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A scholarly recovery program
Lola Cars has been acquired by Till Bechtolsheimer, a British driver from the US-based IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship who aims to bring the car brand back to the international racing scene. Bechtolsheimer acquired the brand in late 2021, and it took the first six months of 2022 to launch the people and programs needed to get Lola back to the top disciplines.
Having produced close to 5,000 race cars in 400 different types of models, Lola’s later catalog is lucrative and provides an excellent basis for the next generation of race cars. “I’ve always had a passion for motor sports and like most motoring enthusiasts, I’ve always loved the Lola brand.”said Bechtolsheimer. “What Eric Broadley and Martin Birrane have achieved with Lola is impressive. It’s a daunting but exciting prospect to try to rebuild Lola by following in her footsteps and doing justice to her legacy.”
Amanda Birrane, president of Peer Group plc, the Birrane family-based real estate company based in London, said: “My family is very happy that the Lola brand is owned by a businessman and racing driver who will write the next chapter for this long-established British company. Car racing icon. My dad would love to see Lola back to competitive sport and especially at Le Mans. We wish Till every success. “
“I have a huge respect for the industry and I understand it will be a long process.” Bechtolsheimer continued. “We have immediate plans for substantial updates to the Lola Tech Center, especially the wind tunnel, and we are actively working on our first project to get the new Lola back on track. I firmly believe that our biggest asset is the name of Lola and the that he The means for so many people in the motorsport industry will help us attract great talent and form lasting collaborations. “
A monument of race cars
Lola’s name has the advantage of being known, respected and having an immense historical heritage. Founded by Eric Broadley in 1958, Lola entered F1 in 1962, participating intermittently in the world championship for several decades. In the sixties, Lola gained a major reputation with a victory in the Indy 500 in 1966 and also thanks to the production of the legendary T70, which won the 24 Hours of Daytona in 1969. Before Dallara acquired a real monopoly , Lola was one of the leading car manufacturers in the world, winning nearly 200 victories in the CART / Indycar / Champcar series, and the brand was a real craft, producing F5000, F3, Group C prototypes, F3000, Formula Atlantic . the Ford Formula.
In F1, the story was complicated, linking partnerships with Beatrice Haas in the 1980s, then Larrousse, Scuderia Italia and ending the terrible fiasco of the 1997 Lola Mastercard. In 1998, Martin Birrane took over from Lola who he experienced a real renaissance, especially in F1. sports prototypes where the manufacturer produces many LMP2 chassis but also LMP1, including the magnificent Lola Aston Martin B09 / 60 that delighted enthusiasts with its lines, engine and performance. But despite a diversification in aeronautics among others, Lola suffers the loss of the single-seater markets, due to a trend towards the unique design formula that will be more successful in Dallara. Thus, Lola filed for bankruptcy in 2012, recovering part of the assets of the company Multimatic.
Lola’s name is revived by Til Bechtolsheimer, an IMSA pilot. The process will still be long, but we are only excited to see the resurrection of such an emblematic shield of the race car. It remains to be seen in which disciplines.