JANUARY 27, 1997
Lola's plans shaping up
THE Mastercard Lola team has yet to give any real details of its 1997 plans although we understand that the team will use Cosworth Zetec-R V8 engines.
These are the highest-revving V8 engines ever built by Cosworth and helped Michael Schumacher to the 1994 World Championship. Rebuilt in three-liter form they were used by Sauber in 1995 and for half of last season by the Forti team. Lola has acquired 15 of these engines and Cosworth will rebuild each one five times in the course of the year.
The team hopes to introduce its own V10 engine - currently being designed - before the end of the year.
Lola is fortunate in that its involvement this year in Indycar racing is now down to just five cars, following the recent defection of Patrick Racing to Reynard chassis. This will free up some of the company's engineers to work more on the F1 program.
Because of the late nature of the decision to enter F1, the team is likely to struggle in 1997, although there is no question that Eric Broadley is looking on the project as a long-term one. Work will shortly commence on the construction of a 50% rolling road windtunnel and a new building to house the Lola engine department. There will also be a brand new building which the team will use to entertain Mastercard visitors, as the Mastercard sponsorship scheme is dependent on individual memberships to the scheme.