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  Article Image gallery (24) Specifications  
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Country of origin:Great Britain
Produced from:1978 - 1979
Numbers built:5
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:December 13, 2021
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Click here to download printer friendly versionA Lola won the Indy 500 in 1966 but due to a lack of customer demand, the British manufacturer focused on different disciplines after the 1972 season. The arrival of the new Ford Cosworth DFX engine offered a relatively straightforward path back into the sport. This V8 was a turbocharged, short-stroke version of the Ford Cosworth DFV that had been in use in Formula 1 since 1967. Using this experience, Eric Broadley's team developed an all-new Indy car ready to race in 1978.

Dubbed the T500, it was built around an aluminium monocoque chassis that used the Ford Cosworth engine as a fully stressed member. The V8 displaced just under 2.65 litres and was equipped with a single turbo that was mounted on top of the four-speed Hewland gearbox. At full boost, the DFX was good for a hefty 840 bhp. The T500 sported conventional aerodynamics with small wings mounted on either side of the nosecone and a strut-mounted rear wing. Along the edge of the side-pods skirts were mounted to generate some downforce through ground effects.

Ahead of the 1978 season, Lola Cars produced two T500s both ordered by Jim Hall, who returned to motorsport with his Chaparral team. With backing from First National City, Hall fielded a single car for then two-time Indy 500 winner Al Unser. Despite combining some of the greatest names in American motorsport, the Chaparral team was considered an outsider at best at the start of the year. The season did not get off to the best of starts with Unser finishing tenth and then third before crashing out in practice for race three at Texas. The resulting injuries forced him to sit out the next race at Trenton as well.

Round five of the USAC championship was the all-important Indy 500 for which the team was clearly not in the best of shapes. Unser nevertheless qualified fifth in the spare T500. During the race, he moved up the order and eventually benefited from an engine failure of leader Danny Ongais. Unser clinched his third victory and also scored the first win at the Indy 500 for the Ford Cosworth DFX engine. Later in the year Unser also became the first and to date only driver to win the Triple Crown by also taking victory in the 500-mile races at Pocono and Ontario. He ended the year second in the standings.

Lola would build three more T500s for other customers but Hall switched to his revolutionary Chaparral 2K ground effect car during the 1979 season. Despite the successful 1978 season, there were no customers interested in a new Lola Indy Car until 1983. It would, however, take until 1990 before Lola would win at Indy again.

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  Article Image gallery (24) Specifications