The Lola name is among the more recognized in the history of automotive racing. In the 40+ years Eric Broadley was at the helm of Lola Cars, they were also one of the most successful.
The foundation of Lola started in 1958 when Broadley built a sports racer powered by a Coventry Climax engine. It was a tubular steel spaceframe he designed himself. It was immediately quick and proved to be serious competition for the otherwise unbeatable Lotus 11.
Before the T70, there was the 1962 Lola Mk6 GT Sports Racing Coupe - An incredibly beautiful car in its own right, but often better known as the early prototype for what would ultimately become the Ford GT40.
Using that chassis as the starting point, Broadley introduced his next venture, the T70, in 1965. The first T70 chassis and suspension had more than a passing resemblance to the GT40, but with a much stronger attention to detail, especially regarding weight savings. The Lola did not have a roof, used metal more sparingly, and used a lighter drivetrain than the GT40.
The first T70 was driven by John Surtees. In 1966, the T70 won 5 of 6 races in the inaugural year of the Can-Am Series, four of those times using a Chevrolet powerplant.
While the MkII Spyder version of the car was faring quite well, the Lola development team had already begun work on the T70 MkIII, which incorporated a coupe body style. Broadley used much of what he had learned regarding aero on the 1962 Mk6 Coupe, and brought it to bear on the T70 Mark III. Through extensive wind tunnel work and help from aerodynamics expert Tony Southgate, the new MkIII had better aerodynamics than the Ford GT40, which tended to exhibit unnerving amounts of lift at high speeds.
Despite their significant success, the budget never allowed the Lola organization to field a factory effort, but rather only to be a chassis supplier. Also of note is that, despite their success at more traditional time frame races, it never translated into endurance racing success. With the exception of the 1969 24 Hours of Daytona where the T70 took the top 2 spots, it never achieved its full potential at the long events. Many speculate that the Chevrolet-powered coupes did not take well to the European pump grade gasoline - a requirement in those series. In the American series, aviation fuel was allowed.
Several T70s have appeared - and were sacrificed - in the making a variety of movies, such as Steve McQueen's 'LeMans' and the George Lucas film 'THX – 1138'.
Despite those sacrifices, and many crashes throughout the years, several T70s are still able to be seen in classic and vintage racing events. And they are still a sight and sound to behold.