Lola 50th celebrated at Grane Parade des Pilotes

Lola 50th Anniversary celebrated with RML AD Group MG Lola EX265 Classic Automotive, a voluntary organisation with a passion for the Le Mans 24 Hours, has organised a "Grande Parade des Pilotes" through the centre of Le Mans on the Friday ...

Lola 50th Anniversary celebrated with RML AD Group MG Lola EX265

Classic Automotive, a voluntary organisation with a passion for the Le Mans 24 Hours, has organised a "Grande Parade des Pilotes" through the centre of Le Mans on the Friday preceding the start of the Vingt Quatre Heures for the past fourteen years. In 2008 they are marking the 50th Anniversary of the founding of Lola Cars by using images of the RML AD Group MG Lola EX265 to illustrate the official poster for the event. The poster was unveiled on Monday May 23rd, and will be displayed prominently throughout the Sarthe region for the next four weeks.

The Parade is now one of the highlights of the build-up to the Le Mans 24 Hours, and this year takes place on Friday 13th June, starting at 6:00pm. For two hours or more the heart of the historic city of Le Mans will be packed with tens of thousands of spectators, each eager to catch a glimpse of the drivers who will be participating in the weekend's endurance race. Carried through the streets in a glorious selection of vintage and classic cars, including the Lola T70 MkIIIB that Masten Gregory and Jo Bonnier raced at Le Mans in 1969, the drivers will be the main attraction in a colourful, noisy and highly animated procession that will also include an impressive collection of exotic supercars, dancers, jugglers and marching bands.

The very first sportscar emerged from the Lola workshops in 1958, and over the years the Huntingdon-based manufacturer has been responsible for creating not only some of the most successful, but also many of the most graceful and innovative cars ever to compete on the racetrack. Lola first appeared at Le Mans in 1960 with a Coventry Climax engined Mk1 Lola. Since then many Lola built sportscars have raced in the 24 Hours, notably the classic T70 MkIIIB and a host of 2-litre designs throughout the 1970's.

For the last three years the LMP2 category in the Le Mans 24 Hours has been won by Lola-designed chassis, with the RML AD Group MG Lola taking the class win in 2005 and 2006. This year Lola has seven chassis participating in the Le Mans 24 hours, comprising three LMP1 and four LMP2. It is the company's largest entry at Le Mans since 1979, when a certain Ray Mallock was part of a team lead by Simon Philips that claimed third place in the two-litre class with a Cosworth-powered Lola T286.

The poster features an image of the RML AD Group MG Lola EX265 taken during Round 2 of the 2008 Le Mans Series at Monza, Italy (Photo: David Stephens) with the team's three drivers: Mike Newton, Andy Wallace and Thomas Erdos superimposed above. Mike and Tommy are current holders of the Le Mans Series LMP2 title, while Andy is still celebrated for his outright Le Mans win with Jaguar in 1988. Since then he has won more than 30 major endurance races, including the Daytona 24 Hours, the Sebring 12 Hours, the Silverstone 4 Hours and Petit Le Mans -- some of them several times.

RML, founded by Ray Mallock, is an English automotive development company and race preparation specialist based in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire. In addition to preparing racecars for manufacturers such as Vauxhall, Nissan, Aston Martin, Opel, Mercedes and Chevrolet, RML has also designed racecars from the ground up, such as the Saleen S7. For the past four years RML has worked in partnership with Lola Cars to perfect the MG EX264 and MG EX265 LMP2 sports prototypes, winning Le Mans twice and securing the Le Mans Series LMP2 team title in 2007.

Founded by CEO Mike Newton, AD Group - the principal sponsor of the MG Lola EX265 - has a long pedigree in technological and engineering excellence as the number one innovator in the field of video management solutions for CCTV, Surveillance and Consumer Electronics Industries. The Group's brands span a broad range of highly demanding applications which range from the strict safety and performance requirements of the Aerospace Industry through FlightVu in flight video recorder - to MOD, Government and Public Transport through TransVu mobile vehicle video recorders and Dedicated Micros - the leading brand revolutionising the CCTV market with their new robust high definition CCTV solutions. RML's X-PRO race recorder, which is built upon AD Group's video technology, is installed within the EX265 and is used to monitor driver performance when coupled with the vehicle's telemetry data. Without doubt it has contributed towards making Mike and Tommy the slick driver line-up they are today.

RML AD Group congratulates Lola Cars on 50 ground-breaking years and is pleased to be associated with such an evocative name in British motorsport.

-credit: lolacars.com

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About this article
Series Le Mans
Drivers Andy Wallace , Mike Newton , Thomas Erdos , Ray Mallock
Teams Nissan Motorsports