The Lola T70 was developed by Lola Cars in 1965 for sports car racing – Lola built the chassis, which were typically powered by large American V8 engines, predominantly Chevrolets and Fords. The T70 was prolific throughout the mid- to late-1960s, and over 100 examples were built in three versions – an open-topped MkI and MkII Spyder, followed by a MkIII Coup, and an updated MkIIIB.
The Lola T70 Coup was the first Lola to be designed in the wind tunnel. Chief designer Eric Broadley enlisted the help of Tony Southgate, and the finished car displayed fine handling and stunning styling. Its final evocation – the MkIIIB – is arguably one of the most beautiful racing cars of its era.
The first successes for the T70 were in the US, where the car won the Monteray Grand Prix at Laguna Seca in October 1965. In 1966, the T70 dominated the Can-Am championship, winning five of the six races in the series – three in the hands of John Surtees, one with Dan Gurney, and one with Mark Donohue, with John Surtees becoming champion in a Chevrolet-powered example.
In 1968, T70s finished 1–2 in the Daytona 24 Hours, although there was strong opposition in both the European and US scene from Ford’s GT40. The T70 was highly successful in the domestic UK and European championships, and won regularly. In 1970, T70s were used during the filming of the Steve McQueen movie Le Mans, some of them disguised to appear as Porsche 917s or Ferrari 512s.
Today, Lola T70s are regular competitors on the historic racing scene, and examples are highly sought after by collectors.
Author: Chas Parker has written a number of books about motor sport, including full histories of Brands Hatch and Silverstone circuits, and Haynes Manuals for the D-type Jaguar and Bugatti Type 35. He was short-listed, together with co-author Philip Porter, for the 2017 RAC Motoring Book of the Year Award for his book on the 1953 Le Mans-winning C-type Jaguar.