Racing fans and older readers will recall the era of racing cars in the 1970s with black and gold livery of John Player Special, the cigarette brand. While there were various teams (including one in Malaysia) that had JPS colours on their cars, the best known would be Team Lotus in Formula 1, which was run by Colin Chapman himself.
The colour scheme first appeared on the Lotus Type 72D which Emerson Fittipaldi raced to 5 victories and championship victory during the 1972 Formula 1 season. It was used on Lotus Formula 1 cars until 1986 and the Lotus 98T driven by the legendary Ayrton Senna.
For those who want that iconic black and gold livery as well as an exclusive car, British coachbuilder Radford is producing a sportcar in those JPS colours. The company has a history going back to 1948 but disappeared after 1966. It was revived in recent years and among the new investors is former F1 champion, Jenson Button.
Radford’s sportscar is designated the Type 62-2 and is the most extreme version of the world’s first modern Radford. It is also the third and final version of the car to be announced, positioned alongside the ‘Classic’ version with subtle design cues to the original Type 62 Lotus car. The JPS Type 62-2 wears a modern twist on the iconic John Player Special livery.
“The Radford Type 62-2 in John Player Special guise is a very unique proposition. From a design perspective, the JPS car really stands out as being more extreme than its Classic and Gold Leaf siblings, with larger diffusers, air intakes and wheels. Sporting what is certainly the most iconic racing livery ever to grace a Formula 1 car, gives the car a real presence and sense of occasion,” said Mark Stubbs, one of the owners of Radford.
“The John Player Special Type 62-2 is the most extreme Type 62-2 that money can buy. It is low, sleek and powerful and sports one of the most iconic racing liveries ever created – one of the liveries that the heroes of Formula 1 such as Emerson Fittipaldi and Ayrton Senna used to race with, in the cars that made me want to be a driver,” added Jenson Button. Needless to say, the former F1 driver has been responsible for chassis tuning.
Radford’s first model of the modern era is built in a partnership with Lotus. While the mid-engine two-seater coupe takes inspiration from the revered 1960’s Lotus Type 62, it has the marque’s latest technologies. Only 62 cars will be available worldwide, with each units built precisely to its individual owner’s desired specification. Of those 62 cars, only 12 will have the JPS colours. Production of the Radford Type 62-2 begins in late 2021, with first deliveries being made in 2022.
The JPS Type 62-2 offers owners several key enhancements over the other Radford models. It is lighter, faster and more focussed than the Gold Leaf car (another version) – and is closer to a racing car than a roadcar. It produces up to 600 bhp from a 3.5-litre supercharged V6 engine with a DCT.
There are AP Monobloc calipers and fully carbon ceramic brake rotors, which are 360 mm 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 are shod with Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres.
The design of the JPS is another area where the car differentiates itself from the rest of the range. In every area of the bodywork the car is more extreme than its stablemates. At the front of the car, the splitter is more pronounced, providing a racing 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 again more extreme, extending further out for increased aerodynamic downforce.
The paintwork is another area worthy of mention. An exquisitely conceptualised and constructed finish has resulted from many hours of formulation and research. The layer of bespoke gold paint glints through 10 layers of rich, dark Candy Black. In certain lighting and at certain angles, the paint provides a subtle nod to the original JPS colour scheme, but with a modern and exciting twist. Cars sold to customers will include a gold pinstripe meticulously hand-painted underneath the clearcoat.