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1999 LOLA B98/10 LMP900 HU02

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  • Pilotée par Jan Lammers, vainqueur des 24 heures du Mans et des 24 Heures de Daytona à deux reprises, Champion du Monde FIA WSC en 2002 & 2003

  • 24 Heures de Daytona, 12 Heures de Sebring et 24 heures du Mans en 1999, 24 heures de Daytona en 2000  

  • Championne Endurance Racing Legends en 2019

  • Coque carbone et boite à vitesse séquentielle

  • Eligible à nombreuses courses historiques dont Gulf Historic, Masters Endurance Legends, Endurance Racing Legends et le Mans Classic 

ELIGIBILITE

CARACTERISTIQUES TECHNIQUES

ENDURANCE RACING LEGENDS by PETER AUTO

LE MANS CLASSIC

LE MANS 24 HOURS SUPPORT RACE

MASTERS ENDURANCE LEGENDS

GULF CLASSIC

MASTERS ENDURANCE LEGENDS USA

SEBRING CLASSIC 12 HOUR by HSR

DAYTONA CLASSIC 24 HOUR by HSR

ROLEX MONTEREY MOTORSPOSTS REUNION

Marque

LOLA

Modèle

B98/10

Année

1999

No de châssis

HU02

Châssis

CARBONE

Carrosserie

CARBONE

Moteur

FORD V8 6 LITRES

Puissance

625 CH.

Boite de vitesse

6 VITESSES SEQUENTIELLE

Poids

920 KG

Unveiled in Atlanta in September 1998, the Lola B98/10 marked the return of the Huntingdon constructor to the world of endurance racing. After a long absence since 1992 and the Lola T92/10, the English firm came back into business with a fine-looking, top-performance prototype. In the shadow of the "big" constructors, this Lola had nothing to be ashamed of.

The Lola B98/10: the return to endurance racing 

At the end of the 1990s, Lola embarked on an ambitious project: to create an affordable prototype for racing teams, capable of competing in endurance racing at the very highest level anywhere in the world. The result was the B98/10, designed to compete in the American Le Mans Series, the International Sports Racing Series and, of course, the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The project was led by Peter Weston, one of the first to join Lola after Martin Birrane acquired the firm. 

The design may seem quite similar to other prototypes of the time - the Nissan R391, the Courage C52, the Ferrari 333SP or the Riley & Scott MKIII - all racing at the same time as the B98/10. And in fact, Peter Weston was indeed hired to design a car capable of beating the Ferrari 333SPs and the Riley & Scott MKIIIs (hence the “B” in the name of the new prototypes). The new car was an SR1 which could be modified to compete in both the American Le Mans Series and the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and in the LMP900 category.

A number of unique features set the little English newcomer apart right from the start - the front of the car, for example, which has such extremely curved wings that the headlights are mounted on the side. The air intakes are situated just beneath the roll-bar as in a single-seater, thereby freeing up a little more space on the front bonnet, designed entirely for speed. The car is built around a carbon fibre monocoque with an FIA and ACO approved crash box, ensuring safety and rigidity for an ultra-modern car.

A major wind tunnel testing programme was undertaken to optimize the B98/10’s road-handling performances.

Among the other specific features of this Lola B98/10, we could cite, for example, fast access to the shock absorbers and anti-roll bars without needing to remove the car body. This allows greatly reduced intervention times for making adjustments or changes. The six-speed sequential gearbox using Hewland parts and the cooling system are both extremely efficient. In addition, the geometry of the steering was developed with the finest precision, giving a constant, highly communicative steering force that is reassuring for the driver[i].

Now let's talk of speed. Several engines were compatible with this Lola B98/10. This was the case, in particular, of the Roush Ford 6.0-litre V8 engine, which the car’s development was built around. But if the customers so wished, it was also possible to fit a Ford V6 turbo, a Lotus V8, a Chevrolet V8, a BMW 6-cylinder in line or even a Judd V10 engine. It was a car designed for competition customers, that seduced several teams right from the start. It must be said that its very first official run, the day after the first edition of the Petit Le Mans, was impressive. According to on-the-spot witnesses, the Lola B98 / 10, with a Ford engine and James Weaver at the wheel, lapped in 1'12''4, while Allan McNish had placed a Porsche 911 GT1 in pole position in 1'13''7 ...

Lola B98/10: the real alternative to Porsche?

In 1999, before Audi imposed its dominance for more than a decade, the world of prototype endurance racing was wide open, with both works cars and privately-built cars to be found at each event. At the 24 Hours of Le Mans in particular, Toyota or Mercedes opted for closed cockpits in the LMGTP class. BMW and Nissan went for an open cockpit (LMP class) while Audi could not make up its mind, entering cars in both categories. And what about Porsche? The German constructor chose to miss the greatest race in the world. Even worse than that, Porsche pulled out of endurance racing more generally, only keeping its traditional "GT" business with the 911 and in particular the new GT3. Consequently, at the beginning of 1999, many team customers found themselves with a problem. These were teams that were used to relying on the cars created by Porsche, or at least on the engines they supplied ... Such was the case of Konrad Motorsport and Kremer Racing, for example.

Since Porsche was no longer involved in prototype competitions, Franz Konrad turned to Lola. He who, with his team, had won the last two Porsche Cups, suddenly had to get by without the Weissach firm. He bought one of the first Lola chassis B98/10s to be produced, the HU2 (the second in a total series of 8 open-cockpit cars). The idea was then to fit a Porsche engine, the one that equipped the victorious 911 GT1 in 1998. But Porsche did not agree with the idea (this engine, relieved of its turbos, was fitted in the new 911 GT3 entered in LM GT races). So, Franz Konrad had to find an alternative solution. 

Same thing at Kremer Racing. The firm belonging to the Kremer brothers, which Erwin now managed alone, immediately jumped on the Lola B98/10 (chassis HU07). The winning team at the 24 Hours of Le Mans 1979 and the 24 Hours of Daytona 1995 with Porsche, after 30 years of faithful partnership, went over to Lola, with the intention of causing a surprise.

Before the season even began, the Lola B9/ 10 clan was looking in fine fettle. Konrad Motorsport, Kremer Racing, DAMS and Intersport Racing were all eager to join battle.

The Lola B98/10 Chassis HU02
1999 : 24 Hours of Daytona, 12 Hours of Sebring and Le Mans

Chassis HU02 began its career at Daytona, with a Lotus engine under the rear bonnet. Konrad decided to fit this 3500 cc V8 engine when the most conventional choice would have been a Ford engine. First race and first retirement, for mechanical problems. In Sebring, a few weeks later, it was a problem with the suspension that slowed down the B98/10 ...

 

After Daytona and Sebring, the next stage was even more prestigious: Le Mans. At the start of May, the car first needed to qualify. Peter Kox, Jan Lammers and Tom Coronel managed to hoist it into 21st place, with the help of the newly installed Ford V8 engine.

The car was modified for the Le Mans track, with an elongated rear bonnet (long tail) and a single diffuser that the other two B98/10s starting the race did not have. It was a unique body that set the HU02 - No. 26 - apart from the other Lola B98/10s. It also had a number of other distinguishing features. It was fitted with Dunlop tyres on BBS rims, as against Pirelli tyres on OZ rims for No. 25 and Goodyear tyres on BBS rims for No. 27. No. 26 was the only one to be fitted with a Zytek injection system (against an EFI system for the other two cars) and, coming down to details, to use Sabelt harnesses (against Willans harnesses for the other two cars).

No. 26 finished the practice sessions with a time of 3'43''973, clocked up by Jan Lammers. It was not that far off the pole position of the Toyota GT-One (3'29''930) or the best Lola B98/10 (3'36'368, albeit with a Judd V10 engine). The English prototype was agile, and the practice session clearly failed to show off the car’s full potential. In the race itself, the qualifying time was beaten (3'43''719) and the Lola was flashed at 319 km/h – not that far off the 324 km/h of the winning BMW V12 LMR No. 15 whose best time in the race was only 3'45''620.

The very first hour of the race produced an alert: a gearbox oil leak! The car tumbled down the rankings to find itself in 43rd place. Just before midnight, the exhausts had to be changed due to the car going off into a gravel trap, with the repair work lasting 51 minutes. Shortly after mid-race, the gearbox had problems too. The linkage was damaged, requiring 20 minutes work. At 8:40, Jan Lammers found himself immobilized in the second Hunaudières chicane. The gearbox would no longer drive the Lola, leading to its retirement.

2020: 24 Hours of Daytona 

The car’s career continued: it returned to Daytona in 2000, with a very good time of 1'42''797 which allowed it to start from the 7th place on the grid (the pole position went to a Riley & Scott Mk III, in 1'41''002). It was its first race with a new engine: the Roush V8 6-litre Ford engine gave way to a Thielert V8 6-litre Ford engine, which failed to last the course. The car then came back to Europe, to race one last time, under the colours of the Franz Konrad team, in the SRWC round at Monza. After that, it was the Eventus Motorsport team that entered the HU2. The German team raced it in the FIA SCC series with, in particular, an 8th place at the Brno round.

A new life in historic racing: Winner of the 2019 Endurance Racing Legends Championship

The car was then entered in the Historic Sportscar Racing series from 2006 to 2008, by Robert Blain.

Acquired in 2018 by Ascott Collection while the car was still in the United States, Xavier Micheron decided to enter it at Daytona Classic. It was his first time driving at Daytona and the first time he drove the HU02. Qualifying in second place, he soon encountered engine sensor problems. The car was then imported to France and entered in the Endurance Racing Legends. Both fast and reliable, this LOLA B98/10 allowed Xavier to win the 2019 Endurance Racing Legends by Peter Auto Championship in the Proto A category which has since become the LMP1 A category.

 

HU02 which is the only LOLA B98/10 with a Le Mans aerodynamic kit with the long tail is now available for sale.  This LOLA B98/10 will certainly allow its future owner to fight for an overall victory in Endurance Racing Legends by Peter Auto and Le Mans Classic. Being from 1999, it is the most modern car in the LMP1 A class. This LMP900 is also eligible for the most prestigious races in the USA, in Masters Endurance Legends and Gulf Historic. 

 

[i] http://www.geocities.ws/lolahistory/LMPs/B98-10_Spec.htm

Photo in period: John Brooks

Photo in historic racing: Luc Joly

Statical photos: Cathy Dubuisson for Ascott Collection

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