Formula 1, or F1, is the highest class of single-seat racing on the planet with drivers regularly reaching speeds greater than 200 miles per hour. These high-performance vehicles are subject to rigorous testing and Lola, the manufacturer of this car, missed out on qualifying for the F1 Championships by 11 seconds in 1997. While the company never raced again, this vehicle sits on a genuine F1 chassis, but the engine has been replaced with something less powerful that won't endanger the driver and others on the road. F1 enthusiasts can only dream of driving a fully tuned F1 vehicle, but this Lola F1R is the next best thing. Check out this fantastic street-legal F1 car which was up for sale at the 2016 Bonhams December Auctions in England.
Street Legal Add-Ons
It is easy to spot the additions on the vehicle that make it eligible for road use. The front and rear of the vehicle are fitted with headlights as well as indicators which are mandatory features in any road-worthy vehicle.
Formula 1 cars sit extremely low on the tarmac to improve aerodynamics. The lowness of an F1 racecar is not practical for road-use, so the suspension in the Lola F1R has been lifted slightly to navigate driveways or speed-bumps.
The engine within the vehicle had to be something that was a lot less powerful than an F1 motor purely because that type of power is not safe on the road. The engine is from the legendary Ford Cosworth, and the 2-litre turbocharged engine produces 370 horsepower. The boost from the turbocharger can be adjusted so that even more power is available if the driver is brave enough.
The manufacturers of this vehicle wanted a gearbox that was highly reliable in performance cars and also that had replacement parts which were accessible. The Porsche 911 Carrera G50 gearbox was used to ensure maintenance and spare parts are relatively easy to find. This photograph also shows the handbrake which had to be fitted as a mandatory item for the vehicle to be declared road-worthy.
Both the front and rear spoilers can be adjusted to ensure the vehicle is at it's aerodynamic best when driving around town on a Sunday afternoon.
A Great Car To Drive
Although a one-seater may not be practical for most people, the owner of the vehicle claimed it is “good in traffic, very easy to drive and offers tremendous performance when required.” This vehicle has barely been used, covering just 25 miles and apart from being started and warmed up monthly will hardly feel like a second-hand car.
As mentioned in the introduction, the British Lola F1 team was unsuccessful in their only appearance in F1 which lead to them leaving the sport entirely. In its short existence as an F1 Constructor, Lola managed to rack up almost USD 8 million in debt, and the company went into receivership in 1997.
The Momo steering wheel in the F1R, from famed steering wheel producer with the same name, is synonymous with racing and high-performance vehicles. This steering wheel has to be removed to enter and exit the vehicle which can be annoying, but once in the driver's seat, will be a minor afterthought.
What Is This Vehicle Worth?
Auctions for one of a kind vehicles such as this can be unpredictable which is why the valuation of the car had been estimated between USD 74,000 - USD 114,000. There is strangely no news of a sale for this vehicle, and the Bonhams auction website still has it up as a listing. Perhaps the vehicle is still up for grabs for an F1 enthusiast that can afford it.