Lola sportscar entries got ready for the 76th running of the 24 Heures Du Mans (14-15 June) at the official test day at Le Mans, on Sunday 1 June. Seven Lola cars are entered this year for the world’s toughest endurance race, the marque’s largest entry since 1979.

With more entries than any other prototype manufacturer, Lola are also the only constructor to have all four prototype designs with both LMP1 and LMP2 Coupe and open designs racing this year. Lola will also be aiming to score a record fourth consecutive LMP2 victory and the fifth class win in the last six races.

Making its Le Mans debut this year are both the B08/60 LMP1 Coupe and the B08/80 LMP2 Coupe. The LMP1 example of Charouz Racing System, which is powered by a V12 Aston Martin engine set the 9th fastest time, but with conditions mostly wet, the times were not representative.

Tomas Enge, Stefan Mucke and Jan Charouz all completed laps in the Aston Martin powered Lola LMP1 Coupe, which was the first time the car has run in wet conditions. So far this season the team has been the clear pace setter among the petrol cars and its aims for this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours are again to be at the head of the pack chasing the three Audi R10’s and three Peugeot cars.

The Speedy Sebah team was getting used to running their new Lola LMP2 Coupe / Judd package at Le Mans and their priority was to ensure that Le Mans rookie, Steve Zacchia completed the mandatory 10 laps. Whilst Zacchia completed his 10 laps, there was a small incident involving Xavier Pompidou on the Mulsanne Straight, but damage to the Anglo/Swiss Lola was minimal.

Speaking about the team’s test day, Team Principal, Hugh Hayden said: “You never stop learning, but with a new car the hill is steeper. Qualifying was number one priority and we achieved that. After that it was refamiliarising the other drivers and we achieved that. What we did not achieve was working on the race set-up. We can handle the conditions but it’s not worth risking anything. We have a good package. I think the competition is strong and we will try and give them a race. Consistency, compatibility of drivers and reliability are key, whilst keeping it on the track and out of the box.”

The RML team had a successful test day with the MG powered Lola LMP2 car. The two-times LMP2 champions with the familiar trio of Tommy Erdos, Mike Newton and Andy Wallace had a trouble-free day at La Sarthe. The team believe that they have every chance of making it a unique hat trick of LMP2 success in two weeks time.

The Portuguese Quifel-ASM LMP2 had a frustrating day at Le Mans with technical problems restricting the team’s track time. Olivier Pla did however complete his rookie laps as did Guy Smith, who despite winning the event in 2003 and finishing runner-up a year later, still had to complete the laps due to the fact of not having driven at the circuit since 2004.

The new look Kruse-Schiller squad re-grouped after a difficult Spa LMS race to ensure that their drivers all got adequate time in the Mazda powered Lola LMP2 car. The German squad has drafted in experienced Frenchman Jean Francois Yvon in to the team to join Japanese racer Hideki Noda and the London domiciled Frenchman, Jean De Pourtales.

Entered under the Charouz Racing System banner but working as an American run Cytosport team, the Muscle Milk liveried Lola-Judd LMP1 had a solid day of running at Le Mans yesterday.

Team owner and driver Greg Pickett familiarised himself with the 13.65kms circuit and thoroughly enjoyed the experience after a season competing in the American Le Mans Series in 2007. Pickett, the 1978 Trans-Am Champion partners up with Klaus Graf and Jan Lammers, ensuring plenty of experience is on offer for the team’s Le Mans debut, with Lammers competing in his 21st Le Mans this year. The trio enjoyed a trouble free day, ending the session 12th fastest, an encouraging start for the US based team.

Chamberlain Synergy chose not to risk their Lola-AER too much during the difficult conditions and the Hugh Chamberlain led team focused on making sure that Amanda Stretton got her 10 rookie laps completed. She did this without a problem and she will become the first British woman to race at Le Mans since Juliette Slaughter in 1978 (driving a Dorset Racing Lola T294). Amanda will share the driving duties with husband Bob Berridge and Gareth Evans.

Lola celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2008 and marking its Golden anniversary will be a special feature at the 2008 Grande Parade Des Pilots in the centre of Le Mans on Friday 13th June. Fans will be able to see some of Lola’s most famous designs on the streets of the famous town and also be able to get copies of the official 50th anniversary Lola poster, depicting a design from 1958’s Lola Mk1 through to the latest Lola LMP Coupe design of 2008. LE MANS TEST DAY TIMES

Pos No Team Car Class
1 8 Team Peugeot Total Peugeot 908 Hdi-FAP LMP1 3:22.222
2 9 Peugeot Sport Total Peugeot 908 Hdi-FAP LMP1 3:26.641
3 1 Audi Sport North America Audi R10 TDI LMP1 3:26.678
4 7 Team Peugeot Total Peugeot 908 Hdi-FAP LMP1 3:27.248
5 3 Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R10 TDI LMP1 3:28.359
6 17 Pescarolo Sport Pescarolo Judd LMP1 3:33.939
7 16 Pescarolo Sport Pescarolo Judd LMP1 3:35.443
8 5 Team Oreca Matmut Courage-Oreca Judd LMP1 3:36.264
9 10 Charouz Racing System Lola Aston Martin LMP1 3:36.426
10 2 Audi Sport North America Audi R10 TDI LMP1 3:37.011
11 11 Dome Racing Team Dome Judd S102 LMP1 3:38.773
12 12 Charouz Racing System Lola Judd LMP1 3:39.584
13 18 Rollcentre Racing Pescarolo Judd LMP1 3:40.214
14 34 Van Merksteijn Motorsport Porsche RS Spyder LMP2 3:42.191
15 31 Team Essex Porsche RS Spyder LMP2 3:43.736
16 32 Barazi Epsilon Zytek 07S LMP2 3:43.920
17 45 Embassy Racing WF01 Zytek LMP2 3:44.166
18 25 RML Lola MG LMP2 3:44.678
19 14 Creation AIM Creation Aim LMP1 3:45.049
20 35 Saulnier Racing Pescarolo Judd LMP2 3:48.414
21 6 Team Oreca Matmut Courage-Oreca Judd LMP1 3:49.304
22 24 Terramos Courage Mugen LMP1 3:50.684
23 19 Chamberlain Synergy Lola AER LMP1 3:51.551
24 26 Bruichladdich Radical Radical AER LMP2 3:52.800
25 009 Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin DBR9 LMGT1 3:53.531
26 41 Trading Performance Zytek 07S LMP2 3:53.893
27 50 Larbre Competition Saleen S7R LMGT1 3:55.383
28 64 Corvette Racing Corvette C6.R LMGT1 3:55.520
29 63 Corvette Racing Corvette C6.R LMGT1 3:55.877
30 007 Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin DBR9 LMGT1 3:58.817
31 72 Luc Alphand Aventures Corvette C6.R LMGT1 4:00.633
32 4 Saulnier Racing Pescarolo Judd LMP1 4:00.907
33 59 Team Modena Aston Martin DBR9 LMGT1 4:01.021
34 53 Vitaphone Racing Team Aston Martin DBR9 LMGT1 4:01.065
35 33 Speedy Racing Team Sebah Lola Judd LMP2 4:02.692
36 55 IPB Spartak Racing Lamborghini LMGT1 4:03.404
37 82 Risi Competizione Ferrari F430 GT LMGT2 4:05.561
38 80 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche 997 GT3 RSR LMGT2 4:05.590
39 97 BMS Scuderia Italia Ferrari F430 GT LMGT2 4:06.894
40 96 Virgo Motorsport Ferrari F430 GT LMGT2 4:07.090
41 78 AF Corse SRL Ferrari F430 GT LMGT2 4:08.520
42 76 Imsa Performance Matmut Porsche 997 GT3 RSR LMGT2 4:10.898
43 73 Luc Alphand Aventures Corvette C6.R LMGT1 4:11.258
44 44 Kruse Schiller Motorsport Lola Mazda LMP2 4:11.830
45 40 Quifel ASM Team Lola AER LMP2 4:12.644
46 77 Team Felbermayr-Proton Porsche 997 GT3 RSR LMGT2 4:12.879
47 20 Epsilon Euskadi Epsilon Euskadi Judd LMP1 4:13.409
48 99 JMB Racing Ferrari F430 GT LMGT2 4:16.572
49 83 Risi Competizione Ferrari F430 GT LMGT2 4:17.177
50 30 Racing Box Lucchini Judd LMP2 4:24.058
51 22 Tokai University YGK Courage Oreca YGK LMP1 4:24.300
52 23 Autocon Creation Judd LMP1 4:25.439
53 90 Farnbacher Racing Ferrari F430 GT LMGT2 4:26.756
54 94 Speedy Racing Team Spyker C8 Laviolette LMGT2 4:28.882
55 85 Snoras Spyker Squadron Spyker C8 Laviolette LMGT2 4:34.552

All pictures John Brooks and David Lister.

Olivier Pla aboard the Quifel-ASM Lola-AER LMP2.

Amanda Stretton in the Chamberlain Synergy Lola-AER LMP1.

The Charouz Lola-Aston Martin B08/60 LMP1 Coupe.

The Speedy Racing Team Sebah Lola B08/80 LMP2 driven by Xavier Pompidou.

The Charouz entered Lola B07/10- Judd of Greg Pickett/Klaus Graf and Jan Lammers.

Jean De Pourtales driving the Kruse-Schiller Lola-Mazda LMP2.

Tommy Erdos at the wheel of the RML MG-Lola LMP2.