Lola T70


Lola T70

The Lola T70 was built for sports car racing, popular in the mid to late 1960's. Developed by Lola Racing Cars in 1965 in Great Britain, the T70 was made for endurance racing. In 1966, the open-cockpit Mk II version with a Chevrolet V8 engine was an entry in the CanAm series, winning five of six races during the year. In 1967, the T70 raced again but only won one race, outpowered by the newer McLaren made cars.

Despite its short-lived success in the CanAm series, the T70 was quite popular, with more than 100 examples of the vehicle being built in 3 versions. The first version, besides the original factory car, was the open-roofed Mk II, joined by the Coupé-version Mk III, and a slightly updated version, the Mk IIIB. The T70 was replaced in the CanAm by its lighter, stronger predecessor, the Lola T160.

When the FIA changed the rules for sports car racing that came in effect for 1968, limiting the engine size of prototypes to 3 liter, an exemption was made: sportscars with 5000cc engines were allowed, if at least 50 were made. This rule allowed the popular yet slightly outdated Ford GT40 and Lola T70s to continue racing. Yet, instead of being only cannon-fodder to a few factory-built prototypes, the Fords won again twice at Le Mans, while Lola took the 1969 24 Hours of Daytona. When the minimum number was lowered to 25 for 1969, the new Porsche 917 and Ferrari 512 were homologated at five litres, and outclassed the older Lolas and Fords.

The T70's Chevrolet engine tended to suffer reliability problems when racing in Europe, in part due to the grade of fuel allowed. When forced to run on commercially available "pump fuel", with a lower octane rating than the "Avgas" permitted under American rules, engine failures were common. In modern historic racing those same engines show much improved reliability due to a number of factors: in modern historic racing engines tend to be detuned slightly, quality control tends to be much higher, and fuel quality far better than the historically poor fuel supplied by the ACO when these cars raced in the 1960's.

An Aston Martin engined coupe bodied T70 was entered by Lola at Le Mans in 1967, but even with drivers such as John Surtees, the car failed to deliver. The Aston Martin V8 engine failed after short runs, characterised by poor power and overheating, problems that were found to be due to a lack of development. In turn, the lack of development was attributed to an overly tight budget.

During the filming of Steve McQueen's ""Le Mans"", Lola chassis were sacrificed, disguised with bodywork of the Porsche and Ferrari that starred in the film. T70s also appear, albeit modified, in George Lucas' first commercial film, "THX-1138".

Nowadays, the Lolas are still driven in classic car events like the Classic Endurance Racing series.

Replicas

A UK company, "Gardner Douglas" produces a car named "T70 Spyder" with styling inspired by the Lola car, and using an aluminium spaceframe chassis with GRP panelling.

A US company, "Race Car Replicas" produces an authentic looking replica of both the Spyder and MkIIIB coupe T70 using an aluminium monocoque chassis.

T70 Mk3B - 2005

In 2005 Lola cars announced that the classic 60s and 70s racer, the T70 Mk3B, was to be reborn for the new millennium.
It’s a faithful race-ready reincarnation of the original Chevy V8-powered track car. An authentic and limited continuation series of the iconic sportscar.
The car is still available from Lola today.


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