- Lola T92/10
The Lola T92/10 (also briefly known as the Lola 981) was a
Group Csports car developed by Lola Racing Carsas a customer chassis for the 1992 World Sportscar Championship season. It would be the final sports car built by Lola until their return in 1998.
Following years of success building prototypes for
Chevroletin the IMSA GTP series as well as Nissanin the World Sportscar Championshipand All Japan Sports Prototype Championship, Lola ended the 1991 season without a major manufacturer to back their sports car effort. Lola was therefore left to develop a car with the intent of allowing customers to buy a complete package, rather than relying on a major automobile manufacturer to dictate the car's design.
Chief Designer Wiet Huidekoper started with a clean sheet of paper for the T92/10 though the car would feature familiar architectural themes. One key design element retained from the R89/R90 Nissans were the two large air intakes on the nose. These would be expanded, sitting farther back in order to improve aerodynamics and increase cooling. This made for a much smaller, flatter nose then the Nissans had had, while the headlights would retain a near identical look. An engine inlet would also be added to the roof of the car given that the T92/10s would be normally aspirated. The sidepods would retain a look similar to the Nissans, although slightly tweaked to allow for better venting of air. The rear would be radically different, supporting a tall double wing instead of the single element wing that had been previously used.
For an engine, Lola would turn to Judd to supply a motor to meet the new 3.5 litre requirements for
Group C. Judd would use their Formula One V10 enginethough dubbed the GV10 in the sportscar application. It's compact design allowed for much tighter bodywork on the Lola, and was powerful enough to compete with the major manufacturers of the World Sportscar Championship.
A model of the T92/10 was unveiled to the public for the first time at the
1991 430km of Nürburgring. A total of three T92/10s were built, with a fourth chassis possibly existing yet never sold nor raced.
Charles Zwolsman of the Netherlands would become the primary customer of the T92/10, his Euro Racing squad purchasing the first two chassis for use in the
1992 World Sportscar Championship season. Facing the factory Peugeot, Toyota, and Mazdateams, EuroRacing would be one of the few privateer teams in the championship.
The 1992 season was difficult for Euro Racing and their new Lola. At the opening round at a wet Monza, the Lola's suffered their first difficulties. Both cars suffered gearbox failures, with one car failing to even take the start. The following round at Silverstone would see another gearbox failure for one of the cars, while the second managed to finish. Post-race inspection, however, found the finishing T92/10 to have used an illegal fuel compound, and the Euro Racing entry was disqualified. The
24 Hours of Le Manswould see a similar result, with one car suffering transmission failure while the other would finish. This time the finishing car's result remained, but it was a distant 80 laps behind the winner.
The second half of the season would see Euro Racing keeping with their usual trend of having one car finish, while the second car would not.
Donington Parkwould see a fire in the cockpit take out one of the T92/10s, while at Suzuka Circuita Judd engine would fail. At the end of the season at Magny-Cours, Euro Racing's T92/10s would fail technical scrutineering and would not be allowed to participate. This would leave Euro Racing a distant fifth in the teams championship when the season came to a close. The World Sportscar Championshipwas dissolved in 1993, and Euro Racing went bankrupt and their T92/10s were sold off to private hands for storage in collections. Chassis #HU-02 currently participates in the Historic Sportscar Racing.
In 1995, McNeil Engineering would purchase a third T92/10 chassis for use in the
Interseriechampionship. Although the Group Cformula was technically dead, the car was still legal for use against modified open-wheel race cars. Driven by Canadian Robbie Stirling and retaining the Judd V10 engine originally built in 1992, the T92/10 would take its first overall win in 1996 at Brands Hatch, followed with another at the end of the season at Circuito de Albacete, earning McNeil Engineering third in the championship. The car scored one more victory at the Hungaroringin 1997 before McNeil Engineering decided to switch to the new International Sports Racing Series.
In order to comply with the new Sports Racer (SR) rules, similar to
Le Mans Prototype(LMP) rules, the car had to be an open-cockpit sportscar. This required McNeil Engineering to remove the doors and roof from the car, although the windshield was mostly retained for aerodynamic purposes. A rollbar was added to the back in order to allow for driver safety. The large air scoop that had previously been on the roof was also removed, and small vents were placed on the side of the cockpit to feed air to the engine. Because of the extensive modifications, McNeil Engineering renamed the car a Lola 981, although this was not an official designation from Lola.
The car suffered many technical problems, managing to finish a mere two races that season. Partially through the season, the old Judd GV10 unit was replaced with a more modern, and slightly larger displacement GV4 V10. However this would not be able to overcome the technical problems faced by McNeil Engineering, as the car finished the season having only scored six points total. It is interesting to note that the 981 competed at the same time that Lola's new SR prototype was debuting following a six year hiatus, the B98/10.
Following the disappointment of their open-cockpit effort, the 981 would be abandoned for 1998. However, the car was actually returned to its original closed cockpit form and reunited with its Judd GV10 engine, making the car known as the T92/10 once again, and McNeil Engineering would re-enter the car in the Interserie championship for 2000. The car would manage another victory for its record in 2001 at the
A1-Ringbefore finally being retired from racing in 2002. This car is still retained by McNeil Engineering in the United Kingdom.
* [http://wsrp.ic.cz/chassis/chassis_lola_c.html World Sports Racing Prototypes] - Lola Group C chassis index
* [http://www.race-cars.com/carsales/lola/1109278853/1109278853ss.htm Race-Cars.com] - Lola T92/10 #HU-01 for sale
* [http://www.race-cars.com/carsales/lola/1120758651/1120758651ss.htm Race-Cars.com] - Lola T92/10 #HU-03 for sale (including specifications)
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