Elio de Angelis (1958-1986) was an italian driver born in Rome.
In 1977, Elio wins his first Formula 3 race aboard a Chevron F3 and becomes National champion the very same year.
In 1978, he enters the Formula 2 world championship but his car, the Chevron B42 is helpless against the mighty March 782 BMW. So, he comes back in Formula 3 where he wins the Monaco GP.
In 1979, he particpates for the first time to the Formula 1 world championship with the Shadow F1 team. Despite the limit of the Shadow DN9 he runs, the world of F1 discovers a highly skilled young driver. They don't see him too long as only a rich boy....they have now to count with his skillness.
In 1980, the Team Lotus offers him a seat where he will remain 6 seasons, alongside iconic drivers as Mario Andretti, Nigel Mansell and of course Ayrton Senna.
Elio will have his first victory in 1982, at the Austria GP, struggling with Keke Rosberg. Only a photograph will allow the race organisation to decide between them.
De Angelis will confirm he is a top driver.
The 1985 season will be a little difficult for him with a painfull cohabitation with the new rising star of F1, Ayrton Senna. He decides to leave Lotus and joins the Brabham team for the 1986 season.
During a private practice session aboard the technicaly over the edge but extremly difficult to drive Brabham BT55, Elio is the victim of a rear wing failure. In an odd set of circumstances, Elio will lost life by asphyxia depsite the desperate efforts of Alain Prost, Nigel Mansell and Alan Jones who tried to remove him from his upside down BT55, laying on the roll-bar.
All the world of F1 was depressed by this event because of the loss of a very gentle guy, with very good maner. From all testimony heard, Elio was kind and cool with anybody....in fact a real Gentleman.
And, Top Gear fans....look at his helmet shape on google image: HE IS the real STIG :D
French Driver Jean Alesi paid tribute to him arboring the very same helmet paint scheme.
AND he was not only a F1 Driver. Elio de Angelis was also a concert standard-pianist and a composer.There are several videos of him on Youtube playing pianos.
Now, the car: The scandalous and litigious but so sexy LOTUS 88.
At the very end of 70's, "wing cars" and their sliding side skits became the rule....and where more and more physicaly difficult to run for the drivers.
The decision took by the regulatory instances was to ban sliding skirts for the 1982 season.
Colin Chapman, the genius at the head of Lotus team decided to....play with the rules. If the skirts can't slide so...ok....well...Wait a minute....i will make the whole car body slide.
That's the way was born the Lotus 88 prototype in 1980, the Lotus 86. The structure of the car was simple: the car ran two chassis. One for the driver and the mecanical (in fact, the real chassis), one for the aerodynamic (a whole body with its own set of suspensions). This way, there is no sliding skirts (the whole body slides and is in permanent contact with the ground to assure the vaccum effect), no wings (the car is in fact a big wing with a V8). Furthermore, this F1 was the first to make an extensiv use of carbon fiber for its structural chassi (but not a full CF cell as will be the Mclaren MP4/1).
The other benefit was to dissociate the aerodynamic constrain from the mechanical constrain. The driver being in the mechanical chassis, he was far less exposed to physical stress in corners.
The 88 was introduced to the first 1981 GP, in USA and near automaticaly banned during practice session because of reclamations of other team-managers. In fact, the car was not so outlaw but other teams where afraid to be in the obligation to follow a new path created, again, by Colin Chapman (who introduced wings, sidepods and side skirts in F1).
The team Lotus contested the decision but was threatened to lose all his earned points if they dared to enter the 88 in a race. But, govern is forsee, the 88 was able to be converted in a regular F1, the Lotus 87, allowing Lotus to compete.
Colin Chapman, who will die in 1982 (some says the 88 affair made him ill), deserved more gratefullness from his peers.
As you know now, legends never die: they become bricks to build the future.
In memory of Elio De Angelis and Colin Chapman, i'me very proud to introduce the lego made of, 1:8 scale, LOTUS 88! As far as i know, it's the first lego Lotus 88 to be seen on the web.
As usual, technic V8 engine, suspensions, directions and TWO chassis feature reproduced (minus the second set of suspensions, was too much tricky to reproduce while remaining accurate), faithfull stickers home made...and the black JPS/COURAGE livery!
About this creation
The real STIG!
From left to right: Mecanical chassis, Aerodynamic chassis, bodywork.
This turned out more glorious than I could have hoped for! Fantastic shaping especially on the curves of the rear wing. The colors and stickers are spot on perfect, the Courage livery really pops as a true F1 should. Nothing better than the black and gold of a Chapman Lotus. ;) Truly at the top of my list of favorites from you. Outstanding Greg!