Lotus Sculpture
by Gerry Judah


Lotus Sculpture by Gerry Judah

Designer Gerry Judah has created this white knotted sculpture of a race track for car brand Lotus at Goodwood Festival of Speed, which took place in West Sussex last weekend.


The structure features six historic Lotus Formula 1 cars secured onto 150 metres of winding road.

Lotus Sculpture by Gerry Judah

The hollow, 60-tonne sculpture is made from sheets of steel that have been joined at the edges to create triangular sections, which are self-supporting and require no internal frame.

Lotus Sculpture by Gerry Judah

This construction technique was used in tribute to Lotus founder and designer Colin Chapman (1928-1982) who introduced the monocoque chassis to automobile racing, enabling the chassis and body of a car to be made in one piece.

Lotus Sculpture by Gerry Judah

Judah creates an enormous car sculpture for the festival every year and you can see his previous ones here.

Lotus Sculpture by Gerry Judah

Photographs are by David Barbour.

Here’s some information about the project:

Lotus Sculpture, Goodwood Festival of Speed 2012

It is 2012 and every year a different car company sponsors a centrepiece sculpture for the Goodwood Festival of Speed. This is the sixteenth in a row that Gerry Judah has designed and produced, and this year it is bigger, more daring and beautiful, and more spectacular than ever before.

The sponsor this year is Lotus Cars. The sculpture itself is six historic Lotus Formula 1 cars driving on a winding road that has been tied into the shape of a half-hitch, or trefoil, knot. The road length is 150 metres, and the whole installation weighs 60 tonnes. There are six classic Formula 1 cars: the Lotus 32B (Jim Clark 1965), Lotus 49B (Graham Hill 1968), Lotus 72E (Emerson Fittipaldi 1973), Lotus 79 (Mario Andretti 1978), Lotus 99T (Ayrton Senna 1987) and the latest Lotus F1 Team challenger.

Lotus Sculpture by Gerry Judah

The sculpture is a triangular section, each of the three sides is what we call a continuously variable curve developable surface. This means that we start with flat sheet metal curves that can be rolled up and joined into three dimensional luxurious shapes. The result is a lightweight, extremely strong and rigid thin-shell structure, with no internal framework or core. Inside it is all empty space and what you see is the structure itself. The sculpture is 98% empty space. In automobile terms this would be a monocoque body, a tribute to the legendary designer and Lotus founder Colin Chapman's introduction of monocoque chassis construction to automobile racing.

Lotus Sculpture by Gerry Judah

What we have here is a technique for building freeform shapes. In the future we expect that lots of structures will be built like this, from bridges and large span buildings, to roller coasters, but before that we will be building some even more spectacular sculptures.

Client: Lotus Cars
Design and production: Gerry Judah
Engineering: Capita Symonds
Fabrication & installation: Littlehampton Welding
Photography: David Barbour

Posted on Tuesday July 3rd 2012 at 4:00 pm by Dani Admiss. Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • HBKZ

    I think the roller coasters with squared-section track which made of flat steel sheet (almost same as shown here) has been around for a long time already since the 80's, see manufacturer like B&M (Bolliger & Mabillard). their designs are architecturally gorgeous.

  • Pic

    Two shades of awful, one dollop of hopeless, and a whole load of ugly… when F1 cars are sculpturally beautiful, why the strangeness that is the above?!

  • It's kinda unfair since you can appreciate the gorgeous cars closely enough :(

    Maybe that was the point?

  • itch

    Last paragraph says it all. Brilliant work.

  • xtiaan

    The frame the cars are on would be beautiful by itself, the cars themselves are beautiful if you like that kind of thing. Together it just seems like a monument to excess and a dying planet. If it was an ironic sculpture it would work, as a showcase it just makes me think po-po-mod = mannerism.

  • Dahl

    Bill I know you are behind the build, as always amazing craftnmanship by Little Hampton welding!

    • CharlieO

      My Dad did the marketing for Littlehampton welding about 35 years ago – good to hear they're still going :)

  • Adam

    Worked well up close, allowing you to see the cars from viewpoints you'd never get to normally see.

  • Richard W S

    Whoever has any level of criticism against Gerry Judah’s sculpture(s) comes from a very deep level of envy or ignorance.

    His sculptures and the Goodwood Festival of Speed are tradition now.

    And Gerry is a terribly ingenious and talented artist/engineer/designer.

    If the problem is against a festival of motor sports… Well I suggest you go and burn your…. Bike tights. Leave this beautiful artefact well alone.

  • Zino

    Considering the venue is dedicated to vintage (and otherwise) auto-racing, and is populated by car enthusiasts, this is an entirely appropriate architectural response.

    The sculpture itself is admirably sleek and the cars make the clients happy.

    Not that it’s “art” only for car nuts. I like the whole thing as-is.

    Though the cars themselves AND the sculpture itself ARE fascinating enough on their own to stand alone, combining them in this Penrose/Escher-like form doesn’t bother me a bit.

  • Pat Floyd

    It combines the “long and winding road” of development of the F1 cars, the monocoque structure that Chapman brought to F1 (as Colin used to say “Build in lightness”, and that surprise element of not knowing what was round the corner.

    It will be overshadowed by the wondrous beauty of the cars themselves, the 49 and 72 in particular, but it does stand up in its own right. It makes you walk round and look. Taking photos of the cars on it was a wonderful and frustrating experience. You could just not get all the cars in one shot but the form made it so that any shot you took was amazingly artistic without trying.

    Form over Function or Function over Form? Love it or loath it, it made people talk, and isn’t that what art and design is all about?

  • Looking at the pictures of this sculpture does not bring it justice. I think we have to go up close and see the race track sculpture to fully understand the grandness and beauty of it. I would like to applaud the creator for a job well done. Lotus must be proud.