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Brabham BT34
Scale 1/20
Kit Manufacturer
Detail Sets Thundervalley F1, Studio 27, Acustion
Year 1987
Driver Ayrton Senna (Bra)
Event Detroit GP
Paint Zero Paints Camel Yellow
Date Completed October 2007
Additions Comprehensive upgrades and scratch made parts added throughou
Box Art boxart

The 99T was the Team Lotus entry into the 1987 Formula 1 season designed by GĂ©rard Ducarouge. With Renault pulling out of F1 the previou season, Lotus signed a deal with Honda to use their turbocharged 1.5-litre engine. Honda were already supplying Williams and they had exclusive use of the 1987-spec RA167E unit, Lotus therefore had to settle for the previous season's RA166E engine. As part of this deal, Honda's test driver Satoru Nakajima moved to Lotus as teammate to Ayrton Senna running the number 11 & 12 cars respectively.

The car featured active computerised suspension which compensated for track conditions, speed, steering and even weight changes caused by the ever-decreasing fuel load carried by the car during a race. The 99T was the first Lotus car to feature a new main sponsor - Camel. Their long standing partnership with John Player Special coming to an end the previous season. The Camel scheme could not have been more different, gone was the black and gold colours replaced with a simple bright yellow body colour with blue sponsor logos.

The car won at Monaco and Detroit and showed the way for Formula One to evolve in the next few years. The dimensions of the 99T dwarfed those of the Williams FW11B which also competed that year. As well as the poorer drag factor of the bigger body the active suspension proved to be a double edged sword. It's hydraulic pump, driven off the back of one of the camshafts, used a chunk of power from the Honda engine and there was a weight penalty of around 12 kilos. In effect the Lotus Honda needed more power and therefore more fuel to match the straight-line speeds of the Williams Honda. With fuel restricted to 180 litres, Senna often had to plan his race strategy with economy being top of the list, which was not his natural way in a race car. Ayrton eventually took third in the drivers championship, Nelson Piquet took the title with Williams.

I will be building the Ayrton Senna car (No.12) raced at the Detroit Grand Prix of 1987. This differs from the Tamiya kit in several areas and I will be using the Studio 27 transkit in order to makes these changes to the car. The majority of the upgrades to the kit will be made using the Thunder Valley F1 detail set, this is an exceptionally detailed set and is thoroughly recommended. For more info see it on the Thunder Valley F1 site, this set really allows the builder to take the kit to 'another level', I would also recommended the Studio 27 Detroit/Monaco transkit kit too.

Lotus 99T Gallery
Click above for build and completed pictures

Ayrton Senna - 1987 Italian GP
Ayrton Senna - 1987 Belgian GP
Ayrton Senna - 1987 Portugese GP
Ayrton Senna - 1987 USA GP
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