Automotive

Street-legal F1 car ready to return to the road – with a new owner

The Lola F1R is a street-ready Formula 1 race car
The Lola F1R is a street-ready Formula 1 race car
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The Lola F1R is a street-ready Formula 1 race car
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The Lola F1R is a street-ready Formula 1 race car
Engineers made it possible to adjust the Lola F1R's road height
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Engineers made it possible to adjust the Lola F1R's road height
Front view of the Lola F1R leaves little doubt about this car's Formula 1 heritage and inspiration
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Front view of the Lola F1R leaves little doubt about this car's Formula 1 heritage and inspiration
Side view of the Lola F1R
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Side view of the Lola F1R
Other than the rear brake lights and turn signals, the Lola F1R looks like a Formula 1 race car
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Other than the rear brake lights and turn signals, the Lola F1R looks like a Formula 1 race car
Lola engineers didn't need to change much of the cockpit on the F1R other than to add turn signal indicators, light switches and a handbrake
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Lola engineers didn't need to change much of the cockpit on the F1R other than to add turn signal indicators, light switches and a handbrake
The Lola F1R comes with a removable steering wheel
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The Lola F1R comes with a removable steering wheel
A close-up of the four-cylinder turbo coupled to a Porsche G50 transaxle
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A close-up of the four-cylinder turbo coupled to a Porsche G50 transaxle
The F1R exhaust system
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The F1R exhaust system
Close up of the suspension of the Lola F1R
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Close up of the suspension of the Lola F1R

Thanks to a bet with engineers at Lola, some lucky enthusiast will drive away from an upcoming Bonhams auction with a street-legal Formula 1 race car. The prototype Lola F1R was built to meet UK regulations and goes on the block at the Bonhams Collector's Motor Cars, Motorcycles, and Automobilia auction on December 7.

Created after a wager challenged the Lola design team to build a road-ready Formula 1-style car, the F1R is the culmination of a 15-year effort to make good on that bet.

Built with surplus parts from the F1 that Lola tried to race in the late 90s, the F1R includes the requisite Formula 1 bits like the tub, adjustable front and back wings, an inboard pushrod suspension, carbon brakes, FIA-spec nosecone and body panels, and radiator ducting. There's even a quick-release steering wheel.

Some adjustments, however, had to be made to make this race car more roadworthy.

Front view of the Lola F1R leaves little doubt about this car's Formula 1 heritage and inspiration
Front view of the Lola F1R leaves little doubt about this car's Formula 1 heritage and inspiration

Most important was ride height, since the typical F1 car barely sits above the asphalt of a typical track. To allow the F1R to clear typical road hazards, its road height was increased to 50 mm (2.0 inches) of ground clearance, adjustable up to 75 mm (3.0 in).

The engineers also swapped out the engine and gearbox. Instead of the original 1997-spec V8 and semi-automatic gearbox, the F1R uses a turbocharged 2.0-liter Cosworth four-cylinder from a Ford RS Sierra coupled to a five-speed manual Porsche G50 transaxle. The turbocharged engine is said to be tuned to deliver about 370 hp, but it can be adjusted for more output. The choice of engine and gearbox will evidently make the car easier to maintain.

Lola engineers didn't need to change much of the cockpit on the F1R other than to add turn signal indicators, light switches and a handbrake
Lola engineers didn't need to change much of the cockpit on the F1R other than to add turn signal indicators, light switches and a handbrake

Of course, headlights, turn signals, and a handbrake had to be installed to pass safety inspection and to make it drivable in day or nighttime conditions.

Listed at an opening bid of between US$70,000 and 110,000 (£55,000 to 85,000), the F1R is in a stated "as new condition" with all of about 25 miles (40 km) on it. Access to one of Lola's former race engineers and a spare parts package are also included.

Bonhams aptly points out that you couldn't build a car like this for close to these amounts.

Source: Bonhams via The Drive

2 comments
Bob
That sure wouldn't be street legal around here. Local hot rodders are required to have a safety glass windshield and functioning wipers on cars they build. That 2-3 inch road clearance wouldn't work either. Most of the driveways and railroad tracks are even a challenge for 4 inches. I would also want the V8 version. If you are going to go, go all the way.
RalphL.Seifer
Let me get back to you as soon as I've talked to DMV. Ralph Seifer, Long Beach, California.
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