Beginning: Argentine Grand Prix, 1974
Final race: United States Grand Prix, 1975
Start of the race: 20
The grand prize begins: 24
Race wins: 1
Grand Prix wins: 0
Although it had redefined the technical size of Formula 1 when it was launched in 1967, the Lotus 49 had become less and less competitive by the summer of 1970. At the wheel of his Brooke Bond/Rob Walker Racing car, Graham Hill scores a few points at the start of the season. and finished sixth at Silverstone, but were desperate to get their hands on the client that 72 Lotus had so far been unable to provide. Chassis 4 would be that car.
In fact, it was a reworked version of the prototype 72/1 chassis, although it required significant modifications to upgrade it to 72C specification and very little of the original monocoque was preserved. No4 made his debut at the hands of Hill at the Oulton Park Gold Cup and retired early with low oil pressure – a fitting start, as it turned out, for what would be a short and without distinction.
The 72/4 chassis should have made its world championship debut at Monza, but was withdrawn – along with the factory 72s – following Jochen Rindt’s fatal crash in practice. Hill then drove the car to Canada, where it was too far behind to be ranked, to America and Mexico (where it was kicked out by clutch failure and overheating respectively).
After Walker entered into a partnership with Team Surtees for the following season, the car was sold to Jo Siffert who planned to rent it out to various drivers. Swiss sports car ace Herbert Müller was supposed to race it in Villiger livery in the 1971 Italian GP, but the car failed to materialize – and Siffert’s death later that year meant meant that the project was going no further.
The No4 was then acquired by the Fittipaldi brothers, who had it painted in the JPS livery to match Emerson’s winning car as closely as possible, and remained with them until respected dealership Adrian Hamilton bought it in 1985. He sold it to Brands Hatch. then owner John Foulston and, now in the 72/1 Gold Leaf livery, he regularly competed in historic events. After Foulston died in a test crash (driving a McLaren Indycar at Silverstone, September 1987), 72/4 remained with his family until Austrian collector Joe Willenpart acquired him in 2007. He died in 2015, since when the car has been owned by French enthusiast Richard Mille.