and the 79th and final GP win for Lotus would be with Ayrton Senna driving at the US Detroit GP in 1987. The final World Championship Grand Prix race for the team, race number 489, was the Australian GP held in Adelaide in 1994.