Lola T530 car-by-car histories
The Lola T530 was Lola's attempt to build a dedicated ground-effect single-seater Can-Am. It dominated 1980, winning seven of the nine races but was overtaken in 1981 by the new March 817, CAC-2 and VDS designs.
One of the largest racing cars ever built, the T530 was used by nearly all the major teams in 1980 after Chevron, who were due to supply VDS and Newman, collapsed into liquidation. Ten cars were built in 1980, but the VDS team built two or three more T530-style tubs for their later VDS Can-Am cars. A further "T532" project has been accumulated from surviving 1981-spec T532 parts plus a spare tub from Lola.
One of the key problems with the identification of the T530s is the confusion between T530 HU10 and VDS-001. As the histories below make clear, the car that currently wears the T530 HU10 chassis plate is VDS-001. The chassis plate was transferred off HU10 onto the VDS after John Foulston acquired the VDS for the 1985 Thundersports season. The real HU10 is therefore missing its chassis plate, and is now thought in some quarters to be HU2.
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Built December 1979. New to Haas Racing 1980 but only used as a test car. Team mechanics Tony Dowe and Don Harper both recall that there was only one race car used and that the test car was not raced. Retained for 1981 and photographs show that it kept its usual low rollhoop when HU2 was fitted with a taller rollhoop. Jeff Wood drove HU1 at the opening race but photographs show he drove HU2 elsewhere. The Haas team did not continue in Can-Am in 1982 and all the equipment, including both cars, was sold during the season to John Foulston (Dunsfold, Surrey) to be used in the forthcoming Thundersports series. Sold to Alan Fowler and used in libre racing at Castle Combe in 1984. By this time Foulston's usual car was yellow and had the high rollhoop but Fowler's was red and had a low rollhoop. Later to Pieter Baljet (Duncan, British Columbia, Canada), and Gerry Charlesworth reports that it was never fitted with the higher rollhoop. Raced by Baljet in US historic racing, winning at the Palm Springs races three times from 1990 to 1992, but the car was stored from 1995 until 2016, when it was recommissioned and tested at Vancouver Island Motorsport Circuit.
Driven by: Patrick Tambay, Jeff Wood and Alan Fowler. First race: Sears Point (Can-Am R1), 25 May 1980. Total of 3 recorded races.
Built March 1980. New to Haas Racing for 1980 and raced by Patrick Tambay, winning the Can-Am championship. Retained for 1981 when it was fitted with a taller rollhoop and raced by Jeff Wood but wrecked in practice at Watkins Glen in July 1981. Race reports say that Haas acquired VDS's backup T530 to replace it, so this car effectively ceased to exist at this point.
Driven by: Patrick Tambay, Mario Andretti and Jeff Wood. First race: Mid-Ohio (Can-Am R2), 8 Jun 1980. Total of 10 recorded races.
Built March 1980. New to VDS Racing for 1980 and used as Geoff Brabham's main race car until it was destroyed in his accident in practice at Road America in July 1980. In 2006, the chassis plate to this car was auctioned on Ebay by Ben Severin and sold to Shayne Windelburn (Auckland, New Zealand), who had previously acquired some surviving components of HU3 that had been brought to New Zealand by ex-VDS mechanic Ian Algie.
Driven by: Geoff Brabham. First race: Sears Point (Can-Am R1), 25 May 1980. Total of 4 recorded races.
Built April 1980. New to VDS Racing for 1980 and used as Geoff Brabham's T-car for the first part of the season, becoming his race car after HU3 was destroyed in a practice accident at Road America in July. Retained for 1981 and raced by Brabham until the team's new T530-based VDS-001 was ready. Sold to Rex Ramsey 1982 but very heavily damaged in an accident at Laguna Seca in October. The damaged and disassembled car sold to Mike McComas (Pampa, TX) 1988 and sold by him to Paul Sauer (Woodside, CA). In 2002, the car was still completely apart with the new tub still under construction. Still owned by Paul Sauer in October 2020.
Driven by: Geoff Brabham and Rex Ramsey. First race: Road America (Can-Am R5), 20 Jul 1980. Total of 19 recorded races.
Built April 1980. New to Budweiser Newman 1980 and raced by Elliot Forbes-Robinson as the team's #2 Budweiser entry. Unknown after 1980 until sold by Mike Brayton to Burke Ratcliffe (UK) 1986 to be used in the Thundersports series. Referred to as one former Burke Ratcliffe crew member as "the Budweiser show car", it is unclear when this car was raced. Sold with the other BRR cars to Mike McComas (Pampa, TX) in 1989 and then via Michael Duncan (Los Altos, CA, later Colchester, CT) to Shayne Windelburn (Auckland, New Zealand). To Fraser Windelburn some time before February 2019.
Driven by: Elliot Forbes-Robinson, Andy Ratcliffe, Mike Wilds, David Leslie, John Williams and Richard Jones. First race: Sears Point (Can-Am R1), 25 May 1980. Total of 18 recorded races.
Built April 1980. New to Ricardo Londoño (Medellín, Columbia) and raced in nine out of ten of that season's Can-Am Challenge races. He almost always qualified in the top ten, and his best results was fifth place at Mosport Park in June. Londoño progressed, briefly, to F1 for 1981, and the Lola went to an unknown Columbian, spenind some time abandoned and used as a flower bed. It was rescured in the late 1980s by Oswaldo Farjado and restored for racing by 1990. Farjado and José Clopatofsky Londoño (Bogotá, Colombia) raced it in the Bogotá Six Hours in 1990, 1991 and 1992, with guest drivers Rob Wilson the first two years and David Sears in 1992. The team won the race in 1991, but retired the other two years. Still with Oswaldo and José in April 2020.
Driven by: Ricardo Londoño. First race: Sears Point (Can-Am R1), 25 May 1980. Total of 9 recorded races.
Built April 1980. New to Budweiser Newman 1980 and raced by Stephen South as the team's #4 Budweiser entry. Crashed heavily by South in practice at Brainerd in August. The team bought another T530 from RJ Nelkin so this car presumably destroyed. However, this car is said to be one of the cars sold by Mike Brayton to Burke Ratcliffe (UK) 1986 to be used in the Thundersports series. Reported to have been built up as a show car for the team and then to have been sold to Peter Kaus's Rosso Bianco Collection (Aschaffenburg, Germany) in 1990. However, no mention has been found of the car in this connection and it seems more likely that it ceased to exist after South's accident..
Driven by: Stephen South. First race: Sears Point (Can-Am R1), 25 May 1980. Total of 5 recorded races.
Built May 1980. New to RJ Nelkin (Roslyn, NY/Woodbury, NY) for Can-Am in 1980 and rebuilt on fresh tub after an accident. Sold by Nelkin to Newman Racing August 1980 but they changed their mind and the car quickly passed to Garvin Brown Racing for Danny Sullivan in the last half of 1980. Retained for 1981. Sold to Mike Brayton and raced in Can-Am in 1982. Later sold to Burke Ratcliffe to be used in Thundersports in England in 1986 but wrecked in a testing accident at Brands Hatch in June 1986. Retubbed and rebuilt by Jack Smith of VDS. Believed to be the car raced by Andy Ratcliffe (Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire), Mike Wilds and David Leslie in 1986, winning the last two races of the season. Also then likely to be the car shared by Wilds and Ian Flux through the 1987 season, winning two races, and then by Flux and other in 1988, when it dominated the series. Then to Mike McComas (Pampa, TX) 1989 and then to Bud Bennett of RM Motorsport (Wixom, Michigan) 1996. Completely restored by Bennett to Garvin Brown livery. It then went via either Scot Kennedy or Ron Coburn to Norm Goldrich (Cincinnati,OH) 1998 and was still with him in September 2001. Sold to Gregg Jackson (El Paso, TX) 2002 then to Kim Baker 2009 or 2010 and then to Larry Galbo (Buffalo, NY) 2011. Featured on "American Pickers" on the History Channel in May 2018.
Driven by: Robert J. Nelkin, Keke Rosberg, Danny Sullivan, Michael Brayton, Ian Flux, Mike Wilds, Ian Taylor and John Brindley. First race: Mid-Ohio (Can-Am R2), 8 Jun 1980. Total of 44 recorded races.
Built July 1980. New to Garvin Brown Racing for driver Danny Sullivan, replacing the Intrepid GB1. Raced for the rest of 1980 but Garvin Brown then acquired the ex-Rosberg car from Newman Racing and Sullivan raced that car instead at the start of 1981. Assumed for now that HU9 remained as Sullivan's backup car through the 1981 season. Sold to Mike Freberg (Toronto, Ontario) and raced by him through the 1982 Can-Am season but heavily damaged at Laguna Seca in October 1982. Mike Brayton is reported to have bought this car, repaired it and sold it to Burke Ratcliffe but the exact details are not known. Subsequent history unknown.
Driven by: Danny Sullivan and Mike Freberg. First race: Brainerd (Can-Am R6), 10 Aug 1980. Total of 10 recorded races.
Built July 1980 and invoiced to Bobby Rahal for Herb Caplan's U.S. Racing but the team decided to focus on their existing Prophet Can-Am cars and HU10 was returned to Carl Haas. It then appears to have gone to VDS as a backup car after their HU3 was wrecked at Road America in July 1980. If so, it is not known whether it was raced. Carl Haas then acquired the car again to replace HU2, after that car was wrecked at Watkins Glen in 1981 by Jeff Wood. Sold to John Foulston 1982 together with HU1 for use in Thundersports. When Foulton's car first appeared, it had red livery almost identical to Wood's usual car and with the same high rollhoop that only appeared on Wood's 1981 car(s). In September 1983, this car was observed to be wearing the HU10 chassis plate. Raced by Foulston and co-drivers HSCC Chairman Brian Cocks and John Brindley in Thundersports during 1983 and 1984. At that point Foulston wanted to modify the T530 to VDS form but too many modifications were required and the project was abandoned. Instead Foulston bought VDS-001 from Carl Haas and transferred the T530 HU10 plate onto it, inferring that he had modified HU10. After Foulston's death, his family sold the car to David Brazell (Towcester, Northamptonshire) 1996. Still with David in March 2015 but still disassembled. Later sold by Brazell to Paul Osborne. Sold to Matteo Maria and Flavio Tullio May 2018
Driven by: Jeff Wood, Brian Cocks, John Foulston and John Brindley. First race: Road America (Can-Am R4), 26 Jul 1981. Total of 33 recorded races.
The Lola T530s after 1982
By the end of 1982, surprisingly few intact T530s remained in the US. John Foulston had bought HU1 and HU10 and shipped them to England; HU6 had gone to Columbia; HU2, HU3 and HU7 had been damaged beyond salvage; and both HU4 and HU9 had been very heavily damaged at Laguna Seca in October 1982. This left only Mike Brayton's HU8 and Newman Racing's HU5, which hadn't been seen since late 1980. When Burke Ratcliffe were hunting for Can-Am cars to use in Thundersports in 1986, it appears that Brayton found every available T530 to sell to them. Only the heavily damaged HU4 remained in the US.
Accumulation of T530 and T532 parts plus tub acquired from Lola by Burke-Ratcliffe (UK) in 1986. Believed to be the car advertised by BRR Motorsport November 1988 ("currently being built up with new tub. Available race ready February 1989")? To Mike McComas (Pampa, TX) 1989 - Bill Chizar (San Francisco, CA) 1995 and later Michael Duncan (Los Altos, CA, later Colchester, CT) to Mel Spillman (San Antonio,TX) some time before 1999. Spillman was jailed in 2002 and his collection was sold off by the State of Texas District Attorney's office. The destination of the Lola T530 is unknown.
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