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THE LOLA T180
The T130/RA300 was only ever intended as a stop-gap measure so, for 1968, Lola and Honda introduced the T180/RA301. Most obvious change was the new four-valve V12 engine from Honda using newly designed block and cylinder heads that produced a claimed 420 bhp with (much needed) improved torque characteristics. The four overhead cams were driven by gears up the centre of the engine and employed torsion-bar valve springs that Honda had developed on their very successful F2 engines, as in 1967 a Honda five-speed clutch and gearbox were fitted.
The most noticeable changes to the new Lola monocoque (chassis F-801) were moving the front spring/dampers outboard, extending the tub rearwards of the cockpit and using a double wishbone system at the rear and, of course, during the year it acquired a large rear wing mounted on the rear uprights and "winglets" on the nosecone. The entire package weighed in at 41 kg lighter than the T130/RA300.
Results for the car were generally disappointing with a best of second for John Surtees in the French GP being the highlight.
During the season a second tub (chassis F-802) was built up by Len Terry at the Honda Racing premises at Slough employing magnesium in the tub instead of aluminium to further lighten the car, perhaps a strange choice following the terrible accident to Jo Schlesser in the French GP in the magnesium chassied RA302. It only raced twice and was no more competitive than the Lola-built car.