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Lola Cars, which other than an illustrious history in Sports Cars, CART and all manner of other disciplines, including F1, has gone into administration.
A brief statement issued this morning read:
"Lola Cars International Ltd was formed in 1958. In recent years, significant investment has been made in technology and capability in the motorsports business as well as diversifying and creating Lola Composites Limited, serving the defence, aerospace, communications, renewable energy, automotive and motorsports markets.
The latest economic downturn and the decision of HMRC not to pay ongoing R&D tax credits has caused a serious cashflow problem for the businesses. It is with enormous regret that a decision has been taken to issue Notices of intention to appoint an Administrator to Lola Cars International Limited and Lola Composites Limited. This step allows the board to continue its discussions with possible investors and prospective purchasers with a view to securing the best outcome for the staff, creditors and customers of both businesses.
The Lola board have declined to make further comment until Monday 21st May."
Founded in 1958 by Eric Broadley and based in Huntingdon, Lola began life by building small front-engined sports cars before branching out into Formula Junior cars and then diversifying into one of the oldest and largest manufacturers of racing cars in the world.
The company's first foray into F1 was in 1962, supplying Lola Mk4 cars to Reg Parnell's Bowmaker-Yeoman Racing Team, with John Surtees and Roy Salvadori as drivers.
In 1967, Lola assisted Honda Racing and John Surtees with the design of their F1 car. The overweight chassis design by the Japanese manufacturer was abandoned and a 1966 Lola Indianapolis monocoque was used as the basis for a Honda-engined car, the result being widely known as the Hondola. Surtees was to score a famous victory with the car at Monza in 1967.
In addition to working with Graham Hill on the first Embassy-Hill, there were subsequent partnerships in F1 with Carl Haas (Lola/Beatrice), Larrousse-Calmels, Scuderia Italia and the ill-fated Mastercard Lola project of 1997 which saw the team withdraw after just two races.
In 2009, Lola announced its plans to lodge an entry with the FIA for the 2010 championship, however, this was withdrawn when the company failed to secure a place on the initial entry list.
A sad end to a stalwart of motorsport.
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