Page 1 of 3 Next >> Having received no formal automotive engineering training, the former quantity surveyor Eric Broadley relied very much on his intuition and logic when designing his Lola racing cars. He had been so successful that Ford acquired his services to develop what would ultimately become the GT40. Discussions over the materials used for the monocoque chassis eventually made Broadley realize that he much rather built cars on his own; Ford insisted on using steel to make a production version of the racing car easier to build, whereas Broadley wanted to go for a much lighter mix of steel and aluminium.
Halfway through 1964 and less than a year after joining Ford, Broadley was on his own again. He looked closely at the state of motor racing and concluded that building a 'Group 9' racer was the best option. This virtually unlimited class for two-seater sportscar was quickly growing in popularity in Great Britain and North America. The likes of Chaparral and Lotus had already taken an interest in the class, which was mostly filled with backyard specials powered by American V8s. The most famous and successful of these was the Cooper based 'Zerex Special' that was built by Roger Penske and later modified by Bruce McLaren and fitted with an Oldsmobile V8. It would form the basis for a complete range of McLaren racing cars.
Realizing the potential, but also the high level of competition, Broadley started the development of a brand new Lola racing car for 1965. Dubbed the T70, it featured full length and width monocoque similar in design the one used for the Lola Mk VI. To get a good mix of light weight and rigidity constructed of a mix of 60% steel and 40% aluminium. Suspension was independent all-round with double wishbones at the front and at the rear by lower wishbones and top links with twin trailing arms to cope with the engine's torque. The chassis was designed to take any of the American small-block engines, with a displacement of up to six litre. Hewland provided their brand new LG 500 gearbox with four forward gears.
Clothed in a particularly attractive glass reinforced plastic (GRP) body, the Lola T70 was first shown to the world at the 1965 Racing Car Show in London. Lola teamed up with John Surtees and Team Surtees would serve as the Works Team for the coming years. Surtees tested the car, which proved faster than any of the contemporary F1 cars straight out of the box. McLaren also fielded a new car for that season and together with Lotus, the three teams fought for victories during the first half of the season. Surtees quickly scored the T70's maiden victory at Mosport in Canada, showing off the car's capabilities to the most lucrative market. Not surprisingly Lola received well over a dozen orders for the new racer. Broadley was not satisfied and while the first cars were constructed he was already well under way with the design of a new version. Page 1 of 3 Next >>