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THE LOLA T160
The T70 had had a successful Can-Am career, winning the inaugural Championship in 1966 with John Surtees, Mark Donohue and Dan Gurney winning five out of the six races and Surtees and Donohue finishing 1-2 in the Championship standings. 1967 saw just one win for the T70 and Surtees as the chassis, which was not designed for the ever-widening Can-Am tyres and the 600+ bhp that the 7-litre Ford and Chevrolet engines were now producing was now showing its age. Additionally the arrival of McLaren's "Bruce and Denny Show" upped the ante severely so, for 1968, Lola introduced the T160.
Unfortunately, Lola were late in delivering the cars to their customers and, although John Surtees carried out the initial testing of the car, it was almost immediately obvious that the car had problems, it was overweight, and its handling did not give confidence. Furthermore the car was designed to accept the "small-block" Chevy V8 and other teams, notably McLaren, had stepped up to the "Big-block" engines.
Surtees began to develop the car to his own ideas, most obviously fitting a high rear wing and modifying the bodywork, in fact Surtees now called his car a Lola TS160 or Lola TS1 (TS for Team Surtees) but it was to no avail as he was plagued with unreliability. Although a number of customers bought cars results were generally disappointing as the McLarens, both works and customer versions and the Chaparral were generally faster. The only results of note were a couple of thirds and fourths as, ironically, the best Lola result went to a T70, George Follmer in a MkIIIB at Las Vegas.
Year(s) of Construction: 1968
Total Built: 11
The following article by James Tosen originally appeared in Motor magazine.
It takes at least a year to develop a competitive sports or GT car and probably another six months or a year before it can begin to fulfil some of its designer's aims. When you consider that at present the CSI sees fit to effect major changes to its championship regulations at least annually and the rules for one season are not fixed until the previous June, it is not difficult to see why several manufacturers have tired of getting fingers burnt over Groups 4 and 6. And with Porsche having already mopped up Daytona and Sebring, Le Mans looks like ending up as a battle between the durable sophistication of the little Porsches and the brute force of the front-engined 7 litre Chevy Corvettes: no serious works entries from Chaparral, Ford, Ferrari or Lola. One reason for the present set of rules was undoubtedly to counteract some of the might of Ford but it has left Ferrari with at least a quarter of a million pounds worth of redundant 4-litre engine. Small wonder they have decided to concentrate on F1 where at least three years freedom from change is guaranteed.
Most of Eric Broadley's considerable energies at Lola are now concentrated on his new single-seater for the SCCA's 5-litre Formula A and a new car to contest the Can -Am series, all very encouraging for the British Export Council and the Back Britain movement but rather depressing for enthusiasts who have to watch most of their motor racing on this side of the Atlantic. Broadley's predicament is rather similar to that of Enzo Ferrari though his stock of redundant engines is worth rather less.
When the present Championship regulations were announced last year, reducing the Group 6 prototypes to a maximum of 3-litres capacity and Group 4 sports cars to 5-litres with a minimum homologation quantity of 50 built, Broadley managed to get the T70 homologated with a 5-litre engine. He has actually made about 90 open and closed cars and the 5-litre T70 Mk 3 is still a force to reckon with in GT racing, even though the simplest means to meet the limit — sleeving down the more easily acquired litre unit — gives the engine somewhat irregular dimensions. But Broadley feels that Group 4 will never produce its full potential until regulations governing engine size, by far the most difficult factor for the manufacturer to adjust, are allowed to remain fixed for much longer periods. Changes to Appendix J which controls body dimensions, cockpit width, windscreen height, luggage capacity, etc., are minor irritants but usually met without too much difficulty. The engine capacities of the classes within each group are decided by the Championship Regulations which are issued each spring and guaranteed only for the season immediately following. The 1969 regulations have just been released, actually two months earlier than usual, and retain the 3-litre and 5-litre limits, but 1970 is anybody's guess. Hence a brand-new car, the T160, for Can-Am where a reasonable life free from official interference is assured.
Though the T70 coupé will continue to be developed for GT racing, the growth in tyre sizes and the enormous power outputs obtainable from the 7-litre engines permitted under Can-Am regulations have put this category a little beyond its capabilities. It was originally designed in 1964 to the previous Appendix C when its 9-in. rims were considered huge. Progress since then, including raising rear wheel rim sizes to 14 in., has increased cornering forces and hence loading on suspension anchorage points while at the same time the amount of available material has had to be reduced in making room to get them in. Eventually a new chassis becomes more expedient than continued modification.
About 12 T160s are to be built at present, two for the official Team Surtees entries; the US agent Carl Haas has already sold the other 10. The general layout follows the lines set by the T 70, and indeed most other Can-Am cars, with a punt type monocoque chassis of aluminium sheet braced with steel fabrications.
With anything up to 600 b.h.p. to push the car along, strength is at least as important as weight, though at 130 lb. for the chassis complete, it is not exactly heavy — about the same as the T 70. But with most of the sheet being 16 gauge it is immensely rigid; 7,500 lb.ft. per degree is claimed, a very high torsional stiffness for a racing car and about two and a half times stiffer than the T 70. The amount of steel has been greatly reduced in the interests of simplicity although manufacture is made a little more difficult by the need to clip almost the entire structure together and rivet it in one operation.
The chassis consists basically of two side sponsons roughly quarter circular in section (containing the bag fuel tanks) and these extend rearwards to form forks which cradle the engine. They are joined by the floor and a substantial cross member which forms the back of the seat in front of the engine bay; by a wide bracing member recessed for the battery box under the driver's knees; and by a square section hoop forming the scuttle and instrument panel mounting. A rectangular tunnel extends forward of this to end in a sheet bulkhead and two steel fabricated cross-members, one supporting the pedals and the forward pivots of the lower front suspension arms and another, above, bearing the steering gear and the forward pivots of the upper wishbones. Ahead of this is ducting to carry the water-only radiator which is inclined forward exhausting air upwards just forward of the front bulkhead.
The rear pivots of the front suspension members are carried well back into the monocoque, the lower ones into a reinforced section of the cockpit bracing-member on each side of the battery and the others along the top of the forward tunnel into the scuttle hoop, which is similarly strengthened around the mounting. The suspension members themselves follow normal Lola practice with steel wishbone tubes brazed to the sockets of the lower ball joints with both balls in the uprights and Rose joints at the front upper and rear lower inboard mountings to permit camber and castor adjustment.
The engine bay is big enough to take any of the current V-8s including the new aluminium 427 cu.in. engine which Chevrolet are expected to introduce soon. The front mounting is formed by a steel fabrication rivetted into the inside rear corners of the main sponsons. From here the forks extend rearward to end in a further pair of steel fabrications. These are joined by two magnesium alloy castings, one above the gearbox supporting its two mounting lugs and the inboard ends of the single upper transverse rear suspension links, and the lower supporting the points of the reversed lower A-arms. There are two pairs of radius arms in the usual way, the lower pair extending forwards through a hole into the chassis member and the upper pair along the top of the chassis to brackets attached to the roll-over bar.
Coaxial coil spring damper units are mounted outboard all round, the dampers being the Koni double adjustable type, and there are adjustable anti-roll bars front and rear, the latter passing under the gearbox. Wheels are 15-in. diameter with 14-in. rims at the rear and 9-in. at the front. Eric Broadley stressed that these are provisional sizes pending tyre developments. Obviously, he anticipates that rims are going to get even wider, probably up to 17 in. at the rear, though their accommodation becomes increasingly difficult. Total wheel movement of 6 in. front and in. rear has been allowed on the T160 which means quite a large wheel arch. If rims do get any wider, the uprights are going to project so far into the wheels that any cooling effect gained by mounting brake discs inboard of the uprights will be lost. So, unlike the Formula A T140, which has inboard rear discs, the T160 has all four discs outboard and well inside the wheels, relying on cooling through flexible ducts. The discs themselves are ventilated, 12-in. diameter and 1.1 -in. wide with a serrated inner diameter which locates on splines in the rim of a cast bell member projecting from the hub. A locking ring is secured by screws to complete the fixing, called a Redmayne coupling after the Girling development engineer responsible. Alloy calipers are made in four pieces with four pads each and a friction material area equivalent to a two pot calipers of 2.375-in. diameter.
Two rubber bag fuel tanks hold 25 gallons each and feed a common collector tank, just ahead of the left rear wheel arch, through one-way valves. With the aluminium engine, which has dry sump lubrication, the corresponding space on the other side of the engine would be occupied by the oil tank. To keep the front radiator area to a minimum and reduce the length of oil piping, two engine oil coolers are arranged horizontally at the back one above the other over the gearbox, with air ducted in through a snorkel. Beside the top one is a gearbox oil cooler with about half the surface area. The gearbox is a Hewland five-speed with the latest modified crown wheel and pinion and the clutch operating cylinder mounted more accessibly from bosses on the gearbox casing instead of on the bell housing.
The T160 has a wheelbase of 7 ft. 10 in. and a track approximately 4 ft. 8 in. front and 4 ft. 3 in. rear, depending on rim size. Weight will be around 1,450 lb. with slight variations for the 427 or 365 cu.in. engines, and distribution about 40/60 front to rear. The body is in glass fibre by Specialised Mouldings Limited. It is not revolutionary in shape, drag being considered secondary to minimum lift and a sturdy structure. It fits compactly over the works and is designed to withstand the buffeting imposed by the rather rough Can-Am circuits. The maximum speed likely to be reached by these cars is in the region of 180 m.p.h. and to cope with this the body rises gently from the nose to form a wedge with a maximum height of in. at the point of the spoiler.
The Can-Am series (or Canadian-American Challenge Cup to give its full title) is organised by the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) and has been in existence for three years. Last year's winner was Bruce McLaren with Denny Hulme as runner-up, both in McLarens. This series and the US Road Racing Championship for Sports racing cars, run since 1962, are now the only remaining major competition outlets for the cars built to Appendix J Group 7 (SCCA actually wrote the Group 7 rules for the FIA). This year the Can-Am series will be run over six events in the US and Canada with prizes of up to $140,000 and total awards expected to reach $600,000.
1968 Canadian-American Challenge Cup
Round 1 - Road America, Elkhart Lake
Autodynamics Corporation Carl A. Haas Racing Teams, Ltd.
Brett Lunger Chuck Parsons
Round 2 - Bridgehampton Grand Prix, Bridgehampton, Long Island
All American Racers Autodynamics Corporation Carl A. Haas Racing Teams, Ltd. Carl A. Haas Racing Teams, Ltd. Team Surtees
Swede Savage Brett Lunger Skip Scott Chuck Parsons John Surtees
4th 8th DNF DNF DNF
Round 3 - Klondike Trail 200, Speedway Park, Edmonton
Autodynamics Corporation Carl A. Haas Racing Teams, Ltd. Carl A. Haas Racing Teams, Ltd. American Racing Motors All American Racers Team Surtees
Sam Posey Chuck Parsons Skip Scott Brian O'Neill Swede Savage John Surtees
4th 5th 8th 9th DNF DNF
Round 4 - Monterey Grand Prix, Laguna Seca Raceway
Carl A. Haas Racing Teams, Ltd. Autodynamics Corporation American Racing Motors Carl A. Haas Racing Teams, Ltd. All American Racers
Skip Scott Sam Posey Brian O'Neill Chuck Parsons Swede Savage
7th 9th 15th DNF DNF
Round 5 - Eleventh Annual Los Angeles Times Grand Prix, Riverside International Raceway
Carl A. Haas Racing Teams, Ltd. Autodynamics Corporation Team Surtees Carl A. Haas Racing Teams, Ltd. American Racing Motors All American Racers George Bignotti
Chuck Parsons Sam Posey John Surtees Skip Scott Brian O'Neill Dan Gurney Mario Andretti Gary Wilson
11th DNF DNF DNF DNF DNF DNS DNQ
Round 6 - Fourth Stardust Grand Prix, Stardust International Raceway, Las Vegas
Carl A. Haas Racing Teams, Ltd. Autodynamics Corporation George Bignotti All American Racers Carl A. Haas Racing Teams, Ltd.
Chuck Parsons Sam Posey Mario Andretti Dan Gurney Skip Scott
4th 5th 12th DNF DNS
1969 Canadian-American Challenge Cup
Round 2 - Labatt's 50 Can-Am, Le Circuit Mont-Tremblant, St. Jovite
Round 3 - Six-Hours and The Glen Can-Am "200", Watkins Glen Grand Prix Course
Beck Racing Marshall Brooke Doran
Leonard Janke Brooke Doran
Round 4 - Klondike 200, Edmonton, Speedway Park
Round 5 - Buckeye Can-Am, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Lexington
Marshall Brooke Doran
Round 6 - Road America, Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin
Marshall Brooke Doran Beck Racing Fred Baker
Brooke Doran Leonard Janke Fred Baker
11th DNF DNF
Round 8 - Michigan International Can-Am, Michigan International Speedway