Lola Heritage


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THE LOLA Mk3

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In an effort to get on terms with the rear-engined Lotus and Cooper designs Eric Broadley adopted an "if you can't beat 'em, copy 'em" approach, the result of this eminently sensible philosophy was Lola's first rear-engined car, the Mk3.

It was an unusual looking car for the period with the fuel tank placed between the engine and driver which together with the short nose emphasised the forward seating position of the driver. The spaceframe chassis was constructed from 18 gauge tubes of mainly 1" and 0.75" diameter and was well-triangulated for extra rigidity. As on the Mk2 the undertray acted as a stressed member by being riveted to the chassis. At the rear the frame holding the engine and gearbox was designed for ease of removal with the frame being bolted to the four main longitudinal chassis members, it was located by tapers on the members together with taper washers to ensure a tight fit. This allowed for the engine and gearbox to be removed speedily as a single unit from the rest of the car when maintenance was required, it was claimed that one mechanic could complete an engine-change in one hour. Suspension was virtually identical to the Mk2 with a lower wishbone with adjustment for camber and toe in at the rear, as before the driveshaft and trailing link acted as a top wishbone. There were subtle changes to the front however with the coil spring and damper units being mounted behind the wishbones whilst the steering arms running from the rack and pinion steering rack to the Triumph Herald uprights are inclined rearwards instead of forwards, in addition an adjustable anti-roll bar has been added.
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Although, with the adoption of a rear-engined design, the problems of the offset transmission of the Mk2 was no longer an issue the gearbox on the Mk3 was offset to the right with unequal sized castings attaching the backplates of the inboard rear brakes to the gearbox and having the effect of equalising driveshaft length. The 5-speed gearbox design would have an important place in motor racing history, the internal gears were Lola-made but the external casing was based on a VW unit and was designed and built by Mike Hewland, the first entry of a Hewland gearbox in motorsport. The Hewland design allowed for the gears to be changed with the gearbox still in situ.

Brakes were finned Alfin alloy drums at the front, at the rear a composite drum was used comprising of a cast iron drum to which is riveted an electron side with a concave shape which allowed for a longer driveshaft than would have been possible with a standard design. The brakes were operated by a twin master cylinder system. Wheels were again 13" magnesium bolt-ons with 4.50 X 13 tyres at the front and 5.50 X 13 at the rear.

The engines were, unusually for the time, dry-sumped with a wedge shaped oil tank being placed beside the fuel tank, behind the driver. Both tanks were designed to be surge resistant and the oil tank was cooled by a scoop in the bodywork. Initially the engines were 997cc Ford 105E units canted over at 15° (as on the Mk2) and fitted with two twin-choke 40 DCOE2 Webers, the units were tuned by John Young of Superspeed and 85 bhp at 7200 rpm was claimed. As the 1961 season progressed the engines would be replaced by 1096 cc units.
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For the 1961 season Lola Equipé ran three cars for their usual works driver Peter Ashdown as well as John Hine and Dick Prior whilst Scuderia Light Blue ran a car for either Hugh Dibley or Dizzie Addicott. In addition to these teams the other most notable competitor was Dennis Taylor who ran a car for himself. Lotus were very much ruling the F Junior roost especially in the UK and results for the Mk3 were generally disappointing. Dizzie Addicott taking a win at the fairly uncompetitive BARC Members Meeting at Goodwood in July whilst Richard Prior won the John Law Trophy at Snetterton in the same month. Peter Ashdown took a second at the Whit Monday Mallory event in May (John Hine finishing third) and a third at Goodwood's Chichester Cup in April. Dennis Taylor was second at Brands Hatch in the October John Davy Trophy, third at Goodwood in August and repeated the feat in the September Trophy at Crystal Palace. Hugh Dibley took a second at Goodwood in September and that was it as far as the UK was concerned.
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On the Continent Dennis Taylor was second to Jo Siffert's Lotus on the Nürburgring South Circuit in April and Bill McGowen was second for the Fitzwilliam Team at Djurgården, Finland in May. Rob Slotemaker also racing for the Fitzwilliam Team took a third at Monza in June but no other podium places were won.

The Mk3 was, on several occasions, "best of the rest" behind Lotus but with the number of cars that Colin Chapman had sold in 1961 this usually meant a struggle to get into the top six.

As a footnote a Scuderia Light Blue car (listed as chassis BRJ38) was fitted with a 1340 cc Ford Capri/Classic 109E engine and entered in the Lewis-Evans Trophy for Formula 1 cars at Brands Hatch in October. The Mk3 was driven by Hugh Dibley who qualified sixth out of a feld of twelve cars, Dibley went well until a wheel bearing seized on lap 12 of the 30 lap race, thus ended Lola's first F1 race.

(With grateful thanks to Marc Fenijn for additional information)
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Year(s) of Construction: 1961

Total Built: 11

DIMENSIONS
Wheelbase: 88 inches (223.5 cm)
Track: Front 48 inches (122 cms) Rear 48 inches (122 cms)
Length: 142 inches (360.5 cms)
Weight: approx. 805 lbs (365 kg) without fuel

Notable Mk3 Race Wins:

1961

DATE
VENUE/MEETING
DRIVER
NOTES
1st July Goodwood - XLVII B.A.R.C. Members' Meeting Dizzy Addicott Formula Junior - First win for a rear-engined Lola
23rd July Snetterton - John Law Trophy Richard Prior Formula Junior - Entered by Lola Equipe

1962

DATE
VENUE/MEETING
DRIVER
NOTES
15th April International Conference of N/W SCC Championship Races, Westwood Circuit, B.C. Terry Nilsson Race 7 - Modified and Formula Junior
15th April International Conference of N/W SCC Championship Races, Westwood Circuit, B.C. Terry Nilsson Race 10 - Formula Libre)
17th June St Eugene, Canada Ernie Devos Formula Junior
? June Mosport Park Ernie Devos Formula Libre?
13th-14th July Harewood Acres, Jarvis, Ontario - Harewood Trophy Races Ernie Devos Formula Junior - Race 1
13th-14th July Harewood Acres, Jarvis, Ontario - Harewood Trophy Races Ernie Devos Formula Junior - Race 2 (Feature Race)
22nd July Westwood Circuit, B.C. Terry Nilsson Modified Race
25th August Harewood Acres, Jarvis, Ontario - Harewood Trophy Races Ernie Devos Formula Junior - Race 1
25th August Harewood Acres, Jarvis, Ontario - Harewood Trophy Races Ernie Devos Formula Junior - Race 2
25th August Harewood Acres, Jarvis, Ontario - Harewood Trophy Races Ernie Devos Formula Junior - Race 3 (Feature Race)
8th September Mosport Park Ernie Devos Formula Junior
28th October Westwood Circuit, B.C. Terry Nilsson Modified and Formula Junior - Winner Formula Junior Class
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2008

DATE
VENUE/MEETING
DRIVER
NOTES
19th-20th July Silverstone - HSCC Hans Jorgen Krag Formula Junior - 1958-1963 - Winner Race 1 Class D
19th-20th July Silverstone - HSCC Hans Jorgen Krag Formula Junior - 1958-1963 - Winner Race 2 Class D

2016

DATE
VENUE/MEETING
DRIVER
NOTES
28th August Oulton Park Gold Cup Historic Race Meeting Robin Longdon HSCC/FJHRA Silverline Historic Formula Junior Rear Engine - Race 1 - Winner Class D2

2017

DATE
VENUE/MEETING
DRIVER
NOTES
27th August Oulton Park Gold Cup Historic Race Meeting Peter De La Roche HSCC/FJHRA Silverline Historic Formula Junior - Race 1 - Winner Class D2
27th August Oulton Park Gold Cup Historic Race Meeting Peter De La Roche HSCC/FJHRA Silverline Historic Formula Junior - Race 2 - Winner Class D2
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