Lola's T142 was unable to challenge the very capable and competitive monocoque Eagle during the 1969 F5000/A season. For the 1970 season, Broadley introduced an updated version of the car, one that was lighter, smaller, lower, and had a monocoque chassis. It was dubbed the T190.
During the first six races, the Gurney Eagle emerged victorious in five of those events. The T190 was still off the pace and in need of further development. McLaren and Surtees were improving their cars and would soon have a formidable contender against the Eagles. Lola's T190 would become more competitive after Frank Gardner developed his car with a longer wheelbase. Further work to the T190 resulted in the T192.
Mark Donohue drove a T190 at Sebring in December of 1969 and was easily leading the pack before the car suffered mechanical issues and was forced to leave the race prematurely. Though it was a good car, customers criticized it as being difficult to learn and drive. Their feelings stemmed from the short wheelbase which took practice and experience to understand its handling characteristics and responses.
Work and experimentation began on lengthening the car (the T190 had a wheelbase of 88-inches while the T192 measured around 92-inches). With this, plus many other modifications including a revised monocoque tube and changes to the suspension resulted in the T192. Other changes included switching from a steel cross-member assembly to lightweight magnesium, resulting in lower weight and better performance. The one-piece fiberglass body of the T190 had proven to be cumbersome when dealing with repairs. The entire piece had to be removed in order for service (or the car refueled) to be performed. The T192 was given a two-piece body consisting of a front section and a rear section. The front part covered the nose area and when removed, allowed access to the radiator. The back section featured hinged fuel lids, allowing easier access to the fuel tank. The rear section of the car is secured by push-button operated quick-release pins while the front section is held on by Dzus fasteners. Along with making the car more serviceable, the new bodywork setup allowed for a lower profile in the front and a smaller opening for the cooling system, resulting in a reduction in aerodynamic drag.
The first T192 was sent to Mark Donohue at Penske Racing to be used in the North American Formula 5000 series. At Mosport and in heavy rain, Donohue drove off-course due to the slippery conditions. This accident occurred on the first lap and the very first turn. His expedition off-course resulted in contact with the guardrail and incurring minimal damage. Donohue would return to the race and would fight his way back to the front and claim top honors.
At Mid-Ohio, Donohue spun the T192 in practice and caused considerable damage to the car. He would miss the Mid-Ohio race, as repairs began to his prototype car. With work completed rather quickly, it was ready in time for a test session at Summit Point. It was not long before it became evident the quick patchwork was not up to the strain of racing.
Donohue corresponded with Lola proprietor Eric Broadley for assistance with the T192. Donohue's concerns centered on the car's handling; Broadley thought the problems maybe with the front suspension setup. So a replacement monocoque tub with the revised suspension setup was made ready for shipping. Changes to the suspension including shorter A-arms and revised mounting points, plus other modifications.
By the time Donohue's T192 had been rebuilt, tested, and tuned his car, the Formula 5000 season was coming to a close. The car was made ready for the final race of the season at Sebring. The high-mounted wing was replaced with a lower-mounted wing, in hopes of having less drag and higher top speed. Another reason for this change was that F5000 seasons outside of the United States had already forbidden the high-mounted wing, and the US was expected to enforce this rule as well for the 1971 season.
At Sebring, Donohue skillfully drove his finely tuned Chevy 5-liter V8 powered T192 to an overall victory. The hard work, testing, and teething problems had resulted in two wins in both of the races it had started and finished.
Lola had produced seventeen examples of the T190 followed by twelve examples of the T192. By Daniel Vaughan | Jun 2010
First race by Al Unser at Questor GP in Riverside, CA in March of 1971. Campaigned in the L&M Grand Prix - Continental 5000 championship series by Kastner-Brophy Racing with Jim Dittemore as driver, US 1971, finishing 5th overall in the Series Champi....[continue reading]
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