I’m certainly not promising it’s a good piece of Formula 1 history as I write this!
A former F1 outfit is selling one of its used spare cars as a complete rolling chassis (price ‘POA’) via online bidding on its website.
So just which car is it?
Well, it’s none other than the Lola T97/30, which made its sole appearance in Lola’s short-lived return to the sport in 1997 at the Australian Grand Prix.
The project – originally scheduled for a 1998 launch with a year’s testing in the lead-up – was rushed out a year ahead of schedule at the behest of team boss Eric Broadley and title sponsor MasterCard with the car having never seen the inside of a windtunnel.
With next to no testing and inexperienced drivers in the form of Vincenzo Sospiri and Ricardo Rosset on board, the outfit was miles off the pace at Albert Park, with Broadley famously uttering some fateful words beforehand as to the team’s prospects of qualifying within the 107% limit.
“If we don’t beat [fellow debutants Stewart], then we deserve to be given a good kick up the backside. With our experience and back-up, it should be no problem … The 107% rule is actually quite a large margin. If we can’t do that, then we really shouldn’t be in it.”
Famous last words indeed, because it turned out that the car couldn’t generate enough downforce to heat its tyres and simultaneously generated too much drag to be anywhere near quick enough in a straight line!
The car was fundamentally flawed, and Rosset’s best qualifying effort was some 11 seconds slower than pole-sitter Jacques Villeneuve – Sospiri was a further 1.1 seconds adrift.
By the next round in Brazil, the outfit had collapsed and disappeared into oblivion, with the F1 project several million pounds in debt and owing plenty to its parent company, Lola Cars.
With the story first spotted by our astute friends at F1 Rejects, a cursory email was sent to Lola as to its asking price for the car, and it would seem that the outfit appears quite desperate to offload it to the highest bidder. Or indeed, any bidder at all…
Rumours that Zoran Stefanovic or Hispania Racing are interested in acquiring it are (as yet) well wide of the mark…
[Original images via F1 Rejects]