Lola’s F5000 domination started with the ’72 model T300, the process completed by the ’73 T330, and 332, 332C, single seat Can Am T333 variants of the car built over a decade.It is one of the most successful competition cars ever in terms of race wins and longevity, if not THE most successful.
Eric Broadley’s evolution of the T300 produced an extremely competitive car for one of F5000′ s most competitive seasons, the cars aluminium monocoque ‘dressed’ in curvaceous bodywork executed by Specialised Mouldings. If ever an F5000 looked right this was it.
The 1973 season and those which followed proved that beauty was far from skin deep.
T330 ‘HU18’ was sold in March to Jackie Epstein Racing for the ’73 European F5000 championship. Epstein was a long time race entrant of sports cars before changing to F5000 after the death of his business partner, racer Paul Hawkins.
The Radio Luxembourg # 208 sponsorship was iconic at a time when the BBC had a monopoly on the radio airwaves in the UK. Radio Luxembourg, on frequency 208 medium wave were an offshore broadcaster of popular shows into the UK.
The car’s driver for 1973 was ’71 Le Mans and ’72 British F5000 Champion Gijs Van Lennep. His best results a 2nd at Snetterton and 3rds at Mondello Park and Jyllands-Ringen. Whilst Gijs was away on sports car duties Tony Trimmer, Clive Santo and Ray Allen also raced the car, albeit without success.
Teddy Pilette won the 1973 title with a demonstration of consistent speed in his Chevron B24.
Into 1974 Epstein signed Lella Lombardi, she had come through Italian racing and European F3 and immediately impressed with her handling of HU18. Her best results 4ths at Brands, Monza, Oulton Park and Mallory Park. In ’74 the title was won by Bob Evans in a T332.
Lombardi raced in F1 for March in ’76, HU18 was sold by Epstein to John Turner, the car also driven by Keith Holland and Richard Scott that year. Hollands 4th at Brands was the best result.
From Europe to Obscurity in the US for 34 Years and into Peter Brennan’s TLC…
Peter Brennan picks up the story, ‘Allen Karlberg was an American working in the UK at the time and was commissioned by countryman Jim Burnett to acquire a car for conversion to a central seat Can Am spec, F5000 having morphed into Can Am in an attempt to improve crowd numbers. The car was shipped to Portland, Oregon in 1977 where it remained for 36 years’
‘It was disassembled and some work done, for example the DG300 had a new crown wheel and pinion but essentially it was untouched, the only thing preventing considerable damage to the car was the fact it was in parts and the bits and pieces far enough away from a workshop fire which melted the right-front corner of the tub some time in the ’90’s.’
‘Burnett died several years ago and his Executors approached Karlberg to sell the car, I was cruisin’ the internet as I do. I was looking for another F5000 to restore and spotted a small ad in a club magazine which said something like ‘fire damaged F5000 for sale, major project’.
‘Whilst their was a lot of junk in the workshop around the bones of the car I could make out what it was and also see that the factory chassis plate was on it. I agreed to buy it and with a little research from the pictures he sent me, the front brake ducts and oil tank, for example, I was confident it was HU18 even before he called me to advise the plates details !’
‘Even though the car had been in bits forever it had remained in the same place so the tub, ‘box, 4 complete corners, wheels and spares, exhaust, radiators, fuel cells, swirl pots etc, etc were all there. Shipping it out of Portland was a pain in the arse but Kevin Bailey’s ‘Cheetah Imports’ always helps me and it finally arrived, then the real work began’.
Our intrepid racer has owned and restored Elfins, Matich and Lola F5000’s, everything but a Chevron. HU18, as the most lightly raced of the surviving T330’s, most of which were converted to T332 spec, is something special.
Peter is the ‘real deal’ as a racer enthusiast ‘…the main reason I do this is that I love the challenge, meeting and making new friends, it’s not all about the racing. It’s a real journey, going to all parts of the world in pursuit of parts and information’.
We look forward to sharing the journey with you PB.
Next month, the mammoth task of resurrection begins.
Richard Bunyan, Peter Brennan