1976 Lola T296
- Three times Le Mans 24 Hours, and World Sportscar Championship competitor
- The first of only seven Lola T296 built
- Powered by a BMW M12 engine, less than 3 hours since rebuild
- Accompanied by copies of its original Le Mans 24 Hour entry forms, and two original Wagenpass’ documenting its extensive period competition history
- Highly eligible, including Le Mans Classic and the Peter Auto Classic Endurance Racing 2
The Lola T296
The Lola T290 series of 2-litre Group 6 racing sportscars was first introduced in January 1972, and such was its popularity and success that Lola built 108 cars in total, split over six variants. The first development update of the line appeared in 1973 as the T292 was followed by the T294 in 1974. From 1976 the model was developed annually to keep up with improvements in aerodynamics starting with the T296.
Built around an aluminium monocoque with a separate rear subframe, the Lola T296 could house a variety of engines with the most common choices either a Ford Cosworth or BMW four-cylinder motor. The T296 featured longer front and rear bodywork over its predecessor, which led to an increase in aerodynamic efficiency.
The Lola was also highly eligible, and competed in a wide variety of events in period, from the famed 24 Hours of Le Mans and World Championship for Sportscars, to the Interserie across Europe, the Cam-Am Challenge Cup in North America and even the Italian hill climb championship.
This Lola T296
The Lola T296 offered here, chassis H.U.82, was built at the end of 1976, and delivered as a rolling chassis with Hewland FGA-236 gearbox and finished in red, to Heini Mader of Mader Racing Components. This is the first of only seven Lola T296 models produced.
Mader was an engine builder by trade and fitted one of his own potent Ford Cosworth BDG engines, before selling the car to Swiss racing driver, Georges Morand, with the car still brand new, having never been raced.
Morand, of Fribourg, entered the car in competition under the name of G.V.E.A (Groupement Vaudois des Ecuries Automobiles) which was a co-operative between himself, Christian Blanc and Eric Vuagnat whose preparation company, Seymaz Racing Services of Geneva, looked after the car and administration of the team.
At the end of April 1977, HU82 made its competition debut at round two of the FIA World Sportscar Championship, the Trofeo Filippo Caracciolo held over 500 kms at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza in Italy. Morand and Blanc drove, finishing a respectable 14th overall, only a couple of weeks after receiving their brand-new car.
Early June saw Morand and Blanc joined behind the wheel by Frederic Alliot at the world famous 24 Hours of Le Mans in France. Accompanying the car are copies of its original Le Mans race entry forms, confirming this chassis number H.U.82 competed in Group 6 with race number 30. These entry forms also note the car as weighing a mere 622 kgs at the scrutineering inspection. The trio qualified an impressive sixth in class on this cars debut at the Circuit de la Sarthe, although were sadly let down by gearbox issues in the race itself.
A month later and H.U.82 returned to France once more, this time to Paul Ricard for the 500 km le Castellet, round six of the FIA World Sportscar Championship. Wearing race number 23, this car finished 4th in class and 6th overall, rounding out its opening season of competition.
The 1978 season started well, with Christian Blanc finishing 5th at the Monza in the opening round of the Swiss Championship. June came around and for the second year in succession, H.U.82 and its three owners entered the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Now wearing race number 26, copies of the original 1978 Le Mans entry forms confirm that this year the car was an impressive 5 kgs lighter, now weight 617 kgs. A promising qualifying session saw the team lining up 10th in class, although an oil pressure issue would lead to retirement after 130 laps of the fearsome French circuit.
1979 saw H.U.82 piloted by the teams newest driving recruit, Jacques Boillat who finished 4th at the Hockenheim round of the Swiss Championship in late April. June 1979 saw this car, and G.V.E.A make its annual pilgrimage to Le Mans for the 24 Hours race, with driving duties falling to Morand, Vuagnat and Boillat. Once again, this cars history file contains copies of the original entry forms for the 1979 24 Hour of Le Mans. This Lola qualified 13th in class, before ignition issues led to retirement. This car raced once more in 1979, at the Ayent-Anzere Hillclimb, a round of the Swiss Championship, where it finished 4th with Jacques Boillat driving.
1980 would be the final year G.V.E.A competed with this Lola T296, entering rounds four and eleven of the FIA World Sportscar Championship for Makes, the Monza 1000 km and Dijon 1000 km. The car also entered the 1980 St Ursanne-Les Rangiers Hillclimb in Switzerland where it was driven by Boillat.
After its competition days with G.V.E.A were completed, this Lola was carefully put into dry storage until May 1982 at which point it was sold to Aime Bugnon of Lausanne, Switxerland. Bugnon certainly enjoyed this Lola, putting it to good use, taking parts in sixty-four events over the next seven seasons of competition in the Swiss Championship, claiming at least seventeen overall victories along the way! Amazingly, this Lola is accompanied by its two original ACS Wagenpasses, confirming its extensive and impressive race history.
In 1982 Bugnon won at le Roche-La Berra and finished 2nd at Ayent-Anzere. 1982 saw a win at Hemberg and 2nd place finished at Monza, Ayent-Anzere, Oberhallau and La Roche-Le Berra. In 1984 more wins followed at Magny-Cours, Hockenheim and Oberhallau with Bugnon taking the runner-up spot at La Roche-La Berra and Gurnigel.
In 1985 Bugnon was even more successful, chalking up wins a Dijon, Ayent-Anzere, Oberhallau, La Roche-La Berra, Gurnigel and Hemberg, with second place finished at Misano and Hockenheim.
1986 saw Bugnon win for the second year in a row at Dijon, La Roche-La Berrra and Gurnigel as well as a second-place finish at Oberhallau. In 1987 he won at La Roche-LaBerra for the third year in a row, his fourth win at the venue in six years. As a matter of note, the two years he didn’t win, he finished second. In 1988, Bugnon won the slalom events at Chamblon and De la Praille, with 1989 being the final year of period competition for H.U.82.
Bugnon retained this Lola in dry storage until 1988 at which point, he sold it to Paul Wesselink of Dana Point, Orange County, California, who raced it in the VARA historic events in North America. Wesselink sold this car in December 2000 to Jim Oppenheimer of Chicago, who refinished the car in its 1979 24 Hours of Le Mans livery. Oppenheimer continued to compete with the car in historic events across America throughout 2001 and 2002 before selling it through Symbolic motors to Larry Conner who later sold it to Greg Galdi in New York. H.U.82 returned to the track once again with Galdi who competed in events from 2004 to 2007 at circuits including Watkins Glen, Virginia International Raceway and Road America.
After an inspection by Lee Chapman Racing, this Lola was bought by an enthusiastic European competition specialist who raced the car extensively across Europe, including events at Imola, Silverstone, Spa-Francorchamps, Brands Hatch and Paul Ricard. This Lola was awarded its FIA Historic Technical Passport in March 2010.
In more recent years the car has been demonstrated at and competed in various historic events in Australia and has returned to Europe earlier this year. The car is offered with an impressive list of spare parts and has less than 3 hours use since its 2.0-litre BMW engine was rebuilt.
Today, the Lola T296 is a highly eligible and competitive race car, just as it was in period. This car is your opportunity to race at many of the world’s greatest race circuits and events, including the Le Mans Classic in 2021. The Lola is also eligible for the Classic Endurance Racing 2 events organised by Peter Auto, with races at Spa-Francorchamps, Monza, Paul Ricard, Dijon, Hungaroring and Barcelona.
Rarely do we see an opportunity to compete on track in a three-times Le Mans veteran with such extensive and documented race history. This Lola T296 has it all, competition history and huge eligibility in todays historic competition world, all at a fraction of the price of its modern-day on-track competitors.
Price: £195,000 (GBP)
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