29 Aug Lola, the British Racing Legend lives on
Iconic British marque’s wind tunnel operations continue to thrive
Since Lola Cars stopped manufacturing racing cars in 2012, there has been an assumption that the legendary marque’s technological excellence had ceased. However, what seemed to go under the radar, was that the British racing legend continues to run one of the finest, technically advanced and commercially available wind tunnel facilities in Europe.
Many of the current Formula One grid has used the wind tunnel since its inception in 1998 and, over the last 20 years, the Lola Technical Centre has maintained an impressive list of clients that include Rebellion Racing, Scania Trucks and Airbus, providing excellent aerodynamic results across the automotive, truck, motorsport and aerospace industries.
The 50%-scale wind tunnel boasts wind speeds of up to 65m/sec (145mph) to deliver an unprecedented service for reliability, accuracy and repeatability; bringing an outstanding correlation to performance for on-track, road or aerospace design. The Lola Technical Centre facilities are complimented by a seven-post vehicle dynamic test rig, to deliver an additional research and development service for both commercial and competition cars.
Martin Birrane, whose passion for motorsport and the Lola brand rescued the business from folding back in 1997, explained, “I purchased Lola Cars at a time when it needed a huge financial injection. I made the investment required to rebuild Lola into the leading British customer racing car manufacturer in the history of the sport and create a sustainable business. We expanded into composites manufacturing and diversified the business into aerospace, defence and automotive. The Lola Technical Centre provided services to this area of the business.
“The demand and subsequent success for the Lola Technical Centre meant it is an area of the business that is able to stand on its own feet. We are proud that Lola’s track record for engineering excellence lives on with these facilities, proving successful in its own right. As part of this ongoing success we are looking forward to announcing news soon of another exciting endurance racing Lola wind tunnel project.”
Lola, whose successful debut in sports cars led to success in Formula 1 in 1964 (4th in Championship), winners of the Indy 500 and Can Am title in 1966, more recently success with Le Mans Prototypes, including the 24 Hours, remains a British icon now helping other manufacturers and race teams benefit from its engineering expertise. In addition to the current race car projects using the facilities there is also interest from two European sports road car manufacturers.