If you had to pick just one race car from the last 100 years, which one would it be? Well, that was the question that Motor Sport Magazine asked. Its readers voted in the thousands, and the worthy winner of “Race Car of the Century” was (insert drum roll here) the Lotus 49, powered by the Cosworth DFV.

Cosworth Lotus 49

Motor Sport Reaches 100

The competition was arranged by Motor Sport Magazine to celebrate their 100th birthday. In 1924 the magazine was first published under the name “The Brooklands Gazette”. It soon changed its name to “Motor Sport”, and later adopted the familiar green cover that we now recognise today.

Over the years the magazine has been the staple diet for many motor racing enthusiasts, with input from esteemed journalists such as Denis Jenkinson, Nigel Robuck and Simon Arron. The magazine covered Formula 1 of course, but also reported on dozens of other motor sport catagories. More importantly, it provided a refreshing mix of current-day events combined with incredible articles that paid homage to the history of the sport.

The late Simon Arron was incredibly helpful to us when we first started dabbling in the world of historic motorsport 10 years ago. We were honoured to be interviewed by Simon for a profile on Cosworth history back in the March 2015 edition.

The Nominations

There was a mouth-watering collection of cars to choose from, representing the finest cars across different eras and disciplines. The mix including the 1998 McLaren MP4/4, the 1996 WRC Subaru Impreza and the Porsche 917.

This wasn’t a question of which car was the most successful, or the fastest, or the most powerful. There was no selection criteria, instead readers were just asked to name which car in their opinion was the “Race Car of the Century”.

No doubt everyone had their own interpretation of what constitutes the “Race Car of the Century”, but for many voters the decision came down to which race car had the most impact on motor sport.

And the Winner Is…

The magazine organised a gala event at the Dorchester Hotel in London to reveal the winner. Present were some of the sport’s most illustrious stars, including Sir Jackie Stewart, Adrian Newey and Ross Brawn. And the 100th birthday celebration was a fitting event for the announcement of the winner.

Despite the stiff competition, the Lotus 49 came out on top and picked up the prestigious award of “Race Car of the Century”.

Rather fittingly, the award was presented to Clive Chapman, son of Lotus founder Colin Chapman, by none other than Damon Hill, son of Graham Hill who was the first driver to clinch the championship in the Lotus 49.

Powered by Cosworth

The Lotus 49 and the Cosworth DFV will forever be inextricably linked. Perhaps for the first time in motor sport history, two separate engineering companies worked in harmony to create the perfect winning package of car and engine.

Cosworth DFV in Lotus 49

The Lotus 49 went on to take 12 wins in 42 races, two Formula 1 drivers’ championships and two Formula 1 constructors’ championships. The DFV could lay claim to even greater success, securing 155 wins, 12 drivers’ championships and 10 constructor’s championships.

Without a doubt, the Lotus 49 and the Cosworth DFV changed the face of Formula 1 and motor sport in general – a worthy winner of “Race Car of the Century”.

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