on streets of Huntingdon
Lola announce plans to celebrate 50 winning years with town centre parade Marking the Golden Anniversary of Britain’s most prolific manufacturer of racing cars, Lola has today announced exciting plans to stage a public celebration in its hometown Huntingdon. The event will feature a symbolic parade of racing cars taking to the streets of the Cambridgeshire town on Sunday 12 October.
Producing close to 4000 race cars during 50 golden years in the fast lane, Lola has won races in Formula 1, Le Mans, Daytona 24 Hours, Can-Am, Champ Car and Indy 500. Lola’s enviable position will guarantee a star-studded line-up of race cars and drivers from past to present to support this landmark event, when racing cars will parade on the streets of Huntingdon for the first time. A selection of famous Lola racing cars will set off from Lola’s headquarters in Huntingdon and travel through a designated route via the local ring road finishing with the cars forming a spectacular paddock in Huntingdon’s historic market square.
Adding to the occasion, Lola will host a public ‘Q & A’ session in the market square, featuring Lola Chairman Martin Birrane, the Mayor of Huntingdon, and an array of current and former drivers that have raced under the yellow and blue colours of Lola. For the town, also famous for its local members of the British parliament - Oliver Cromwell in the 17th Century and John Major in the 20th century - the Lola 50th celebration provides a wonderful showcase event for the people of Huntingdon. Lola has been working hand-in-hand with relevant local authorities to make sure all the necessary provisions are put in place to make it an enjoyable day for the local community and visitors to this event.
To minimise disruption to local traffic a further announcement will be made ahead of the event advising on the exact route and notifying the locations of the allocated public parking facilities set up for the 12 October. Lola’s future has been firmly cemented under the current ownership of Executive Chairman Martin Birrane who purchased the company in 1997. Birrane has invited local resident Eric Broadley MBE, the founder of Lola Cars, to be an honorary guest for the day. Martin Birrane commented, “With so many of our workforce based in the Huntingdon area we wanted to create an event that would enable our staff, their families, friends and the Huntingdon community to join in our 50th celebrations and to see some of our great heritage at close quarters. Lola is very appreciative of the support provided by the local authorities and we aim to make this a day that the town of Huntingdon can be proud of.”
To support the public parade of cars, Lola will be handing out free copies of a limited edition 50th anniversary poster. The glossy A1 poster depicts one Lola car from each of the fifty years, ranging from the first Lola model built – the Mk1 - through to the latest LMP1 Coupe, that will race in the 2008 Le Mans 24 Hours. The distinguished list of cars featured in the poster illustrates the true diversity of the company’s winning technology throughout the last half century.
Quote from David Monks, Chief Executive of Huntingdon District Council: “On behalf of the council I congratulate Lola on reaching this important milestone in its history and wish the group well with the events planned to commemorate its golden anniversary. “Our district enjoys a healthy and buoyant economy, and we have successful businesses right across the spectrum from the traditional to the hi-tech, and we acknowledge the important contribution which Lola makes. We wish the company many more successful years.”
Quote from Eric Broadley, Founder of Lola Cars in 1958: “It was a lot different here in Huntingdon when we moved up from Slough in 1971. I think it was just a few businesses in this area and the big water tower and that was it! “I am pleased to see Lola still racing all over the world. It is good to see the success at Le Mans because we first went there in 1960 with the Mk1. “Martin presented me with a copy of the 50th anniversary poster and looking at all the designs since 1958 was a wonderful trip down memory lane. He even reminded me that he beat our works team with his own T292 in 1973. It must have been a fluke!”
Quote from Mayor of Huntingdon, Jennifer Sarabia: “On behalf of the town’s people of Huntingdon and members of the Town Council, I would like to congratulate Lola on its 50th anniversary. This is a wonderful achievement and firms like Lola bring great kudos to the town, giving people of the town pride of place. “The golden anniversary celebrations will be a popular event for local people and I expect this will bring many visitors to the town. I applaud Lola for its initiative, as this opportunity will help put Huntingdon further on the map as a progressive and exciting town.”
Quote from Mark Blundell: "The first ever car race that I started in was with a Lola in Formula Ford. During my career I have driven Lola F3000 cars and sportscars. I particularly remember the Nissan Group C car that Lola built in 1990. We set the pole time by a massive margin that year. More recently I raced the Lola-MG at Le Mans in 01 and 02. Being brought up locally (in Royston) it is terrific to see Lola still thriving in a tough industry like motorsport. I wish Lola all the best for its 50th year and to have a parade of some of its cars on the streets of their home town will be a great spectacle."