Page 1 of 2 Next >> In motorsport, American tyre manufacturer BF Goodrich had found an excellent way of showcasing the performance credentials of their latest T/A Radials tyres. A Porsche 924 shod with tyres constructed from the same compound as the company's road legal tyres had been raced successfully on both sides of the Atlantic and also won its class at Le Mans in 1982. To even further raise the T/A Radials' profile, BF Goodrich funded a joint IMSA Light / Group C Junior prototype effort for the 1984 season.
As before, tasked with running the BF Goodrich team was the seasoned Jim Busby Racing team. Busby himself also served as one of the drivers. British specialist manufacturer Lola was commissioned to design and construct a new prototype racer, suitable to race in both the World Championship and the IMSA Championship. This was a very lucrative deal for Lola as no fewer than three cars were ordered by BF Goodrich. The final piece of the puzzle was an agreement signed with Mazda for the supply of the compact and lightweight Type 13B rotary engine.
Based on the T600, Lola's original GTP / Group C car, the new T616 was built around an aluminium honeycomb monocoque, which used carbon-fibre reinforcements. The engine served as semi-stressed member of the chassis with part of the load shared by tubular frames that ran from the rear of the monocoque to the gearbox on either side of the engine. The front and rear suspension was through double wishbones with coil springs over adjustable shock absorbers. Ventilated discs with on all four corners.
Mounted amidships was a Mazda supplied rotary engine, which was compact, light and relatively powerful. It featured two combustion chambers with a swept volume of 1,308cc, which using the equivalency factor for rotary engines, equated to 2,616cc. To further improve combustion, the twin-rotor engine was equipped with twin-spark ignition. It tipped the scales at just 110kg, yet produced in excess of 300 bhp. The howling engine was mated to a five-speed gearbox supplied by Hewland. Page 1 of 2 Next >>