Radford’s Lotus Type 62/2 John Player Special revealed with 600bhp

Lotus Type 62/2 by Radford unveiled in range-topping John Player Special form

Long-standing Italian coachbuild brands like Touring Carrozzeria and Zagato were joined by the return of one of Britain’s most auspicious historical players last month, with the relaunch of Radford causing waves with a new sports model developed in partnership with Lotus. Only a month after its debut at The Quail, the Type 62/2 John Player Special has been unveiled as the third and most extreme variant in the lineup, and is set to make an appearance at Goodwood Revival later this month.

The Lotus Type 62/2 coachbuilt by Radford as it’s officially known, is as its name suggests a Lotus-derived sports car with a bespoke body sat on top. This partnership has defined the Type 62/2’s construction that like all (series-production) Lotus models is constructed from bonded and riveted aluminium. Precisely which Lotus model the Type 62/2 has borrowed from is still unknown, but the distinct fundamental proportions suggest it’s gone through quite a transformation from the current Lotus range. To help facilitate this change of proportions, the Radford has designed its own rear subframe from tubular aluminium, creating that extended rear deck, but the biggest difference to usual Lotus models is a bespoke carbonfibre roof, windscreen and firewall structure that partially makes up the passenger cell. 

> Lotus Emira GT4 revealed ahead of 2022 race debut

The bodywork’s skin is also constructed from a carbonfibre composite, which is both lighter than aluminium, and more flexible in manufacturing when built in such limited numbers. The composite is utilised across the front clamshell, roof, wings and doors complete with GT40-like roof cutouts. At just 1153mm tall, the Radford’s waist-height stance will likely result in a snug cabin, but at this point only the exterior has been visualised. 

This combination should yield impressive results on the scales, with Radford forecasting that in competition specification, the Type 62/2 will weigh around 1000kg dry, making it substantially lighter than the new Emira, and more closely matched to the V6-powered Exige S. There are now three variants of the Type 62/2, with a road-biased base car, the middling ‘Gold Leaf’ model and range-topping John Player Special.

Just 12 of the 62 cars will be built in JPS specification, paying homage to both the 1960s original and a number of other iconic racers of the ages. Sitting alongside the ordinary Classic and Gold Leaf cars, it features more than just a new paint job.

Powering the Type 62/2 is a supercharged 3.5-litre V6 engine available in three states of tune depending on the model. Standard models produce 430bhp, the Gold Leaf 500bhp and this JPS 600bhp. JPS models develop their extra power from the use of reinforced pistons, conrods and camshafts, joined by a larger supercharger, resulting in the quoted 600bhp output. 

The engine itself is the same Toyota-derived unit that’s been found in Lotus models since the original Evora, and powers the rear wheels exclusively through either a six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch. Radford has not specified where the dual-clutch transmission will be supplied from – this is an unusual inclusion as currently there’s no V6 and dual-clutch combination available within the Lotus range, as the Emira’s V6 is only available with a torque-converter, its new dual-clutch is coming later with the AMG-sourced four-cylinder. 

The JPS also features bespoke bodywork in comparison to the lesser cars, reworked to signal its rise in performance, with the front splitter and rear diffuser enlarged for improved downforce and the intakes resculpted to help keep that upgraded V6 cool.

All models run a staggered wheel and tyre package, with base versions running 17- and 18-inch, and the two models above it running bigger 18- and 19-inch options. JPS models will run on Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres, lighter 18- and 19-inch carbon composite wheels and AP Monobloc calipers acting upon 360mm carbon ceramic rotors. The suspension design has not been confirmed, but we suspect it’ll feature a similar setup to other Lotus models which run a double wishbone setup at the front, running new adjustable coilovers with a hydraulic nose-lift. The standard and Gold Leaf cars utilise 4-piston AP Racing setup on the front axle, with the steering is totally unassisted.  

No further detail as to the car’s interior or pricing has yet been revealed, although Radford has confirmed that there’ll be a total build run of just 62 units. But this poses a question. With series production sports cars looking increasingly short of time, does this low-volume coachbuild tradition actually look to be the future for the internal combustion sports car? Whatever the case, expect to see more of this sort of specialised low-volume in the coming years, with more companies like Radford ready in waiting to capitalise on a new market less interested in ultimate performance than driving something more bespoke.

Production is scheduled to begin in late 2021 with first deliveries commencing in 2022.

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