It was the colour scheme of Formula One world champions, with Emerson Fittipaldi and Mario Andretti at the wheel of legendary Lotus F1 cars like the Type 72 and Type 78 ground-effect car, and now the famous JPS black and gold livery of the 1970s and ‘80s is back – this time on the road.
Radford, the sports car company founded by Jenson Button and Ant Anstead amongst others, has revealed the most extreme version of its Type 62-2, the John Player Special. The association seems apt, given much of the Type 62-2 is based on Lotus technology.
Only 12 of the 600bhp John Player Special sports cars will be built, and Button promises it will be “very light, very fast and nimble – a proper assault on the senses that will hold its own among even the most accomplished track cars.”
After searches, Radford is believed to have discovered that the intellectual property behind JPS had lapsed, and secured the rights to one of the most distinctive visual identities ever to feature in Formula One.
The JPS car will make its first official public debut next week at Goodwood Revival. It is the most extreme version of the Type 62-2 – and the third and final version of the car to be announced. It sits alongside the ‘Classic’ version, providing subtle design cues to the original Type 62 Lotus car, and a ‘Gold Leaf’ version, which pays homage to the race car’s iconic Gold Leaf livery.
The black-and-gold livery most famously appeared on the Lotus Type 72D F1 racer, in which Emerson Fittipaldi claimed five victories and the championship title during the 1972 season.
The livery remained on Lotus Formula One cars until 1986, and the 98T, driven by Ayrton Senna.
Former F1 world champion Button said: “We’re so excited to have acquired this trademark. John Player Special is, without question, one of the most iconic racing liveries ever to grace a Formula 1 car.
“For me, it conjures images of the ‘Golden era’ of Formula One racing, adorning cars driven by heroes such as Emerson Fitipaldi and Ayrton Senna. Legends that inspired me to want to become a racing driver.
The paintwork on the JPS cars features bespoke gold paint which is set against 10 layers of dark Candy Black. The JPS also wears a gold pinstripe hand-painted underneath the clearcoat. Radford says the look pays tribute to the original JPS colour scheme, but with a modern and exciting twist.
The John Player Special version of the Type 62-2 is said to be lighter, faster and more focussed than the Gold Leaf car – Radford describing it as closer to a race car than a road car. Its 3.5-litre supercharged V6 engine has been tuned to produce 600bhp, by using upgraded pistons, con-rods, camshafts, bespoke calibration and a larger, upgraded supercharger.
While no kerbweight or performance figures are quoted, the JPS edition is likely to sneak under 1000 kilos. Other features unique to the JPS car include AP Monobloc brake calipers and fully carbon ceramic brake rotors, which are 360mm in diameter. These are housed within larger 18-inch front and 19-inch Dymag carbon composite wheels – which lower the unsprung mass, and improve the nimble handling characteristics of the car, yet further. The composite wheels wear Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres.
Visually, at the front of the car, the Type 62-2 JPS car’s splitter is more pronounced, providing a race car stance. At the side of the car, the air intakes are larger to cool the more powerful combustion engine, while at the rear, the diffuser is extended for increased aerodynamic downforce.
Button says the JPS Type 62-2 is “even more dynamically focussed and extremely capable on both road and track – it’s very light, very fast and nimble – a proper assault on the senses that will hold its own among even the most accomplished track cars. Naturally, it is also embellished with all of the high-end touches of a bespoke coachbuilder such as Radford.”
The new JPS version will enter production at the end of the year, and customer cars will be delivered next year.