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THE LOLA T380
The history of the T380 a.k.a. the “De Cadenet Lola” is complex, Lola built two T380s, one went to De Cadenet (HU1) and one to International Race Services in Italy (HU2).
HU1 was first entered in the 1975 Le Mans 24 Hours and, despite having problems, notably a lack of top speed on the Mulsanne Straight, it finished a creditable 14th overall and 5th in the S3.0 class (Sports three-litre) with owner and entrant Alain De Cadenet and Chris Craft at the wheel. HU1 returned the following year, 1976, with the same driving team and, following successful aerodynamic alterations to the bodywork, it qualified 3rd and finished in the same position to give Lola their best ever Le Mans result. Out of interest HU1 was weighed at Le Mans, it tipped the scales at 743kgs - 1638lbs.
In 1977, Richard Bond, Simon Phillips, and Tony Birchenhough took over the driving duties with the car still entered by De Cadenet but the car had problems in practice and did not qualify for the 24 Hour race.
HU1's next Le Mans outing was in 1978 when, entered by Simon Phillips Racing with Batco France and driven by Nick Faure, John Beasley, Simon Phillips and Martin Raymond the car qualified 15th but retired after 99 laps.
The final appearance at Le Mans for HU1 was in 1978, now entered by Fisons Agricole-Simon Phillips with drivers Ray Mallock and Martin Raymond, it qualified 14th and finished 15th overall and took a podium with 3rd in the S+2.0 class.
The problem with tracing the history of the De Cadenet cars is that there were two more that went under various names including: De Cadenet LM77 T380 (Thompson), De Cadenet Lola LM "Crusader" (Thompson), De Cadenet Lola LM Thompson.
It appears that the first of these cars featured a monocoque built by John Thompson with T380 suspension and the second car again used a John Thompson tub with suspension designed by Len Bailey and Gordon Murray. I think it is clear that neither car can claim to be a Lola so only HU1 has been detailed in this story.
The second T380, HU2, as mentioned above went to Italy where, in 1976, it was entered in the Nürburgring 1000 Kilometres, Round 7 of the World Championship for Makes, by Jolly Club with Vittorio Brambilla and Giorgio Pianta driving. It qualified 10th but retired in the race. For 1977 it passed to Marco Capoferri who competed in a handful of lesser races without any success.