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THE LOLA T600

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The T600 emerged from a meeting between legendary sports car racer Brian Redman and Ralph Cooke, Cooke was not a fan of driving the Porsche 935 with its turbocharged induced throttle lag and was prepared to finance a normally aspirated challenger to the German marque. 1981 saw IMSA introducing a new class GTP cars (Grand Touring Prototypes) which ran to similar rules to the new for 1982 FIA Group C cars which would compete in the World Endurance Championship, basically the new cars ran to a 900kg minimum weight with up to 6 litre production-based engines, and both men saw an opportunity for a fresh new design.

Redman traveled to England and discussed a possible new design with Lola's Eric Broadley, Eric liked the idea and proposed a thoroughly modern design that would take advantage of the then new idea of ground effects which IMSA and the FIA had approved for their new classes. Eric employed the talents of the French aerodynamicist Max Sardou to design the underbody for the new car and a great deal of time was spent at the Imperial College wind tunnel refining the design of the ground effect tunnels. It was agreed that the first two cars built (HU1 and HU2) would go to the Cooke-Woods Racing team for the 1981 IMSA Championship.

Since the car would potentially run in the World Endurance Championship the T600 not only had to compete in and be competitive in the generally shorter 100-200 mile IMSA races, it also had to be capable of competing in the Le Mans 24 Hours so, from the start, it was envisaged that Lola would be able to sell a number of additional cars beyond the two for the Cooke-Wood team.

The new car for Cooke-Woods, HU1, would be powered by a 5.8 litre V8 Chevvy tuned by Chaparral Cars which produced some 600bhp at 7,000rpm and be fitted with the new gearbox design from Hewland the VG (variable gear) which could run in 4 or 5 speed guise. HU2 was fitted with a 3.2 litre turbocharged Porsche engine and entered in the 1981 Le Mans 24 Hour race for Brian Redman and Bobby Rahal but a lack of testing and turbocharger problems saw the car fail to qualify.

The new T600 hit the IMSA ground running, despite not appearing until Round 5 of the 1981 Championship at Laguna Seca Redman took the first of the five victories that would see him win the Drivers title. With the immediate success for the design other T600s appeared in the Championship that year for John Paul Jnr. and Chris Cord.

1982 saw five more wins in IMSA but Porsche regained the upper hand taking twelve wins and the Championship going to John Paul Jnr although he did use the T600 in some races and took a win. Ted Field with four victories took the runner-up spot with the Interscope T600. The T600 continued to race in IMSA for the next few years but although there were more podiums there were no more wins as the newer cars from March and Jaguar took the Lola idea and developed it further.

The World Endurance Championship saw the T600 take two wins for Emilio de Villota/Guy Edwards at Enna-Pergusa and Brands Hatch in their 3.3 litre Ford Cosworth DFL powered car although, once again, the Porsche 935 was the Championship winner.

Year(s) of Construction: 1981-1983

Total Built: 12
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T600 CHAMPIONSHIP WINS

YEAR
CHAMPIONSHIP
WINNER(S)
NOTES
1981 IMSA Camel GT Championship Brian Redman Lola T600-Chevrolet
1982 IMSA Camel GT Championship John Paul Jnr. Lola T600-Chevrolet & Porsche 935
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T600 SIGNIFICANT RACE WINS


1981

DATE
VENUE/MEETING
DRIVER
NOTES
3rd May Laguna Seca – 100 Miles Brian Redman First win for T600.
24th May Lime Rock Park – 200 Miles Brian Redman Round 6 of IMSA Championship
31st May Mid Ohio – 200 Miles Brian Redman Round 7 of IMSA Championship
28th June Enna–Pergusa 6 Hours Emilio de Villota/Guy Edwards World Championship for Drivers and Makes - Round 9
2nd August Portland International Raceway – 100 Miles Brian Redman Round 11 of IMSA Championship
13th September Road Atlanta – 150 Miles Brian Redman Round 14 of IMSA Championship
27th September Brands Hatch – Flying Tiger 1000 Kms Emilio de Villota/Guy Edwards World Championship for Drivers and Makes

1982

DATE
VENUE/MEETING
DRIVER
NOTES
25th April Riverside – 6 Hours Ted Field/Bill Whittington Round 4 of IMSA Championship
2nd May Laguna Seca – 100 Miles John Paul Jnr. Round 5 of IMSA Championship
3rd July Daytona International Speedway - 250 mile Daytona Paul Revere Ted Field/Danny Ongais Round 10 of IMSA Championship
26th September Pocono International Raceway - Camel GT 500 Grand Prix Ted Field/Danny Ongais Round 18 of IMSA Championship
28th November Daytona International Speedway - Daytona 3-hour Camel GT Ted Field/Danny Ongais Round 19 of IMSA Championship

2019

DATE
VENUE/MEETING
DRIVER
NOTES
19th May Spa Francorchamps Classic Philippe Scemama Classic Endurance Racing - Race 2 - Winner Class P+2L
9th June Dijon Prenois - Grand Prix de l'Age d'Or Philippe Scemama/Nigel Greensal Classic Endurance Racing - Race 2 - Winner Class P+2L
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The T600 facts and figures


(From an article in Car and Driver January 1982)

Vehicle type: mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive, 1 -passenger, 2- door GTP race car.
Price as tested: $140,000

ENGINE
Type - V-8, iron block and aluminium heads
Bore x stroke - 4.02 x 3.50 in, 102.1 x 88.9in
Displacement - 355 cu in, 5824cc
Compression ratio - 12.7:1
Fuel system - Lucas-Kinsler mechanical injection
Power (SAE net) - 600 bhp @ 7000 rpm
Torque (SAE net) - 475 lbs-ft @ 5800 rpm
Redline - 7200 rpm

DRIVETRAIN
Transmission - 5-speed Hewland VG5
Final-drive ratio - 2.58:1

Gear…… Ratio…… Mph/1000 rpm…… Max. test speed
1st………..2.85…………….10.9……………78 mph (7200 rpm)
2nd……….2.00……………..15.6……………112 mph (7200 rpm)
3rd………..1.67…………….18.6……………134 mph (7200 rpm)
4th…………1.40…………….22.2……………160 mph (7200 rpm)
5th…………1.23…………….25.3……………182 mph (7200 rpm)

DIMENSIONS AND CAPACITIES
Wheelbase - 106.5 in
Track, - F/R 62.0/61.0 in
Length - 186.5 in
Width - 78.5 in
Height - 41.5 in
Curb weight - 2250 lbs
Weight distribution, F/R - 38.3/61.7%
Fuel capacity - 31.7 gal
Oil capacity - 16.0 qt

CHASSIS/BODY
Type - riveted sheet and honeycomb-aluminium panels
Body material - fiberglass-reinforced plastic

SUSPENSION
F. - Ind, unequal-length control arms, coil springs,
driver-adjustable anti-sway bar
R. - Ind, unequal-length control arms, coil springs,
driver-adjustable anti-sway bar

STEERING
Type - rack-and-pinion
Turns lock-to-lock - 2.2

BRAKES
F. - 12.0 x 1.3-in vented disc
R. - 12.0 x 1.3-in vented disc

WHEELS AND TIRES
Wheel size - F: 11.0 x 16 in; R: 14.0 x 16 in
Tire make and size: Goodyear Eagle GT, F: 24.0 x 11.5-16 - R: 27.0 x 14.0-16
Test inflation pressure: F/R 16/16 psi

ACCELERATION
Zero to 30 mph - 1.5
40 mph - 2.0 seconds
50 mph - 2.5 seconds
60 mph - 3.0 seconds
70 mph - 3.5 seconds
80 mph - 4.1 seconds
90 mph - 5.1 seconds
100 mph - 5.9 seconds
110 mph - 6.8 seconds
120 mph - 8.2 seconds
130 mph - 9.6 seconds
Standing 1/4-mile - 10.5 sec @135 mph
Top speed – 182 mph

BRAKING
70—0 mph @ impending lockup - 142 ft

HANDLING
Roadholding, 282-ft-dia skidpad (51 mph) - 1.24 g
Roadholding, 372-ft-radius curve (89 mph) - 1.42 g
FUEL ECONOMY
Typical racing fuel consumption - .4 mpg

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