Imagine seeing this in your rearview mirror....
1997 was a terrible Formula 1 season for Lola. Actually, it wasn’t much of a season at all taking into account MasterCard Lola F1 Team only raced in the inaugural 1997 Australian Grand Prix. "Raced" is probably not the most suitable word to use since they didn't even make it pass the qualifying session, with both Vincenzo Sospiri and Ricardo Rosset behind qualifying winner Jacques Villeneuve by more than ten seconds. The sponsor decided to pull the plug after the team’s very poor performance in Melbourne. Without the necessary funds, the team went bust before the Brazilian Grand Prix three weeks later.
But something good did came out of the Lola T97/30, and it was this. Meet the one and only F1 car with road-legal status. To be fair, it’s not exactly the same as the F1-spec car since some changes had to be made in order to register the vehicle in U.K. For starters, the ground clearance was increased and it’s now adjustable between 50 to 75 mm (1.9 to 2.9 inches).
While the Lola F1 car had a naturally-aspirated 3.0-liter V8 Ford Zetec-R engine hooked up to a semi-automatic transmission, the F1R is motivated by a turbocharged 2.0-liter Cosworth engine linked to a five-speed manual gearbox. In its current configuration, the unit develops 370 horsepower (276 kilowatts), but the seller mentions modifying the turbocharger could bump that output easily.
In order to pass the safety inspection, the F1R received headlights, taillights, turn signals, and a handbrake. Designed and assembled by Lola, the car is in perfect condition as it should be since it has covered a mere 25 miles (40 kilometers) and has been stored in a climate-controlled environment. Other than the changes we’ve mentioned, this is basically a 1997-spec F1 car with the FIA-spec nosecone, carbon fiber brakes, pushrod suspension, and the very same body panels.
The owner says the F1R is “good in traffic,” although we have our doubts about that…
Should you be interested, the F1R will be auctioned by Bonhams in London on December 7 when the car is expected to fetch anywhere between £55,000 and £85,000 (about $68,620 - $106,050).