As Cristiano da Matta took the checkered flags at Sunday's Grand Prix Americas driving his ...
As Cristiano da Matta took the checkered flags at Sunday's Grand Prix Americas driving his #6 Chevron Lola/Toyota, cheers began on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. His seventh win of the season gave da Matta the 2002 CART Drivers title with Newman/Haas Racing Team, and anointed Lola Cars the winner of the 2002 Constructors championship, its first since the title was awarded in 1994. It is particularly gratifying that this title came with the assistance of old friends Newman/Haas Racing and owners Carl Haas and Paul Newman, whose development work over the past few seasons has helped make the Lola B02/00 the dominant chassis in Champ Car racing.
"Everyone at Lola is delighted for Newman/Haas. We congratulate them and Cristiano da Matta for the excellent job they have done this year," said Martin Birrane, Executive Chairman of Lola Cars International Ltd., who was on-site in Miami. "After the hard early years since we acquired Lola in 1997, this has been a long wait, but such dominant victories in the Drivers, Teams and Constructors title chase are all the sweeter," he noted. "The proof is there for all to see. The car has been very effective everywhere this season and the continued work and investment at our Huntingdon headquarters has been evident. I enjoy saying 'well done' to all the people who work at Lola. We all hope that the final three 2002 races will be Lola wins, rounding out a great season."
Jeff Swartwout, Vice President of Lola Cars USA is equally effusive: "Cristiano's win and the hard work at Newman/Haas have proved what a fine race car Lola produces. On street courses, road circuits, long and short ovals, we have shown the teams what an excellent car the 2002 B02/00 truly is. This season," Swartwout said, "Lola sold more cars than ever before, against strong competition. The decision of those who chose to drive with Lola has been more than vindicated. Congratulations to all at Newman/Haas Racing."
Commenting on the team's fourth driving championship in 20 years, co-owner Carl Haas noted, "the team was more together this year than any time I can remember. I wouldn't call it easy, but it all came together and everyone worked together for this goal."
Lola Cars would like to thank the design office for its brilliance, the engineers who spent long hours in the wind tunnel and note the great skill and expertise in the composite, fabrication, production and assembly areas. Lola has benefited from the investment and the direction of the four years since there was a sole Lola running in CART (1998) to become the dominant car, in every sense, in 2002.