London-based property developer and ardent motor racing enthusiast Martin Birrane has saved the troubled manufacturer Lola Cars from extinction, and aims to re-establish it in the Indycar arena in 1998, when the Eric Broadley-funded marque celebrates its 40th anniversary.
Long-time competitor Birrane, 62, who owns the ever-improving Mondello Park racing facility in his native Ireland, has taken on former Lola Cars director Mike Blarichet (the ex-Formula 3 racer who worked alongside Broadley for many years) to help steer it back on track. Birrane, who will apparently play a key personal role in the company’s future, has particularly fond memories of Lola cars. He owned the Crowne Racing Lola T292 with which Chris Craft — who built the Rocket Tortscar in recent years — won the European 2-Litre Sportscar Championship in 1973.
Lola’s victory in Japan’s competitive Formula Nippon Championship this season has fostered considerable interest in the chassis. The Huntingdon-based manufacturer also has an ongoing contract to supply the ‘spec’ cars for the HA F3000 series to build upon.