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THE LOLA T53
The T53 was a one-off Formula 3 car built up by Lola and the MRP (Midland Racing Partnership) team.
Following the cessation of the Formula Junior Championship at the end of 1963 MRP were left with several redundant Lola Mk5A Junior cars. As a new Lola design was not ready for F2 two of the Mk5As were converted to F2 specification and renamed as the T54. Due to a shortage of the F2 SCA engine a third car was fitted with, initially, a F3 Ford engine, described in contemporary reports as "a linered-down F Junior motor" and later a BMC engine and raced in a handful of events during the year.
The conversion to F3 guise was fairly straightforward, new engine mounts were fitted, the starter motor was moved to the left and a Hewland 4-speed F3 gearbox was fitted.
Despite being something of an after thought and only appearing in a few races, the T53 was a competitive proposition. Debuting in May at Monaco Bill Bradley took a fine third in the first heat of the GP support race and was running a close second to eventual winner Jackie Stewart in the final when a couple of pit stops due to a misfiring Ford engine dropped him to 14th. Bradley's only consolation was setting the race's fastest lap. A week later at Mallory Park David Baker finished 3rd behind the dominant Tyrrell twins, Jackie Stewart and Warwick Banks in their Cooper-BMCs, the Lola was still Ford-powered.
At the end of June Bill Bradley took another third with the T53 at Rouen-les-Essarts behind the Tyrrell pair but now the T53 had been fitted with a BMC engine. There was a further outing for the BMC car at Brands Hatch in August for David Baker but that was it for the year. Who knows what the T53 might have achieved if it had been developed seriously over the year.
Year(s) of Construction: 1964
Total Built: 1