Real Racers: The Big V8 Lola T70's Incredible & Practical Racers

Built for Speed

Once Eric Broadly gave up on Ford, he returned to Slough in the UK and set about building the Lola T70. They appeared in 1965 in open sports car form. They were hugely successful with John Surtees winning the 1965 Can-Am championship.

The Surtees 1965 Can-Am Spyder
The Surtees 1965 Can-Am Spyder

In 1966 Roy Pierpoint entered the 9 Hours with a T70 Spyder shared with Doug Serrurier. Doug bought the car and raced in the national sports car championship in 1967. Doug and Jackie Pretorius then raced (“stop me and buy one”) Lola in several 9 Hours. On one occasion the car caught fire when refuelling. It was repaired for Killarney a few weeks later. This Lola was cut up by Doug and the components transferred to a Lola T140 Formula 5000 single seater for Jackie Pretorius in 1969.

The Lola has been resurrected as a tribute car by Trans Africa Racing for Mark and Jonathan du Toit. The Lola no 14 has won many races including five Tourist Trophies at Zwartkops and Killarney.

Lola tribute car by Trans Africa Racing
Lola tribute car by Trans Africa Racing

The 70 Spyder was developed by Lola cars into the MK3 3B Coupe. They are real muscle cars. Originally, they were built for Aston Martin, but reliability issues resulted in engine changes to Ford and Chev. They were incredible cars brute power with good looks and highly successful in sprint racing. Unfortunately, they were handicapped by FIA rules which required the use of a low octane pump fuel which resulted in engine failure in long distance events.

In 1967 Paul Hawkins entered the 9 Hour with the first Coupe MK3 now with a Ford engine replacing the Aston Martin. They came second to the Mirage. In the final stages using large quantities of oil! Love shared a P4 Can-Am Ferrari with Paul Hawkins in 1968. They nearly drowned following a huge down pour. At 20 hours on Saturday night Paul Hawkins died tragically at Oulton Park in 1969 in a red mark 3B Lola T70.

In 1969 Team Gunston acquired a T70 3B for John Love and Brain Redman (in Gunston Colours) for the Springboks series. Love won 3 Hour races with this evocative Lola. The 9 Hour ended for them when a rocker broke, Love wanted to keep the car in South Africa but Gunston sent the car back to the UK. The car did return in the mid 2000’s with Nigel Hulme for the ISP events.

Gunston Lola T70 MK3
Gunston Lola T70 MK3

We are however very fortunate to have a tribute Gunston Lola T70 MK3 in full colours owned by Colin Frost. Niel Lobb will be in action with the great car at Zwartkops in 2020. Larry Wilford will be in action in the green Lola T70 MK3B of Pim Pieterse.

Lola T70 MK3B
Lola T70 MK3B

There are a number of Lola’s who will be with us in February. The Surtees 1965 Can-Am Spyder of Craig Cummings raced by Rui Compos, The Pete de Klerk/ Bobby Olthoff MK3B – car no 10, Russel Fear in his “new” Spyder.

The Ford GT40 and Lola T70’s are cousins. Their history is inter-twined with many components interchangeable. Great cars which have and still provide an incredible spectacle at racetracks around the world including here in South Africa.

 

 

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