1971 Lola T260

1971 Lola T260 1971 Lola T260 1971 Lola T260 Sold for $221,500 at 2006 Bonhams & Butterfields at The Quail Lodge, Resort & Golf Club.
Sold for $304,000 at 2009 Bonhams - Quail Lodge Resort and Golf Club.
Sold for $308,235 (€224,000) at 2014 RM Auctions : Monaco.
John Surtees of Lola drove a T70 to the first Can-Am Championship in 1966 after winning three victories in the series. Dan Gurney and Mark Donohue each won one in their T70s. McLaren got the formula correct the following year, and the orange blur was unstoppable. They became known as 'The Bruce and Denny Show', as together, they dominated the season. Lola provided some competition to Team McLaren, with John Surtees and Mark Donohue capturing third and fourth in 1967 with their T70 Mk3Bs. For 1968 most of the major teams and drivers switched to McLaren. Lola introduced their T160 which was followed by the T163 in the following year. The T163 had been a development of the T160, resulting from improvements throughout the season. The T160 and T163 were able to provide podium finishes, but were still unable to outpace the dominate McLarens or repeat the success of the T70.

For the 1970 season, Lola introduced their T222 and drafted Peter Revson to pilot the machine. Revson was usually able to qualify well, but reliability issues often had him retiring from the races prematurely. The best finishes in the T222 came at Mid-Ohio when Revson was able to secure second overall. A third place at Donnybrooke and Laguna Seca were also highlights for this car.

For the 1971 season, Lola introduced a new car and driver. The car was the T260 and the driver was World Champion Jackie Stewart. Carl Haas was brought in to drive the new L&M Lola Team car, while the other car stood by as un-raced spare car. The T260 had been designed by Bob Marston with Eric Broadley overseeing the project and the progress. It was built atop a full monocoque with fuel bags located on either side of the tub. Each bag could hold around 30 gallons of fuel. A bell-housing was used to support the gearbox and to absorb the suspension loads. Located in the rear on the left-hand side was the oil tank. Mounted in the nose of the car was the battery. Just behind the dashboard was a fire extinguisher.

The suspension of the T260 was comprised of unequal length wishbones, Bilstein dampers and coil springs. The steering was a rack-and-pinion setup. The wheels were center-lock, peg-drive magnesium's with 15-inch wheels in the front and 17-inch Goodyear's in the rear.

Power was supplied through a 496 cubic-inch Chevrolet V8 engine that was tuned by George Foltz to produce over 700 horsepower and nearly 620 foot-pounds of torque. The engine had a Lucas fuel injection system and Scintilla Vertex magneto. The engine was mated to a Hewland four-speed gearbox that drove the rear wheels. The entire package of cars and components weighed a mere 1600 pounds.

The body of the car was designed with aerodynamic principles in mind. The nose panel has small screened holes located across a low-pressure area. This design extracts the hot air for the brakes and helps reduce aerodynamic lift. The rear wing was initially mounted well inboard, above the engine and gearbox adaptor.

As the season progressed, so did the Lola T260. Lola enlarged the nose splitter surface and added trim tabs. The tail wing was moved further aft. By the final races of the season, the T260 had been given an enormous subsidiary wing which protruded ahead of the nose.

This example shown is an ex-Stewart backup car that has spent most of its recent years in the Rosso Bianco Collection in Aschaffenburg, Germany. At the conclusion of the 1971 season, the Carl Hass and Jackie Steward cars were sold to American privateers who used them in the 1972 Challenge Cup Series. The new owners were Tom Heyser and Jerry Hasen. For 1972, the Porsche 917/10s were providing fierce competition and were providing new levels of performance that were unmatched. The glorious days of the Lola/Chevrolet T260 had passed.

This example shown was later acquired by Tom Heyser for the 1972 CanAm Championship Series. The car was retired from CanAm competition in 1972 and was sold mid-series, from the Edmonton round forward, to Canadian driver John Gunn.

The Lola T260 was a fast machine and immediately proved its capabilities by capturing the pole position in the opening round of the 1971 CanAm Series. The car lead the race, outpacing the McLarens, for most of the race until an oil leak from the transmission caused the gears to seize. The car was retired after just 19 laps.

The second round of the series was at St. Jovite. Hulme and his McLaren M8F captured the pole position and led from the start. The T260 driven by Stweart sat next to Hulme at the start and was in second place during most of the race. Hulme, and most of the McLaren team, had caught a stomach bug. After fifty-two laps, Hulme slowed due to exhaustion and fear of safety concerns. Stewart took the opportunity to get ahead of the McLaren and went on to capture the coveted checkered flag. This was the T260's first major victory in CanAm competition.

Two McLaren's were able to capture the top two starting positions for the third round of competition, at Road Atlanta. Stewart started from the third spot and played catch-up to the McLarens for only a short period. On lap three he negotiated his car around one of the McLarens in into second place. On lap eight, he passed Peter Revson for the lead position. This would be short-lived, as on lap 13 the T260 was in the pits due to a left rear tire puncture. The tire was changed but this took precious time and the T260 was now sitting three laps down and in 21st place. Stewart re-entered the race and quickly made up ground, passing cars, and improving his situation. This heroic run was again cut short due to mechanical problems and the car was brought back into the pits. The bodywork had begun to disintegrate and tape was needed to re-secure it in position. Stewart re-entered the race only to come back out permanently on lap 62 due to a broken right rear damper. This was very unfortunate, as the car has set a fastest lap time which meant it was the fastest car on the track.

The next round of competition was at Watkins Glen and the T260 was able to travel the twisty road course the fastest during qualifying and secured pole position. Hulme and Revson were in the next two positions. At the start of the race, Stewart was able to quickly expand his lead. The battle for first place was fought by Steward, Hulme, and Revson until a puncture in the tire sidelined the car temporarily. When Stewart re-entered the race, he was one lap down to the competition. Stewart set another fast lap time but this was not good enough. On lap 56 Stewart felt strong vibrations and brought the car into the pits and shut it off. The car was done for the day. The problem had been a failing transmission. The Lola Team's sights were turned to Mid-Ohio, the next race in the series.

Upon arriving at Mid-Ohio, Stewart immediately began to voice his disappointment with the track conditions. It was unsafe and in disarray. There were bumps and cracks on the track and dangerous obstacles surrounding the course. Work was done immediately to rectify the situation and the track conditions improved slightly. The work had been done overnight, with some of the tree's and poles cut and hay bails added near potentially dangerous obstacles. Upon seeing the result of the work, Stewart was still upset. He refused to compete, but said he would still enter the race.

Stewart qualified in third position on the grid. Some were still wondering if he would be true to his word and run the race but not compete. During the qualifying run, Stewart's concerns were reinforced when the Lola's suffered three rear suspension failures. When the flag drop to signal the start of the race, Stewart wasted no time in bringing his car into second place. Stewart kept to his promise and drove the car less aggressively than usual. He provided little competition to front-runner, Revson. Sadly for Revson, his McLaren car experienced problems on lap 72. The Lola driven by Stewart easily went into first position and secured another victory.

For round six of competition, the CanAm Series moved to Elkhart Lake where Stewart proved he was third fastest on the track. Stewart managed a second place position early in the race, but after ten laps was brought into the pits. The race for Stewart and the T260 were done. A new engine had been installed before the race and was the cause of the early retirement. A dropped cylinder liner had caused high engine temperatures and a ten-lap race for Stewart. This was the third DNF for Stewart of the season. Up to this point, Stewart had won twice and finished in 11th once.

At Donnybrooke for round seven of competition, Stewart was unable to beat the McLarens for proper position on the starting grid. Instead, he settled for third. The T260 had been given a modified rear suspension but the car was still two seconds slower in qualifying than the McLarens. Stewart got a great start and lead for a few laps. This would be short-lived, as Revson quickly regained the lead. Hulme tried but was unable to pass the T260. Stewart would stay in second until lap 22 when a problem caused the car to pit. The car was quickly examined, but nothing was found to be wrong. Stewart re-entered the race, now sitting in tenth position and over a lap down. Stewart drove the car into fourth place and was continuing to regain ground when a tire puncture brought the car back into the pits. When the Lola re-emerged on the track, it was sitting two laps down to the front-runners. Stewart would finish the race in sixth place.

Edmonton was the next race on the circuit. Only two races remained after this race. The Lola Team had been working on improving the vehicles aerodynamics and for Edmonton, the car was given additional downforce. Also, the rear wing was moved back in an effort to better balance the nose. The car qualified third. During the race, Stewart was able to manage to put the second place car into third. More exceptional driving rewarded Stewart with the lead position. Half way through the race, the front-runners began lapping the slower cars. While trying to pass Motschenbacher, Stewart was forced into the grass. This must have caused problems with the cars handling. Hulme began to catch up and eventually was able to re-take the lead. Thirteen laps were left. The handling of Stewarts' car, by this point, had worsened causing Stewart to spin the car. When Stewart resumed he was still in second place but would be unable to catch Hulme. As the checkered flag dropped, Stewart and his Lola T260 remained in second place.

Laguna Seca was the next race in the circuit. Its winding course features hills, slopes, and even blind corners. It's a challenging course that is entertaining and exciting for drivers and spectators. Experimentation and evolution continued on the Lola T260. The high nose was no longer; instead, the car was given a massive front wing that projected out in front of the nose cone. It was big and did little to raise the allure of the car. If it could be useful, then all of that did not matter.

During qualifying, Stewart found himself in unfamiliar territory, sitting in fourth place. During the race, fourth was only temporary as he secured third place after just 10 laps. Hulme's car had a broken valve spring in his engine which improved Stewart's position. Revson was in the lead, and his twenty-five seconds was a pretty clear indication that Stewart would have to work very hard if he wanted the lead. The lead was cut short when a collision with a lapped car, driven by Hiroshi Kazato, brought the McLaren into the pits for quick repairs. When he emerged, he was now only nine seconds in front of Stewart. Over time, Revson was able to increase his lead and put some distance behind the Lola. With only twenty laps to end, Revson's car began to lose power. Revson drove the car carefully for the next eighteen laps, trying to avoid disaster. Blue smoke began to emerge from the car, with only a couple of laps remaining. Revson continued to race, even though he was shown the black flag. He finished in first, but the officials anointed Stewart as the winner. Revson and his team protested these results stating he had not seen the flag. It took a few hours after the race, but the decision was reversed and Revson was given the victory and a mere $250 fine.

Riverside was the next and last race of the season. The long season was coming to an end. The Lola qualified third. The car's appearance had changed since it last raced. It now had side-plates on its rear wing, again, in an effort to improve the vehicle's aerodynamics and handling. Hulme took an early lead and remained in that position. Stewart worked his way into second until lap 27 when a piston failure meant his season was over much sooner than the competition.

For the 1971 CanAm Championship, the Lola finished just as it had done in qualifying for so many of the races, in third place. The car, at the hands of Stewart, was able to provide competition for the McLaren cars throughout the season. Had it not been for reliability issues, the standings may have been different. The Lola had proven it had what was necessary to win, providing two first-place finishes and two second place finishes. Unfortunately, four of the eight races were unfinished by the Lola, as mechanical difficulties sidelined the car prematurely.

This ex-L&M Carl Haas/Jackie Stewart backup team car was offered for sale at the 2006 Bonhams & Butterfields auction held at the Quail Lodge in Carmel, California where it was estimated to sell between $240,000 - $280,000. At auction, the car was sold for $221,500.

In 2009, this car was offered for sale by Bonhams at the Exceptional Motorcars and Automobilia at the Quail Lodge in Carmel, CA. The lot was sold for the sum of $304,000 inclusive of Buyer's Premium.

By Daniel Vaughan | Nov 2009

1971 Lola T260 Vehicle Profiles

1971 Lola T260 vehicle information
CanAm Racing Spider

Designer: Bob Marston
Chassis #: T260-HU2

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