SOLD 10/22

1979 Lola
T-298 Sports Racer

Fresh 307hp BMW 2L power and jewel-like presentation by J&L Fabrication. FIA Papers, significant spare package including extra nose and tail. No expense spared preparation. Formerly owned and raced by Bobby Rahal.

  • VINHU98
  • Exterior ColorLight Blue
  • Interior ColorBlack
  • MileageTMU
  • EngineBMW 2L
  • Transmission5-Speed Hewland Transaxle
  • StatusSold
  • StockFJ2614


1979 Lola T298
s/n HU 98
Light Blue “Asturo” livery

With its advanced construction, state of the art technology, and low-profile body designs, Lolas remain among the most important and beautiful racecars ever built. Established in 1958 by Eric Broadley, a brilliant engineer and determined businessman, Lola was a fledgling company eager to establish their name in the growing field of competitive motorsports. The UK based company began their engineering developments building front-engine sports cars, rapidly expanding their offerings into more ambitious ventures including the pioneering development of mid-engine racecars. A key move for Lola was their ground-breaking efforts building the Lola Mk6 coupe, a car that would capture the attention of Ford engineers, eventually hiring Broadley for development of the Ford GT40. Under Broadley’s guidance, Ford leveraged the sophisticated Lola construction methods, suspension geometry, and body design to bring the GT40 to life.

Broadley’s intuitive engineering mind was greatly stimulated by his exposure to millions of dollars of engineering advances funded by Ford and their juggernaut to win at Le Mans. The lightweight yet remarkably robust aluminum monocoque construction, suspension dynamics, and horsepower management, coupled with newly developed mid-engine platforms culminated in some of the most advanced construction methods deployed in any contemporary race car.

Having developed a wide range of cars for various racing applications, Lola began construction on the T298 in 1978 with the first of the series, chassis HU93, assembled that year for the 1979 racing season. Derived from the earlier T296, the T298 was updated with improved suspension geometry and greatly benefited from aluminum monocoque with a separate rear subframe that could easily accommodate a range of engines. Most Lolas were originally outfitted with Cosworth or BMW four-cylinder engines, although many cars were later retrofitted with alternate powerplants including Cosworth DFV V8’s, which, according to documentation on file including the racing logbooks dating back to 1988, appears to have been the case with this particular example. Among those outfitted with 4-cylinder engines, the preferred powerplant is the BMW M12 producing the most torque, horsepower, and generally regarded among 2L aficionados as the most reliable. These lightweight, high-revving engines were ideally suited for the low profile T298 body work which benefited from improved aerodynamics due to the longer front and rear overhangs, flat top surfaces, and exceptional rear wing downforce. Though production numbers range from 15-17 from most sources, Lola records indicate 17 cars were completed in this series from 1978-1981. The T298 would go on to enjoy a period of impressive wins culminating in the 1981 class victory in Le Mans 24 Hours. French Group 6 Championships were won in four of the five years competing as well as Italian Group 6 Championships where several examples competed during this period until 1982 when Group C regulations signaled the end to the sports prototype era.

This particular example, chassis Hu 98 is the sixth recorded T298 assembled by Lola. Under first ownership, the first of many races occurred in late 1979 with Mauro Nesti at the wheel, powered by a 2 liter BMW engine. Races of note in 1980 include Vallelunga, March 23, 1980, 2nd place finish at Varano, March 30, 1980, and 1st place at Varano again, June 1, 1980. Nesti would continue with other victories including 1st place July 6, 1980, at Trento Bondone, 2nd place at Coppa Teodori July 27, 1980, and 4th place at 16th Carrera en Cuesta al PuigMajor September 23, 1980, to name just a few of his many accomplishments driving HU98.

Logbooks accompanying the car today date back to 1988 including ownership attributed to well-known vintage racing enthusiast Tom Byrnes prior to current ownership. Byrnes purchased the car from Bobby Rahal who had purchased the car from Grand Prix Classics, La Jolla, CA in 1999. Rahal had the car flown from Milan, Italy to Ohio, eventually commissioning Clay Filson Racing to go over the entire car including the purchase of a new Tony Waterman, UK body shell molded from original factory molds using lighter and more durable Kevlar. After Rahal’s use that season, he decided to rebuild the car completely from the ground up including a new folded and riveted box tub fabricated by Filson Racing. Tom Byrnes contacted Rahal after seeing it perform so well at the track, inquiring about the possibility of purchasing it. Rahal declined, stating it was “just too much fun”. Rahal, upon accepting his new role at Jaguar in England, contacted Byrnes, and sold him the car. The April 2005, “Bimmer” Magazine featured the car in an article outlining Rahal’s restoration and Byrnes’ improvements including the addition of a smaller second front segment with reinforced cross member of sandwiched and honeycombed aluminum to protect legs and feet in the event of frontal impact. Under current ownership, additional safety improvements included strengthening the front monocoque with heavier gauge aluminum (.050 and .063 in place of .040 and .050) which prevents “Lola Limp”, the condition often resulting from Lola drivers shunting the front of their cars resulting in foot and leg damage. As a further measure of protection, the footbox panels were beefed up as well.

The current owner, a multiple vintage race car owner and participant in a wide range of racing classes, purchased this car in 2013. During his ownership the car has been thoughtfully prepared for historic events, including more than 150 individual detailed invoices outlining itemized expenses and mechanical services performed by race car experts at J&L Fabrication, Puyallup, WA. This team is highly regarded in the industry for building fast cars, bolstered by in-house specialists from craftsmen to machinists specifically skilled at prepping race cars. The accompanying invoices convey the level of detail the owner and the professional race-prep team at J&L Fabrication have dedicated to this Lola over the years including February 2022 invoice changing the spark plugs, changing fluids, testing the engine, including fogging the engine as part of prepping the car for storage while not in use. In 2020, the fire bottle was recertified, and a new seat cover was installed in 2019. Invoices in 2018 outline detailed work on the Hewland gearbox including a new alternator cover, a new bearing carrier, new forks, shift rails, shift arm, and new gear oil. Additionally, a new clutch disc and ring were installed, the chassis was dyno tested with appropriate adjustments made with driver weights installed, a set of Goodyear tires installed, brake lines replaced, and new wheels installed. A FIA Historic Technical Passport was acquired in 2011 and is included with the car. The car currently wears the correct long-tail body which was prepared with the current and recently finished livery.

Extensive work was performed from 2015-2017 taking the car down to the bare structure, reskinning the tub, rebuilding literally every major component, replacing hardware, rebuilding suspension, hydraulics, and electrical throughout. In addition to this work, in 2017, a brand-new BMW M12 engine was built, consisting of a new block, new M-12/7 head, a new lightweight VDS spec. crankshaft, new cams, pistons, and all internal engine components. Complete specifications for the engine build are on file with the car as well as detailed invoices from J&L Fabrication outlining labor and parts costs. After completion, the engine was dyno tested (dyno sheets included with the car) returning 307hp/189 lb. ft. torque. Since completion, the engine has accumulated roughly 3hrs of run time including one race, a qualifying at Sonoma, and an hour at Palm Springs during warm up.

Today this Lola is representative of the superlative care it has received throughout current ownership and the top-tier preparation from racing professionals. The body work is very well prepared with excellent paint, vivid graphics, and stunning presence in the current livery. A BMW M 4-cylinder DOHC engine with Kuegelfischer fuel-injection, M12/7 with programmable limiter, and a triggered distributor with Bosch CDi ignition, is mated to a Hewland 5-speed FGA gearbox. The car is outfitted with a dry sump lubrication system, and Lockheed disc brakes with alloy four-piston calipers with alloy front 13” x 8” and 13” x 10” rear wheels. A fire suppression system is installed and up to date, and the car is outfitted with a SmartyCam, mounted to the roll bar.

Hinging back the rear body panel, the cleverly engineered mechanical components reveal both the original technically sophisticated construction and exceptional care afforded in preparation. The properly sorted suspension, professionally prepared BMW M engine, and expert care presents the next owner with a high level of confidence for the coming racing season. The engine compartment is purposeful and tidy, ready to offer both power and durability to capable drivers. The exposed mechanicals revealed when the front section is removed display a very clean car with correct riveted aluminum tub construction and substructure, exposed suspension, and professionally prepared lines, hardware, and, once again, superb levels of construction and exceptional detail.

The car is accompanied by numerous invoices outlining the mechanical preparation, the FIA Historic Passport, and the following spares which are copious, well-boxed, and properly labeled. Spare parts include front and rear body sections, spare Lola wishbones, a boxed brass radiator, various selected suspension parts, two rotors and spark plugs, air filter, a spare bell housing, two radiators, various brake parts including discs, several sets of wheels, and a set of four spare wheels with Goodyear tires.

This is a fantastic opportunity to acquire a wonderfully prepared Lola T298, ready for historic racing. Having been expertly campaigned both in period and in vintage events, combined with superlative mechanical preparation, this Lola will confidently run at the head of the pack in many events. The exceptional mechanical condition, known ownership history, and stunning livery, all contribute to making this Lola a precision machine ready for a host of exciting historic racing events.

The above vehicle information is complete and accurate to the best of our knowledge at the time it is posted to this website. Corrections or additional information is always appreciated. All advertised prices exclude government fees and taxes, any finance charges, any dealer document preparation charge, and any emission testing charge. Vehicles are subject to prior sale. All advertised to be true but not guaranteed. We assume no liability for errors or omissions.

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Fantasy Junction  •  510-653-7555  •  1145 Park Ave, Emeryville, CA 94608