1965 Lola T70 MKII news, pictures, specifications, and information
British race car builder Eric Broadley was one of the first to combine light weight mid-engine chassis with American V-8 power, in the Lola GT that ran at Le Mans in 1963. In 1965 he introduced the T70, which for two years was the world's fastest racing car.
Developed by World champion driver John Surtees, with 500 HP and weighing 1750 pounds, it had blinding acceleration, 0 to 100 mph in less than six seconds with stable, predictable handling.
Surtees won the first Can-Am Championship with a T70 in 1966.
Of the forty-odd originally built, few T70 roadsters have survived, and very few with as much of the original car intact as this one.
Eric Broadley's Lola T70 was a magnificent sports-racing car that was truly the hot setup in late 1965 and 1966, just right for the Can-Am series. However, the next year it was totally eclipsed by the McLaren M6. The MkII was the open car, the MKIII the closed, and most of the 100-plus made were powered by 5-liter Chevrolet V8s. World Champion John Surtees did much of the early development work - 500 horsepower in a 1750lb car - and actually won the first Can-Am race in this Team Surtees car at St. Jovite, Canada, on September 11, 1966 after 75 laps of going hard at it with Bruce McLaren and Chris Amon in a pair of McLaren M1Bs.
In 1965 the Lola Racing Cars Group introduced the T70. During its lifetime from 1965 through 1969 over 100 examples were produced in three versions. They were designed for endurance racing with excellent aerodynamics and flowing lines. The chassis was constructed of aluminum monocoque that was both lightweight and rigid. The project was undertaken by Eric Broadley of Lola Cars with assistance from F1 world champion John Surtees. Originally, Broadley had been considered by Ford to build a racer which could defeat Ferrari at LeMans. Colin Chapman of Lotus and Cooper were also considered. After some consideration, the project was given to Broadley of Lola. Ford had been impressed with the Lola Mark VI mid-engined racer which was powered by a Ford 4.2-liter engine and produced around 350 horsepower. The sleek body had been created by John Frayling and utilized some of the most exotic materials available. By 1965 Ford had their Ferrari slayer and Broadley was ready to again work under his own supervision. He was not fond of how the GT40 had progressed and felt that it had gone in too many directions with each decision being analyzed by a committee. Work began on the T70 which would share many similarities to the GT40. In a sense, the Lola T70 was a result of Enzo Ferrari, since the GT40 had been created to defeat Ferrari at Le Mans. The first version was the MKII open-roofed version. The second version was the MKIII Coupe-version followed by the MK IIIB.
The stright back end soon gave it the nickname of 'breadvan' as it resembled delivery trucks of that era. The rear body shape was the result of lessons-learned from the GT40 project and its handling on the Mulsanne straight at Le Mans. It was designed to eliminate some of the lift created a high speeds. The GT40 created 300 kg of lift at speed while the Lola T70 only created 200 kg of down force though it did increase drag.
Though designed for endurance racing, the T70 proved most potent on the short sprint races where its lightweight body and superior handling made it very competitive. Reliability issued plagued the car on races of more than three hours. The Chevrolet small-block power-plant was unsuitable to utilize the high octane fuels which powered other racers. The engine was unable to fully utilize European fuels and as such, did not perform as well as intended in international competition.
The T70 MKII was entered in the competitive and newly formed CanAm series where it dominated at nearly ever race it entered, winning five of the six rounds. John Surtees won the title after winning three of those races in a factory car. The cars were also successful in Group 7 racing until the series came to a halt in 1966. 1966 was the final year for a successful season for the Lola T70s in CanAm racing as McLaren would dominate the following year. The T70 would win only one CanAm race in 1967. The powerful McLaren M6 racers easily overpowered the T70. In retaliation, the T70 IIIB was introduced which improved power and performance. The front was improved to separate the airflow between the bottom and top of the car, thus, minimizing pressure underneath the vehicle. Power came from a 327 small-block Chevrolet engine which was later upgraded to a 350 cubic-inch unit. It would go on to win many international endurance races. One of the most famous of its victories was the 1969 Daytona 24 Hours driven by Mark Donohue and Chuck Parsons. The demise of the racer occurred when rule changes which limited the size of then engine made it obsolete. This benefited the Ferrari 312 and Porsche 917 as their F1 engines were appropriate and highly tuned.
By 1968 a new car was needed; Lola introduced the T160 which was lighter and more powerful than its predecessor.
The Lola T70 was important for sports racing for many reasons with the most recognizable being the importance of down force at a cost of extra drag. The cars won many important victories during the close of the 1960's and have continued in competition to this day, with many racing in historic racing events.
By Daniel Vaughan | Feb 2008
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