|Lister Storm LMP|
Two of the best known British sportscar constructors of the 1950s were Jaguar and Aston Martin, but there was a third and very strong contender in the second half of the decade, Lister. Employing Chevrolet or Jaguar power, the interestingly styled Lister 'Knobbly' often outran the 'Jags' and 'Astons.' The most legendary of Lister drivers was factory pilot Archie-Scott Brown, who won many races in his Lister dispite having only one arm.
After Brown died from the results of a tragic accident at Spa Francorchamps, Brian Lister lost his enthusiasm and soon after Lister production ceased. In 1980 the name Lister resurfaced, first as a tuner of Jaguars and later as a constructor of the 200 mph Lister Storm. With Laurence Pearce at the helm Lister grew out to a household name in motorsport once more.
Using the experience tuning Jaguar road cars, Lister used a modified version of Jaguar's V12 engine to power the Storm. Much like Lister's old sports cars, the Storm design was quite unique. One of the benifits of producing a road car was to allow Lister to enter GT racing. Only a handful of road-going Storms have been produced since its 1993 launch.
After a difficult start, the Storm racer quickly grew out to be one of the leading GT racers in various championships all around the world. Most successful was factory driver Jamie Campbell-Walter, who won the 2000 FIA GT driver's championship together with Julian Bailey. Lister also racked up the constructor's title, making it the most successful season since Lister's 'return' to the track.
Even though Lister was now having success in GT racing, they originally became famous for the open-top prototypes in 1950s. A similar class was still run in the form of the LMP 900 class and a LMP car would put Lister up in the contention for the overall victories in the famous sportscar races. Early in 2003 Lister announced their first open-top prototype since 1959.
Upholding Lister's tradition, the Storm LMP did not look like any of the racers of the day. Responsible for the unique design was Andy Thorby, who had previously designed the equally unique front-engined Panoz LMP-07. Although not very pleasing to the eye, the box-shaped Lister LMP included a large number of novel features that showcase Thorby's unique talent.
The upright front fenders were designed to be very efficient aerodynamic aids. As air passes by the fenders, it accelerates on both sides, feeding extra air into the radiator intakes on the inside and extra air over the dive-planes on the outside to create downforce. Like the Audi R8 and the Courage C60 EVO, the Storm LMP features rear-bodywork mounted end-plates to comply with rear-wing regulations.
Under the carbon-fibre rear-deck a Chevrolet derived V8 engine is found. It gives the Storm LMP a unique rumbling sound among the high-pitched Judd V10 note and quietness of Turbocharged engines. The Corvette derived LS1 engine is bored-out and de-stroked to displace just under 6 litres. A Hewland gearbox is mated transversely to the 530 bhp engine.
The unique looking and sounding Lister Storm LMP made its first competition appaerance at the 2003 24 Hours of Le Mans test days. Although it was not immediately competitive, progression was made in testing and qualifying. Unfortunately a heavy crash into a barrier meant a pre-race retirement for the Storm LMP. Lister did not yet have a complete spares package for the all-new car available, so the repairs needed could not be done on the track.
The Le Mans 1000 km race, held in November of 2003, offered Lister the first opportunity to really prove its worth after the '24 Hours' disaster. Again progress was made throughout the test, practice and qualifying sessions, which eventually resulted in a third place qualifying behind the 'Racing For Holland' Dome Judd and 'Team Goh' Audi R8, both very seasoned teams and cars.
After a dry week, rain arrived on race-day and stopped just minutes before the race. On a drying track the Storm LMP held onto 3rd for a couple of laps, but was eventually passed by the Courage C60, which proved extremely quick in wet conditions. A tripod joint failure on the driveshaft put the British team out of contention for the podium places. After losing an hour in the pits, the Storm LMP was back on track and finished the race. On the then dry track a number of very quick laps were recorded, proving that the Storm LMP has grown out to be a force to be reckoned with in the future.
The Lister Storm LMP is pictured here at the Le Mans 1000 km race. On the picture with the engine exposed, the broken rear suspension, that dashed all hopes for a podium finish, can clearly be seen.
Article by Wouter Melissen, last updated before 12 / 01 / 2004
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