'She'll inspire women for decades' - More tributes to Lotus cars' Hazel Chapman

Classic Team Lotus festival,snetterton Race Track; hazel Chapman; Photo: Jerry Daws; Copy:; ©Archan

Hazel Chapman pictured at Snetterton race track in 2010. - Credit: Jerry Daws

Tributes to the trailblazing Hazel Chapman, a co-founder of Lotus, have continued to pour in from motoring and racing enthusiasts from around the globe. 

Mrs Chapman, wife of the late Colin Chapman, has been acknowledged for her vital and inspirational role in the British automotive company’s legacy.

She died on December 13 at her home near Hethel, near Wymondham, aged 94. 

Hazel Chapman in the prototype type 12 which is being restored by mechanic Bob Dance. Picture: SUBMI

Hazel Chapman in the prototype type 12. Picture: SUBMITTED - Credit: Submitted

Automotive journalist and founder of Racing Mentor, Jess Shanahan, of Norwich, described her as “an inspiration to women everywhere”. 

“Without her, Lotus wouldn’t be where it is today,” she said. 

“When I was building my career in automotive and motorsport, Hazel always stood out as a role model. Not only as a business person but as a racing driver, too.  

“She built a successful career and shaped an iconic company in a time when women often stayed in the background. Her contribution to the industry is to be celebrated and I’m sure she’ll continue to inspire women for decades to come.” 

Staff at Norwich-based business, Fulcher Coachtrimmers Ltd, who previously met Mrs Chapman, also paid their respects. 

Lotus managing director Matt Windle Norfolk

Lotus managing director Matt Windle - Credit: Denise Bradley

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Managing director of Lotus Cars, Matt Windle, said: “Without Hazel Chapman, there would be no Lotus. The entire Hethel team, and those working at our facilities around the world, send their sincere condolences and best wishes to the Chapman family.” 

The huge Lotus community and following also paid tribute, from Lotus itself to Absolute Lotus magazine, which is dedicated to enthusiasts, stating they were “saddened to learn that Hazel Chapman had passed away”. 

Hazel Chapman presented with Lotus's 100,000th car for the company's 70th anniversary. Photo: Lotus

Hazel Chapman presented with Lotus's 100,000th car for the company's 70th anniversary. Photo: Lotus - Credit: Lotus

As well as priding herself on working with almost every Lotus Formula 1 driver - including motorsport names such as Jim Clark, Graham Hill, Jochen Rindt, Emerson Fittipaldi, Mario Andretti, Nigel Mansell and Ayrton Senna – Mrs Chapman also founded the Women’s Motor Racing Associates Club (WMRAC) sport club. 

The club then became known in motor racing circles by its familiar name “The Doghouse Owners”. 

A spokesperson from the club, founded during the 1960s, said: “It is with great sadness that we hear of the passing of Hazel Chapman age 94. 

“Our condolences to her family and friends.” 

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