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Lola considering Formula One return in 2010 22 Apr 2009

Alan Jones (AUS) Lola THL1, DNF European Grand Prix, Brands Hatch, 6 October 1985 John Surtees (GBR) Lola Mk4 suffered a big accident after a suspension failure and was lucky to escape uninjured. Dutch Grand Prix, Zandvoort, 20 May 1962. Chris Amon (NZL) Lola Mk4A retired after 29 laps with a mechanical failure. Dutch Grand Prix, Zandvoort, 23 June 1963. Graham Hill (GBR) Embassy-Hill Lola T370 finished thirteenth. British Grand Prix, Brands Hatch, 20 July 1974.

British race car makers Lola have commenced a major evaluation project aimed at developing a car to compete in the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship and could formally lodge an entry within the next few weeks. It follows March’s confirmation of FIA plans to introduce of a ‘cost capping’ option to teams next year.

Lola’s previous Formula One involvement dates from the 1960s through to the late ‘90s and now the Huntingdon-based company is in discussions with a number of parties with a view to designing, manufacturing and developing a new F1 car, subject to final confirmation of the 2010 regulations.

“The announcement that Formula One teams may opt for a prudent, financially responsible ‘cost capped’ regime from 2010 has resulted in us deciding to fully evaluate the opportunity to develop a car to compete in the FIA Formula One World Championship,” said Martin Birrane, Executive Chairman of Lola Group.

“The current necessity for Formula One to adopt a responsible approach in times of economic uncertainty has created the ideal conditions for us to consider developing a car for the World Championship.”

Lola, whose last F1 entry came at the 1997 Australian Grand Prix, have appointed new key staff to the project and allocated some of their top engineers to the evaluation. The company already has at its disposal a Formula One standard wind tunnel, latest Computational Fluid Dynamics and Finite Element Analysis equipment and a seven-post dynamic chassis rig.

“Lola possesses the technical resources, capability and know-how to develop cars capable of competing at the very highest levels of international motor sport, including Formula One,” added Birrane. “We are therefore embracing the WMSC’s timely announcements and assessing a relevant programme for F1 with a view to making formal entry in the coming weeks.”

In addition to Formula One involvement spanning the 1960’s, 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, Lola’s racing heritage includes production of championship-winning and one-make formulae cars for Champ Car in America, Formula Nippon in Japan, Formula 3000, Formula 3 and A1GP in Europe. The company currently produces the race-winning LMP1 and LMP2 sports cars competing in both the Le Mans Endurance Series and American Le Mans Series.