Lola sportscars were once again in the thick of the action during the 2006 running of the Petit Le Mans 1000-mile race, held at Road Atlanta in Georgia over the weekend.

The famous Huntingdon marque saw their designs finish on both LMP1 and LMP2 podiums with the Highcroft Racing and Horag-Lista teams. The Dyson Racing LMP1 cars also fought for the lead during the race but their challenge was eventually halted by ill luck.


Highcroft Racing earned the best result of their season at Road Atlanta with a superb 3rd overall. The yellow Lola B01/60-AER took full advantage of late race problems for one of the Audi R10's and the Creation LMP1 car, to
register its first podium of the season.

Duncan Dayton, Memo Gidley and Vitor Meira were just a lap behind the 2nd placed Zytek of Stefan Johansson, Johnny Mowlem and Hiroki Kurosawa at the chequered flag.

Highcroft's race started dramatically when Jon Field driving the Intersport Racing Lola B05/40 made contact with the rear of the Highcroft car, spinning it around and bringing out the safety car. Pitting to replace some damaged rear bodywork, Dayton was soon back out in to the race and making up for some lost time.

New to the Highcroft team and indeed the American Le Mans series was Memo Gidley and Vitor Meira who joined Dayton for this race, as Andy Wallace had joined his old team mates at Dyson Racing. Both drivers have a wealth of experience in US single seater racing and between them they lapped the scenic Road Atlanta track quickly to ensure that the Lola was in contention to pick up the podium place in the final hour.

"I'm just really proud of everyone on the Highcroft Racing team and for Memo and Vitor's perseverance," said a delighted Duncan Dayton after the event. "They both did an excellent job. We had some problems early on that looked like they were going to knock us out of contention, so to get on the podium is very satisfying."

Dyson Racing fought back from a difficult qualifying session at Road Atlanta to star in the early stages of the race when James Weaver challenged the eventual race winning Audi of Allan McNish and Rinaldo Capello.

Butch Leitzinger spun off in qualifying and as a result Weaver was forced to start from the rear of the grid. However, Weaver used his characteristic grit and determination, not to mention the raw pace of the Lola B06/10, to scythe his way through the field in the first hour of the race.

As the race progressed and Weaver set the fastest lap of the entire race, with a stunning 1m 12.374s lap, he headed over to Leitzinger and then to third driver for this race, Andy Wallace. The number 16 Dyson Lola stayed in touch with the leading Audi's, now in 3rd place. After just over 6 hours of racing Wallace was just 40 seconds behind Emmanuele Pirro in the 2nd place. Lapping quicker than the Audi's the Lola was sure of a podium position and also possibly challenging for the lead.

Sadly, it was not to be, as Wallace pulled off the track and retired with an engine related problem on the car's 221st lap. Despite the disappointment, James Weaver commented on the speed and handling of the Lola, saying: "The car is a joy to drive: this is as good as it gets."

The sister Lola LMP1 one of Chris Dyson and Guy Smith was also in the running at the front of the field in the opening hours. After a superb opening stint from Chris Dyson, Guy Smith set off on a brilliant charge to hunt the leading Audi's down.

The 2003 Le Mans winner quickly dispatched with Capello under braking for Turn 10, splitting the previously all-conquering Audi's. Lapping considerably faster then anyone else in the field, Smith then latched on to the tail of the leader, Frank Biela. However, just as the Humbersider was about to make a move, the blue and white car was pitched off the track and in to the barriers at Turn 5 and out of the race.

"We have made some huge steps forward this year and we had two cars that ran up front this weekend," said Chris Dyson afterwards. "If circumstances had been different, we would have been on the podium like we were last year. We will gather ourselves up and have two cars ready for the last race of the season at Laguna in three weeks' time."


Horag-Lista returned to LMP2 for the first time in 2006, with former Brabham F1 racer, Eric Van De Poele joining regular drivers Didier Theys and Fredy Leinhard in the Lola B05/40.

Theys started the race impressively and the car didn't skip a beat on its way to the chequered flag. Solid stints from Van De Poele and Leinhard saw the car finish 12th overall and delight the US domiciled Belgian, Theys, who said: "This weekend sure went better than last year. This is our first race as a team this year. The race was trouble free except for a couple of mistakes due to rustiness on our part. But this is a great example of endurance racing - you have to be there at the end."


After finishing 4th in LMP2, Intersport Racing battle on in their title quest in LMP2 and still have a mathematical chance of taking the crown.

It was a tough race for the team but their famous trait of determination and courage shone through after recovering from a substantial accident in the practice session on Wednesday.

After re-building the AER powered Lola B05/40, Jon Field qualified a tenacious 3rd in LMP2 before driving his usual forceful opening stints to take the lead of the class on the hour mark. All this achieved from the back of the starting grid, as all the teams drivers did not set laps in the night practice session.

After Jon handed over to his son, Clint Field, the Intersport car was in a comfortable class lead after the Penske Porsche had suffered more problems. Further solid stints from Liz Halliday and then again from Jon Field ensured that when Clint got in to the cockpit for his second stint, he still had a 2 lap lead over the recovering Porsches.

But with just under two hours remaining Clint almost went off the track before pitting to check over a suspected steering rack problem, likely to have a been a legacy of their qualifying accident. This lost the car many laps but it eventually returned to finish the race in 13th overall and 4th in LMP2. It was a truly gutsy performance from the tight knit Ohio based team.

Autocon Motorsports were enjoying their most competitive race of the season at Petit Le Mans at the weekend, but ultimately came away ruing more misfortune.

The trio of Bryan Willman, Michael Lewis and Chris McMurray qualified an encouraging 12th overall and then got a solid start to run 9th at the first pit stop, with Mike Lewis doing the early running.

However, the B01/60-AER soon came into the pits, smoking, with Bryan Willman now at the wheel. "I head a loud crack and then lost power," said Willman. "We broke a piston ring and it took out a piston, and sucked all the oil out of the car," he continued. "We had a really good race car. It was a shame."


Acura and Lola swung a lamp over the future with the unveiling of the Fernandez B05/40 chassis that will race in next seasons ALMS.
Schedule to debut at Sebring next March the car will be driven by Fernandez Racing team principal Adrian Fernandez and ex-Champ Car racer Luis Diaz. The car will be backed by Lowe's.

"The next few months are going to be pretty busy as we get ready for Sebring, but we have a great advantage in starting our testing program early thanks to everyone at Acura, Lola, Michelin and obviously Lowe's," said the team's Managing Director, Tom Anderson. "This program has come together quickly and that's a testament to the great partners we have. We're looking forward to this new challenge, and bringing Luis on board is the final brick in a strong foundation for '07."

 Pos  Cl.  Drivers                                   Car                        Laps

 1.  P1   McNish/Capello                Audi R10 TDI Power      394

 2.  P1   Johansson/Mowlem/Kurosawa     Zytek 06S               390

 3.  P1   Dayton/Gidley/Meira           Lola EX257 AER          389

 4.  P1   Minassian/Primat/C.-Walter    Creation CA06/H-01     388

 5.  P2   Bernhard/Collard/Maassen      Porsche RS Spyder       386

 6.  P2   Luhr/Dumas/Rockenfeller       Porsche RS Spyder       385

 7.  P1   Werner/Pirro/Biela            Audi R10 TDI Power      383

 8.  GT1  Turner/Enge                   Aston Martin DB9        374

 9.  GT1  Sarrazin/Lamy                 Aston Martin DB9        373

10.  GT1  Gavin/Magnussen/Beretta       Corvette C6.R           372

11.  GT1  Fellows/O'Connell/Papis       Corvette C6.R           371

12.  P2   Theys/van de Poele/Lienhard   Lola B05/40 Judd        371

13.  P2   Field/Halliday/Field          Lola B05/40 AER         357

14.  GT2  Bergmeister/Jonsson/Long      Porsche 911 GT3       356

15.  GT2  Mediani/Franchitti/Lazzaro    Ferrari 430 GT           354

16.  GT2  Maxwell/Brabham/Bourdais      Panoz Esperante     352

17.  GT2  Jeannette/Milner/Lally        Panoz Esperante            351

18.  GT2  Lieb/vanOverbeek/Henzler      Porsche 911 GT3     346

19.  GT2  Auberlen/Said/Hand            BMW E46 M3              344

20.  GT2  Law/Neiman/Pechnik            Porsche 911 GT3        343

21.  GT2  Liddell/Tiemann/Farnbacher    Porsche 911 GT3     339

22.  P2   Cosmo/Forbes-Robinson/ Bach   Courage  Mazda     309

23.  GT2  James/Marks/Sellers           BMW E46 M3              304

24.  P1   Weaver/Leitzinger/Wallace     Lola B06/10 AER      221

25.  P1   Lewis/Willman/McMurry         Lola EX257 AER     127

26.  P1   Dyson/Smith                   Lola B06/10 AER               100

27.  GT2  Kelleners/Palttala/Ortelli    Ferrari 430 GT                61

28.  P2   Devlin/Greaves/Van der Steur  Radical SR 9 AER        6

For more information on Lola's LMP1 and LMP2 sportscars please contact sales@lolacars.com or call +44 (0) 1480 359590

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The Chris Dyson and Guy Smith in the Dyson B06/10 were fighting for the lead when an accident ended their hopes.
(Picture americanlemans.com)
The Highcroft B01/60, here dicing with one of the Penske Porsche Spyders, finished an excellent third in the hands of Duncan Dayton, Memo Gidley and Vitor Meira.
(Picture americanlemans.com)
The second Dyson Lola of Weaver/ Leitzinger/ Wallace retired but had the consolation of setting the fastest lap.
(Picture americanlemans.com)
The Horag-Lista B05/40 driven by Lienhard/ Theys/ van de Poele finished third in LMP2.
(Picture americanlemans.com)
Engine problems finished the challenge of the Lewis/ McMurry/ Willman Autocon-entered B01/60.
(Picture americanlemans.com)
Night falls on the Highcroft car.
(Picture americanlemans.com)
A case of what might have been for the Dyson cars.
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Eric van de Poele in the Horag-Lista B05/40.
(Picture americanlemans.com)
The Dyson Lolas are becoming a very serious threat to the works Audis.
(Picture americanlemans.com)
Road Atlanta is one of the great tracks with some notable elevation changes.
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The Dyson team making adjustments during qualifying.
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Liz Halliday meets some fans.
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The Intersport team put on a pit stop demonstration prior to the race.
(Picture americanlemans.com)