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THE LOLA T80
Lola's first assault on the world of Indy Car racing was in when they built two cars for that year's Indianapolis 500. As a warm up one car was entered, as the American Red Ball, at the Trenton 100 for Bud Tingelstad and, despite the race being shortened from 100 to 87 laps, the T80 finished 4th on its debut.
The next race was the big one, the Indy 500, and two cars were entered, once again Bud Tingelstad in the American Red Ball and he was joined by Al Unser in the Sheraton-Thompson. However late completion of the cars had meant very little running time and inexperience with the design saw Tingelstad qualify 23rd and Unser 29th of the 33 starters. Both drivers complained particularly of a handling problem that caused the car to "heave" as it entered a corner, this was later discovered to be caused by a flaw in the suspension geometry. Despite this, and a number of other teething troubles, Unser finished ninth and Tingelstad ran as high as fifth until a broken casting (not Lola-made) caused a rear wheel to fall off after 115 laps.
The T80s continued to race in that year's USAC Championship but with very little success (see results below).