Lola get set for Le Mans in its Golden Anniversary year
Lola to start after serious qualifying accident Lola Cars International will compete in this year's Le Mans 24 Hours with seven entries, three in the LMP1 class and four entries in the LMP2 division of which Lola has triumphed in the last four years. The 2008 edition of the world's greatest and toughest race sees the Huntingdon-based racing car constructor start its 33rd Le Mans 24 Hours. With the Charouz Racing System Lola-Aston Martin lining up 6th on the grid, ahead of an Audi R10 diesel, expectation and anticipation is high for a classic Le Mans this year.
Encapsulating the spirit of the race, the Kruse Schiller Lola-Mazda team will take the start after making the morning warm up following an exhausting rebuild of their B07/40 after a qualifying accident on Wednesday evening. In one of the largest accidents seen at Le Mans in recent years, Japanese racer Hideki Noda rolled the Lola several times on the entry to the Dunlop chicane. Destroying almost every component on the chassis, Noda escaped injury, testifying to the strength and integrity of the Huntingdon built monocoque, which stood up superbly well to the 180mph barrel roll.
Kai Kruse, Team Principal of the Kruse-Schiller team has rallied his team over the last three days to ensure that the Lola-Mazda can take the start of the 76th running of the Le Mans 24 Hours. "I am really so proud of the whole team. The effort has been incredible from the suppliers and Lola in particular. It has been a fantastic effort to get Hideki to do the warm up and now we must focus on getting the car prepared for the race," said Kruse. Jean
De Pourtales and Allan Simonsen partner Noda in the Kruse-Sciller team and despite not completing his three mandatory night laps in qualifying because of the accident, Simonsen has been granted special dispensation to be allowed in to the race. Immediately after Noda's accident several Lola composite specialists were flown over to Le Mans to oversee the repair of the B07/10 monocoque. Working in conjunction with the Matrix/Project 7 company, Lola and Kruse administered both pre-preg and wet lay-up composite repairs to ensure that the car was rebuilt. The team worked throughout the night on Thursday and Friday to make sure the cracks in the chassis were repaired. Taking specially cut panels of carbon fibre, engineers then laminated in to the existing Kruse tub before it was cured to strengthen the damaged areas on the left side of the chassis. The Lola LMP2 chassis is constructed from carbon fibre in one piece, with symmetrical rollover hoops and exceeds the ACO crash tests regulations.
The 76th running of the Le Mans 24 Hours starts at 15.00 cet today with Charouz Racing System, Chamberlain Synergy, Charouz (Cytosport), RML, Quifel-ASM, Kruse Schiller and Speedy Racing Team Sebah racing with Lola built LMP sports prototype cars.