The Lola T600, a revolutionary prototype
The Lola T600 was a very important milestone in the history of endurance as it was the first ground effect prototype. Its design was a benchmark for all the future prototypes complying with the Group C regulations, which came into force in 1982.
This type of aerodynamic configuration had become standard in Formula 1 in the wake of Mario Andretti’s title in 1978 at the wheel of the Lotus 79. Ground effect consisted of the presence of two tunnels, one running along each side of the cockpit, using the principle of the reversed profile of an aeroplane wing, which created a low pressure zone under the car that increased the downforce and glued it to the road.
The Lola T600 appeared in 1981 entered by Cooke-Woods Racing. Powered by a normally-aspirated 6-litre Chevrolet engine it dominated the IMSA endurance championship (5 victories) in the hands of English driver, Brian Redman.
Also in 1981, the team entered the car presented here (chassis no. HU2) for the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The Chevrolet engine was replaced by a turbocharged flat-6 from a Porsche 935 for this race. But it suffered from a raft of technical problems and Redman and his American team-mate, Bobby Rahal, failed to qualify.
HU2 was sold by Cooke-Woods Racing and a V8 Chevrolet was installed. So far in 2019, it has been part of the CER (Classic Endurance Racing) grid at the Espiritu de Montjuich, Spa Classic and the Grand Prix de l’Age d’Or. Since 2018 it has been owned by a Swiss collector.
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