ALL-NEW LOLA COUPES STUN SPORTSCAR WORLD AT BARCELONA
LOLA COUPE POWER
The new Lola LMP Coupes made stunning debuts at the Barcelona Le Mans Series race on Sunday with each of the Huntingdon built LMP cars securing podium positions.
The Charouz Racing System Lola B08/60, powered by Aston Martin, rocked the sportscar world with its pace during both qualifying and the race where it competed with the Audi and Peugeot diesel-powered cars.
Qualifying in fourth place, Stefan Mucke soon surged through to third position overall in the early exchanges after overtaking Minassian’s Peugeot. The German driver then proceeded to hold on to the leading pair of Pedro Lamy’s Peugeot and the Audi R10 of Allan McNish. The Michelin shod Lola then drove a trouble free and impressively quick six hour race with Mucke’s team mate, Jan Charouz, also doing a superb job at the wheel to clinch third place overall.
The only incident during the event for the Charouz team was when Mucke made brief contact with the GT Ferrari of Rob Bell at the quick final right hand corner on to the pit straight. However, the Lola showed it was strong as well as fast and continued untroubled, eventually setting its fastest lap of the race at 1m35.531s. This time was just over two tenths of a second slower than the second placed Audi R10 diesel.
“Simply fantastic, I do not think that other words are needed,” said Stefan Mucke. “It is unbelievable how everything worked. Our team was good even during our debut season but we have moved forward. I did not have any single problem during the race, the Lola was working faultlessly. I can not wait for the next race at Monza!”
The Speedy Racing Team Sebah squad were just as impressive in LMP2 with Xavier Pompidou starting their first ever LMP2 event from second on the grid. The Judd engined Lola, which comfortably double stinted its Michelin tyres throughout the race, led the class at the midway stage. However a small delay after an incident with the Team Modena Aston Martin GT1 car and a separate brief clash with the Lamy/Sarrazin Peugeot meant that the Van Merksteijn Porsche eventually took the spoils.
With a fastest race lap identical to the Porsche driven by former Grand Prix star Jos Verstappen the Lola B08/80 LMP2 showed some searing pace despite having just two days of serious testing under its belt. Andrea Belicchi and Steve Zacchia joined Pompidou on the driving strength and the latter of this trio was enthused by his new Lola mount, saying: “Compared to cars I have driven recently this is fantastic, the levels of grip, and the speed through the corners, are wonderful. I’m just now beginning to explore the real limits.”
Speaking of the success in the race, Lola Executive Chairman, Martin Birrane said: “My sincere congratulations to Charouz Racing System and Speedy Racing team Sebah on their excellent debut performances at Barcelona yesterday. By happy co-incidence the Charouz Lola Coupe was the 50th sportscar to be sold during my ownership, so that is a nice story for us as we celebrate our 50th year as a constructor. The results were a testament to our long-term vision in global sportscar racing and to the top class technical capabilities at our base in Huntingdon, UK.”
“It was an enormous boost to find the V12 Aston Martin engine mated so well to the Lola B08/60 Coupe chassis. To be mixing it among the manufacturer cars already bodes very well for the rest of the season. Looking further ahead the effects of a potential diesel-engined Lola Coupe on the sportscar grid can be imagined and we sincerely hope that this can become a reality sooner rather than later.”
REIGNING CHAMPIONS SCORE POINTS FOR TITLE DEFENCE
The reigning champions in LMP2, RML scored points with a 4th place in class as Mike Newton and Tommy Erdos recovered from a problematic practice session. The MG powered Lola has had significant updates added to its powerplant over the winter and the team expects continued improvements at the next race in Monza on April 27th.
Chamberlain Synergy returned to the LMS for their fourth consecutive season in a Lola with Bob Berridge and Gareth Evans finishing 9th in the LMP1 class. Driving the AER powered Lola, the team were forced to pit to repair a legalising panel but managed to do this in just under a minute. The Hugh Chamberlain led team took the chequered flag despite driver Evans battling illness during the race as well as further delays caused by gear selection problems.
Quifel-ASM showed their pace all weekend with former GP2 front runner Olivier Pla making an impact in his first sportscar race. The Portuguese team started the race well but lost time due to accident damage to their rear tie-rod which necessitated a replacement. However, Pla and team mate Miguel Amaral completed the race and finished 9th in class.
Kruse-Schiller Motorsport arrived at Barcelona with very little testing time achieved in their ex Fernandez Racing Lola B07/40-Mazda. Hideki Noda started the race for the popular German team but persistent water leaks ensured that he and his team mate Jean De Pourtales were forced to retire from the race in the fourth hour of the six hour enduro.
All of Lola’s sportscar entrants will be back in action at Monza in three weeks time. With more running time gained from the opening race of the season the new Lola Coupes expect to be quicker on the flat out sweeps of the famous Italian Grand Prix venue.
Pos Driver Car Time Class1. Gene/Minassian Peugeot 908 Hdi-FAP 5h59:30.812 LMP1
2. Premat/Rockenfeller Audi R10 TDI +1 lap LMP1
3. Mucke/Charouz Lola Aston Martin +3 laps LMP1
4. Collard/Boullion Pescarolo Judd +5 laps LMP1
5. Capello/McNish Audi R10 TDI +6 laps LMP1
6. Van Merksteijn/Verstappen Porsche RS Spyder +7 laps LMP2
7. Primat/Tinseau Pescarolo Judd +7 laps LMP1
8. Belicchi/Pompidou/Zacchia Lola B08/80 Coupe Judd +8 laps LMP2
9. Elgaard/Nielsen Porsche RS Spyder +11 laps LMP2
10. Barbosa/Ickx/Short Pescarolo Judd +11 laps LMP1
11. Erdos/Newton MG Lola EX 265 MG +14 laps LMP2
12. Lamy/Sarrazin Peugeot 908 Hdi-FAP +15 laps LMP1
13. Ragues/Lahaye Pescarolo Judd +16 laps LMP2
14. Lienhard/Theys/Lammers Porsche RS Spyder +17 laps LMP2
15. Rostan/Peterson/Lueders Radical SR9 AER +21 laps LMP2
16. Alphand/Moreau/Goueslard Corvette C6.R +21 laps GT1
17. Ojjeh/Gosselin/Schroyen Zytek 07S Zytek +22 laps LMP2
18. Makowiecki/Bornhauser/Bouchut Saleen S7R Ford +23 laps GT1
19. Rusinov/Kox Lamborghini Murcielago +25 laps GT1
20. Amaral/Pla Lola B05/40 AER +25 laps LMP2
21. Bell/Bruni Ferrari F430 GT +26 laps GT2
22. Lieb/Davison Porsche 997 GT3 RSR +26 laps GT2
23. Narac/Lietz Porsche 997 GT3 RSR +28 laps GT2
24. Ehret/Kaffer/Beltoise Ferrari F430 GT +29 laps GT2
25. Dumbreck/Kelleners/Vasiliev Spyker C8 Laviolette +31 laps GT2
26. Aucott/Daoudi Ferrari F430 GT +32 laps GT2
27. Balandras/Lecourt/Belloc Porsche 997 GT3 RSR +33 laps GT2
28. Daniels/Paltalla/Fortsen Porsche 997 GT3 RSR +33 laps GT2
29. Ried/Felbermayr/Felbermayr Porsche 997 GT3 RSR +34 laps GT2
30. Basso/MacCormick/Casadei Ferrari F430 GT +37 laps GT2
31. Evans/Berridge Lola B06/10 AER +38 laps LMP1
32. Burgueno/De Castro Epsilon Euskadi Judd +48 laps LMP1
33. Campbell-Walter/Hall/Ortiz Creation CA07 - Aim +52 laps LMP1
34. Salini/Salini/Roussel WR Zytek +61 laps LMP2
Not ClassifiedDidaio/Francioni/Savoldi Lucchini Judd +73 laps LMP2
Panis/Lapierre Courage-Oreca Judd +37 laps LMP1
Blanchemain/Dumez/Bervillec Corvette C6.R +53 laps GT1
Nicolet/Faggionato/Hein Pescarolo Judd +83 laps LMP1
Garcia/Enge Aston Martin DBR9 +91 laps GT1
Ortelli/Ayari Courage-Oreca Judd +107 laps LMP1
de Pourtales/Noda Lola B05/40 Mazda +121 laps LMP2
Nielsen/Westbrook/Simonsen Porsche 997 GT3 RSR +125 laps GT2
Lavaggi/Kauffman Lavaggi LS1 - AER +128 laps LMP1
Barazi/Vergers Zytek 07S Zytek +160 laps LMP2
Hughes/Haberfield WF01 Zytek +172 laps LMP2
Kane/Foster WF01 Zytek +174 laps LMP2
Chiesa/Leuenberger Spyker C8 Laviolette GT2R +198 laps GT2
Van der Merve/Lemeret/Outzen Aston Martin Vantage V8 +215 laps GT2
The Charouz Lola B08/60 LMP1 Coupe and the Speedy Racing Team Sebah Lola B08/80 LMP2 Coupe were the 50th and 51st sportscars to leave the Lola factory since Martin Birrane took over the company in 1997.
Lola will have more entries at Le Mans this year than any other current constructor. The Huntingdon marque will also have its largest entry at La Sarthe since 1979 when Lola’s competed in the 24 Hours.
While the Barcelona event was on at the weekend, Lola engineers were running a windtunnel programme at Lola’s state-of-the-art windtunnel in Huntingdon. The sessions are centred around the Coupe model and will carry on until the end of the week.
While the Lola name is synonymous with motor sport throughout the world, it is a well kept secret that the company’s winning technology stretches across the Defence and Aviation industries. The secret of the multi-faceted Lola is a reflection of sensitive nature of these territories.
From developing state-of-the-art technology for winning Le Mans cars to building the entire shell for military Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, how do the contrasting industries of motor sport, defence and aerospace find a common denominator in Lola? The highest level of security, cutting-edge technology, managing multi million pound budgets and working to pressurised lead times all work hand-in-hand within these specialist industries.
All Pictures John Brooks/David Lister
The Charouz Racing B08/60 Aston Martin was simply stunning on its race debut at Barcelona.
Similarly impressive in the LPM2 class was the Speedy Racing Team Sabah B08/80.
The RML team, despite not being able to take full advantage of a new engine package, still went well in the race.
The Chamberlain Synergy car was beset by a number of problems in the race.
The Quifel-ASM, here driven by Miguel Amaral, showed a good turn of speed.
Hideki Noda's Kruse Schiller Lola LMP2 leads the RML and Chamberlain Synergy Lola's.