Marking the half-centenary of the Brazilian's first Formula 1 World Championship
50 years ago today, Emerson Fittipaldi took the first of his two Formula 1 World titles at the 1972 Italian Grand Prix with Team Lotus. Emerson has always considered that race at Monza to be his greatest achievement and we were honoured and tremendously excited to be invited by the two-time World Champion, and Clive Chapman of Classic Team Lotus, to mark the occasion in a remarkable and beautiful collaboration with artist and photographer Alan Thornton. Alan has taken Classic Team Lotus's 72D into the studio and shot it beautifully at very high resolution. Many hours of work followed, preparing the image in minute detail and separating into spot colours. With his London based team using hand pulled screen printing, he has rendered the image onto Naturalis paper, made in England, at a very large size: 1.5 metres wide and 1 metre high. Alan has used spot colours to maximise the intensity of the image and has rendered the gold parts of the livery in genuine 23.75 Carat Gold Leaf. The result is an imposing and incredibly beautiful handmade print, that delivers in equal and generous measure, the technical and engineering virtuosity of this revolutionary car, and the glamour of a truly golden age in F1.
Coming into the weekend, Fittipaldi had a 25-point lead over main rival Jackie Stewart with a potential 27 points left to score in the remaining three races. In a surprise twist, Fittipaldi's Lotus 72D was severely damaged on its way to Monza after the primary transporter blew a tire and crashed heavily on the Autostrada. The team's spare car, held back on the French side of the Mont Blanc Tunnel to minimize the chances of cars and equipment being seized by Italian authorities, suddenly became crucial. After a terrible practice session where the team had to spend their entire time optimising the car, the Brazilian qualified sixth.
Come race day, surrounded by a sea of Ferrari-backing Tifosi, the car sprang a leak from the main fuel tank only 45 minutes before the race start. The engineers were forced to pump the fuel out, then remove, repair, and replace the tank. This was completed merely minutes before the warm-up lap. All Fittipaldi's bad luck drained away as the Championship was essentially decided on the first lap: Stewart suffered gearbox failure on the grid and retired. However, that was not enough for the Brazilian, who coaxed his car through the race, outlasting the rivals who started ahead of him. He reached the chequered flag in first position, clinching the Constructors' Championship for Team Lotus and cementing his position as the youngest ever Formula 1 World Champion, a record that would stand until 2005.
The Alan Thornton Silkscreen Print Collection
Maserati 300S Engine Bay
A fine art screen print of the three litre straight-six engine of the Maserati 300S, capable of producing 245 bhp. Piloted by prestigious racers like Fangio, Moss, Musso, Cunningham, Behra, Mières, Gregory, Taruffi, Perdisa, Herrman and Shelby, the 300S raced with great success and firmly earned its position in the annals of sportscar history.
Lotus 72D Front View
This fine art screen print is of the Lotus 72D, the fourth iteration of the 72 raced by the Team Lotus in the FIA Formula 1 World Championship from 1970 to 1975. In the hands of Fittipaldi, the 72D won seven races and gained seven further podiums, playing its part in earning Team Lotus the 1972 and 1973 World Constructors' Championships.