Leading British racecar manufacturer Lola Cars International is entering the most famous race of them all - the Le Mans 24 Hours - with a strong chance of success from its three-car attack. The company's 2000 model sportscars have already taken...
Leading British racecar manufacturer Lola Cars International is entering the most famous race of them all - the Le Mans 24 Hours - with a strong chance of success from its three-car attack. The company's 2000 model sportscars have already taken the racing world by storm and could spring a surprise against the manufacturer-backed entries at the historic French endurance event. Lola has an international line-up competing with its ultra-quick B2K/10 SR1 and B2K/40 SR2 sportscars, with teams from Italy, Holland and Canada taking part. Both cars were launched earlier this year and both proved fast and reliable straight out of the box. The SR1 finished third in only its second race in the American Le Mans Series, was on pole position for the third and set fastest lap, while the SR2 has won several rounds of the Grand American Road Racing Championship. Leading the Lola challenge against the might of manufacturers such as Audi, Cadillac and Chrysler, is Italian outfit Team Rafanelli. Its Olive Garden-backed Judd V10-powered B2K/10 has been among the ALMS pacesetters so far and was fourth quickest in Le Mans testing earlier this year. Team owner Gabriele Rafanelli is confident ahead of the weekend's ultimate test of reliability and durability. Rafanelli says: "I think we can win this race. That's what we are going there for. We will try very hard in qualifying and try harder in the race. We won't let people push us to break the car early in the race - we have a plan to run at a pace good enough to be there at the end. We have every intention to bring the car to the finish, hopefully at the front.
"The car is good, there is no question about that. We've done several four-hour endurance tests and everything is run in nicely for the weekend. We've got speed and reliability, especially with the tyres and brakes - they will last 10 weeks and we don't have to worry about them once they are on the car. Tyres and brakes cause people too much worry at Le Mans."
Rafanelli's driver line-up comprises Italians Mimmo Schiattarella and Emanuele Naspetti along with Belgian Didier de Radigues. Competing alongside Rafanelli in the main LMP 900 class is Dutch outfit Konrad Motorsport, running a Ford-engined B2K/10. With its experienced all-Dutch trio of drivers - Jan Lammers, Peter Kox and Tom Coronel - Konrad Motorsport should also be able to mix it with the manufacturer teams.
Lola also has an entry in the lower-powered LMP 675 class with Canadian team Multimatic Motorsport, making its Le Mans debut with Scott Maxwell, John Graham and Greg Wilkins (all of Canada) sharing the wheel. Although the team is new to the race, the car will give them a strong chance of a class victory with similar Nissan-powered Lola B2K/40s proving the class of the field in the Grand-Am series in America.