British race car builder Lola set for revival

Mansell IndyCar Champion 1993

Lola has a history of success in various motorsports, with Nigel Mansell (pictured) racing in 1993

US firm has bought all Lola assets, including its wind tunnel and technical centre in Huntingdon

Lola, one of the world’s most prolific constructors of racing cars, is set for revival 10 years after it closed for business following an asset buyout by a British businessman.

US-based Till Bechtolsheimer has purchased all Lola assets, including its fully operational wind tunnel and technical centre in Huntingdon, plus the intellectual property and designs for all cars created since the company was founded by Eric Broadley in 1958.

Lola is believed to have produced nearly 5000 race cars across 400 models up to its closure under the ownership of the late Martin Birrane in 2012.

The buyout not only secures the heritage of Lola’s past but will also trigger a relaunch into contemporary motorsport. 

“I’ve had a lifelong passion for motorsport and, like most motorsport fans, have always loved the Lola brand,” said Bechtolsheimer.

“What both Eric Broadley and Martin Birrane achieved with Lola is awe-inspiring. It’s a daunting but exciting prospect to try to rebuild Lola in their footsteps and do justice to their legacy.”  

Originally from Gloucestershire, 40-year-old Bechtolsheimer is an amateur racer who has owned and raced historic cars and currently competes in contemporary endurance racing in the US. 

He’s the founder of New York-based investment firm Arosa Capital, which specialises in energy, energy efficiency and renewables in the transport and automotive sectors. He has no previous experience of running a company involved in motorsport.

“Our plan is to re-establish Lola as a leading design and engineering force in modern motorsport,” he said. “I’ve built a career investing in energy efficiency and see motorsport playing a significant role in the innovation and testing of new solutions. Through Lola, we hope to develop and provide investment for some of these solutions. 

“I have a huge amount of respect for the industry and understand that this will be a long process. We have immediate plans for substantial upgrades to the Lola Technical Centre, in particular the wind tunnel, and are actively working towards our first project to put new Lolas back on track.

“I firmly believe that our biggest asset is the Lola name and what it means to so many in the motorsport industry. It will help us to attract great talent and form lasting partnerships.” 

The deal was brokered through Birrane’s family firm, the London-based property company Peer Group.

Group chairman Amanda Birrane, his daughter, said: “My family is very pleased that the Lola brand is in the ownership of a businessman and racer who will write the next chapter for this long-established British motor-racing icon. 

“My father would be delighted to see Lola back in competitive motorsport and especially back at Le Mans. We wish Till every success.”

Lola thrived through four decades under founder Broadley, making its mark in almost every form of circuit-based motorsport from Formula 1 to Indycar and sports-car endurance racing.

The company went under in 1997, when Birrane bought it and ran it successfully until 2012.

New Lola projects are likely to centre on sports-car racing. Bechtolsheimer has ruled out any future involvement in F1.

Source: Autocar

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