Lola Cars International Ltd opened its doors to the public this week, in order to celebrate and support the inaugural National Motorsport Week initiative.

The worlds oldest and most successful constructor of customer motorsport chassis also undertook its first ever demonstration of one of its cars on its Huntingdon premesis. Fluid Motorsports Formula Three Lola undertook several practice starts and pit stops in the grounds of the factory, wowing the crowd with its impressive burst of power.

Following the National Motorsport Weeks lead for encouraging more people to become involved in the sport, Lola staff were available to give the crowd a hands-on insight in to the motorsport industry.


First stop on the tour was a visit to the Lola design offices where the complex world of FEA (Finite Element Analysis) and CFD (Computational Fluid dynamics) programmes and applications were explained. The visitors also viewed a film of the A1 Grand Prix crash test, giving them a detailed understanding of Lola’s skill in making racing cars not only fast, but also very safe. This was viewed just after they had seen the Lola built A1 Team China monocoque, which had been repaired after a huge barrel roll accident at Sepang in Malaysia last November in which the driver emerged completely unscathed.


Lola’s renowned composites facility was next on the agenda, with Composites Engineer, Chris Palmer explaining the processes of actually building the many different projects that Lola are involved in. Quite apart from the many racing cars that are built here, Lola has long since produced ‘racing’ rowing boats, UAV’s (un-manned aircraft vehicles), Radomes and even composite parts for the Beagle 2 space probe.

The party also learned about the work that the Composites Training Consortium Ltd are doing at Lola. The scheme has been put in place by a government backed initiative , where Lola composites staff get recognition through gaining an NVQ award, granted by SASL (Skills Assurances Services Ltd).

Chris Little who has been implementing the programme on sight, said of the project: “Obviously we found a high level of skill here among the workforce when we arrived at Lola. However, we are also very much focusing on encouraging people in to the composites industry and that is why we were very pleased to see so many people here for National Motorsports Week.”


In Lola’s build shop, guests viewed, not only the very latest Lola designs, such as the B07/40 LMP2 chassis and B07/90 Sports 2000 car, but also Lola’s rich heritage, such as the T212 raced in 1971 by the great Jo Bonnier and the De Cadenet-Lola that raced in the 1980 Le Mans 24 Hours. However, it was the iconic Lola T70 that stole the show, as its 5 litre Chevrolet engine was fired up, shaking the ground beneath the crowds feet and stirring the whole factory with its cacophonous roar.


Lola’s technical centre houses a state-of-the-art windtunnel and one of the very few commercially available 7-post vehicle dynamic test rigs in the country. Lola’s 50% scale F3 model was demonstrated with Wind Tunnel technician Nick Rowlerson taking the guests through a typical aero programme.

The 7-post test rig was also in action with the crowd marvelling at the ‘shaker rig’, which was testing one of Lola’s many sportscar customers chassis. Design Engineer Andrew Murdoch took time out from the busy schedule to brief the guests on damper testing, complete dynamic circuit simulation and torsional testing.


Lunch was held over a question and answer session with Fluid Motorsport drivers Cristiano Morgado and Martin Kudzak. Both aces informed the throng of their lives as professional racing drivers, before Kudzak swapped microphone for steering wheel and gave several thunderous practice starts at the front of Lola House. The demonstration finished with a high octane pit stop right in front of the specially installed spectator area.

The Swede was fresh from his first F3 National class win at Silverstone during the Grand Prix Masters race weekend. He is also the youngest ever winner in F3 as he turned 17 just a week ago!


“It was very interesting powering away with everything so close to you,” said a wide eyed Martin Kudzak afterwards. “It is nice to do these things because even at a race the fans cannot get this close. Now I can say that I was the first ever driver to race a Lola at Lola!”

Speaking of the day, Lola’s Managing Director, Rupert Manwaring said: “The day was a tremendous hit with our guests today. For them to get so close to everything we do here seemed to have substantially increased their knowledge and enthusiasm for the sport. Managing to get a demonstration of our successful F3 car was a real bonus for them, as was showcasing all our technical capabilities. We certainly believe that National Motorsport Week is a very worthwhile and exciting idea that we will certainly continue to support in the future.”

One of the guests, Murray Paterson from Godmanchester, had never previously seen a single seater racing car, but said: “You just don’t get any idea of the all consuming energy that these cars have from watching them on TV. They have to be seen live. I am now definitely a motorsport convert and will certainly be making it a priority to get to my first race very soon. Everything about the day was fantastic. Even the rain stopped for the demonstration!”

Form more information, please visit www.nationalmotorsportweek.co.uk