A temporada de 1997 foi terrível para a Lola. Na verdade, não foi nem uma temporada, considerando que o time MasterCard Lola F1 só competiu na corrida inaugural, o GP da Austrália. O patrocinador decidiu tirar o projeto da tomada depois do fiasco em Melbourne. Sem fundos, o time faliu antes mesmo de chegar ao GP do Brasil, três semanas depois. Mas algo bom saiu do Lola T97/30 F1: o Lola F1R. Ele é o único carro de F1 legalizado para as ruas. E será leiloado muito em breve.
Para sermos justos, ele não é exatamente igual ao carro de corrida, já que algumas mudanças precisaram ser feitas para que ele pudesse ser emplacado no Reino Unido. O vão livre, por exemplo, precisou ser aumentado e pode ser ajustado entre 50 mm e 75 mm.
Enquanto o Lola T97/30 F1 tinha um motor V8 de 3 litros naturalmente aspirado, um Ford Zetec-R, ligado a uma transmissão semi-automática, o F1R usa um motor Cosworth turbinado de 2 litros, com quatro cilindros, ligado a uma transmissão manual de cinco marchas. Em sua configuração atual, ele gera 375 cv, mas o vendedor diz que basta ajustar o turbocompressor para ampliar facilmente a potência.
Para poder passar pelas inspeções de segurança, o F1R recebeu faróis, lanternas, luzes de seta e um freio de mão. Desenhado e fabricado pela Lola, o carro estaria em perfeitas condições. Não surpreende, já que ele rodou apenas 40 km e foi guardado em uma garagem climatizada. Fora as mudanças que mencionamos, ele é basicamente um carro de F1 de 1997, com freios carbocerâmicos, suspensão pushrod e os mesmos painéis de carroceria.
O proprietário diz que o F1R é "bom no trânsito", ainda que tenhamos sérias dúvidas sobre isso.
Se você estiver interessado, o F1R será leiloado pela Bonhams em Londres no dia 7 de dezembro, quando o carro deverá arrecadar algo em torno de £ 55.000 e £ 85.000 (entre R$ 233 mil e R$ 360 mil). Para um carro de F1, temos certeza de que você esperava uma dolorosa bem mais doída...
Galeria: Lola T97/30 F1 1997 Road Car F1R
Registration no. AE59 ERV
Chassis no. 7A4N9N319S106N52R
*Road legal in the UK
*Only circa 25 miles since completion
- Design and race engineers at Lola, headed by Russell Anniston, were challenged by way of a wager to build a Formula 1-style car that could be UK road registered. The street car had to embody the excitement, visual cues, and sense of theatre of a traditional Formula 1 racing car, while still addressing the practical road issues involved. The most practical way of demonstrating this was to build one. It took the best part of 15 years from concept through design to completion, and the result is a combination of several racetrack and road-car technologies. Needless to say, after this magnificent creation's completion, the wager was won.
The F1R was built around a circa 1996 Lola chassis (which may have come from the company's aborted 1997 F1 project) utilising the tub, wings, suspension, nose none, body panels, radiator ducting, and other ancillaries.
Although during this period of Formula 1, normally aspirated engines of 3.0-litres capacity were used, it was felt that for road use a 2.0-litre turbo-charged Cosworth YB unit would offer the optimum balance. The four-cylinder Cosworth was mated to a G50 five-speed manual gearbox for simplicity of use, while the ready availability of parts ensures easy ongoing maintenance. The engine is presently tuned to deliver a healthy 370bhp, but adjusting the turbo can substantially increase this.
Ground clearance was one of the most obvious areas of consideration, and this F1 derived road car runs at an increased and adjustable 50-75mm. As with an F1 car, the aerodynamically critical surfaces and wings generate increased levels of downforce as speed rises. Both front and rear wings are adjustable.
The F1R is an amalgamation of various racing vehicle technologies, and uses conventional components where appropriate. All service items are readily available. The F1R was built and assembled by Lola engineers to the highest standards with customary attention to detail. The net result is a car that quite possibly provides the closest sensation of driving a single-seat racer on the road.
To say it is eye-catching on the road is somewhat of an understatement. The owner reports that the car is good in traffic, very easy to drive, and offers tremendous performance when required - it even has a 'handbrake' to comply with UK regulations. The F1R is offered in effectively 'as new' condition, having covered only some 25 miles and been stored in a climate controlled environment with a stable of other cars. The maintenance programme includes starting and warming up to operational temperatures every month. The F1R's last outing was in early autumn for its annual MoT test.
The seller, an avid motorsport enthusiast and driver, is very happy to offer any advice to the buyer. Furthermore, one of Lola's former race engineers is also available to offer advice. A spares package is included with the car, and an inventory of these parts is available from Bonhams. A comprehensive history of the specifications and build of this striking car is available also.
Offered with a DVLA V5C document giving the first date of registration as 13th October 2009, this is the only such motor car built and is fully road legal in the UK having passed the government SVA tests. Coming to sale at a fraction of the price such a car would cost to commission today, this extraordinary vehicle represents a unique opportunity to any motorsport collector.