Lola racecars are extremely special for their value-for-money today, racing pedigree, and also their incredibly timeless grace and beauty.
This was a racing team directly formed in the late 1950s with one goal: build a car from scratch to win LeMans.
The resulting semi-monocoque chassis design – now known as a unibody – was revolutionary at the time of frame-based racers from nearly every other racing company and nearly every single road car.
A semi-monocoque? Oh yes. The other part is also pretty advanced for the time: a steel spaceframe for the engine and rear suspension cradle.
In fact, the Lola GT Mk 6 formed the basis for the Ford GT40 as well as campaigning across a half-dozen racing series itself. In fact, the Ford GT40 spin-off was originally developed in-house (at Lola) by Ford guys on a one-year contract partnership with Lola.
This RM Example shows some of the amazing chassis design with the panels off.
Stunning, right? Okay: Back to the Superformance cars at Olthoff Racing!
Yep, Lola and Ford shared a roof for a time and also engines for many years – until the foundation of Ford Advanced Vehicles became official at the end of the one-year collaborative effort. Ford moved from Huntingdon, England about 90 minutes south to Slough, right near Heathrow airport, to finalize their Ford-branded version: the GT40.
Dennis Olthoff pictured above with the Mk II Superformance Lola at his factory showroom, Olthoff Racing in North Carolina.
Much was changed about the Lola template, but much more was kept by Ford Advanced Vehicles for what would become the GT40.
They share many gorgeous form factors – with the Lola cars being perhaps even more beautiful than the GT40 Mark I – let alone the GT40 Mark II.
But Ford’s revisions proved their worth: the Lola-derived GT40 Mark II went on to deliver four of the most celebrated LeMans overall victories on record.
Perhaps feeling a twang of irritation, Lola then moved closer to a Chevrolet partnership for the Can-Am Spyder – which was generally powered by a 5.7-liter CHevrolet V8 for most of the 67 official versions made in the 1960s.
But the Superformance and Olthoff Racing version?
We’re not 100-percent sure, but the crew will likely install either Ford or Chevy power under that giant rear canopy…
2014 Superformance Lola Mk III at Olthoff Racing
2014 Superformance Lola Mk II Can-Am Spyder at Olthoff Racing
Tom Burkart is the founder and managing editor of Car-Revs-Daily.com, an innovative and rapidly-expanding automotive news magazine.
He holds a Journalism JBA degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Tom currently resides in Charleston, South Carolina with his two amazing dogs, Drake and Tank.
Mr. Burkart is available for all questions and concerns by email Tom(at)car-revs-daily.com.