The Lotus 97T is a remarkable car for many reasons – it was quick, outrageously powerful, and lustfully pretty – but it was also the car that gave Ayrton Senna his first two grand prix wins in Formula 1. And for that, the iconic racecar will be honored in Gran Turismo 6.
Following the 20th anniversary of Senna’s untimely death, Polyphony Digital, the developer behind GT6, will release a drivable version of the Brazilian’s 1985 Lotus 97T as part of a DLC package to launch later this month. As diehard fans may have already noticed, the “John Player Special” sponsorship decals have been removed on the downloadable car, due to tobacco advertising restrictions.
In 1985, the 97T was a force to be reckoned with. Sporting a 1.5L turbocharged Renault V6, the race-prepped version produced around 900-horsepower, with qualifying engines reported to produce in excess of 1000-horsepower. Pair that with Lotus’ clever aerodynamics and the 97T went on to claim eight pole positions (accounting for half of the season’s races) and three wins for the team.
Senna’s maiden win came in his second race for Lotus at a rainy Portuguese Grand Prix, in which he won by over a minute in front of Ferrari. His second win came at Spa-Francorchamps with an equally strong showing in wet conditions.
However, reliability became Lotus’ second biggest figure on the season. Senna retired an astounding five times due to mechanical failures in 1985, with his teammate Elio de Angelis retiring on three occasions.
But as far as icons go, Ayrton Senna in the black and gold Lotus is quite difficult to top. Look for the 97T and even more Senna content later this month in Gran Turismo 6.