Lola T610 #17 – Bizarre

1982 Lola T610
Pilots: B. Redman, J. Adams, R. Kent-Cooke
Team: Cooke Racing
Race: DNF (C class) at Le Mans in 1982
Bizarre - BZ 357 (resin)

Published 07/17/20

By the end of the 1980 season, there was some unease with International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) officials. Because of the frank dominance of the Porsche 935, authorities feared that the public would lose interest in the series. So for the following season they created the Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) category. This new class was also consistent with the FIA’s idea to introduce a prototype formula to the 1982 WSC championship. With an eye on these new classes, in 1981 Lola Cars began the development of the T600. The project was for private teams who wanted something new for the new classes.

The T610 is definitively not as graceful as its main competition, the 956.

But the T600 was unique for being the first GT prototype race car to use ground-effect aerodynamics. Designed by aerodynamicist Max Sardou, the car had tunnels on the underbody. These tunnels generated downforce when air passed through them at high speeds. They literally “sucked the car down”, the so-called ground-effect. As a side note, Porsche only used ground-effect in the 956 in 1982. The chassis of the T600 was an aluminum monocoque and the suspension had double wishbones front and rear. Each customer used the engine that they wanted, but Ford-Cosworth’s 3290 cm³ DFL V8 was a popular choice. Even so, teams used a lot of different engines, from Chevrolet to Mazda and even a Porsche flat-6.

From the rear you can see where the air came out from under the car, creating the ground-effect.

At the 1981 24 Heures du Mans there was one T600 in the race, that finished in 15th. Ground-effect aerodynamics was something very new back then, and Lola was basically experimenting with the technology. So for the next season Lola developed the project further, and in early 1982 released the T610. They built two cars, and the T610 used the same chassis as the previous T600, but with enhanced ground-effect features. Both of these cars raced at La Sarthe in 1982, but in different teams. The two of them used the same engine, again Ford-Cosworth’s DFL V8, but with 3955 cm³ of displacement.

Well, not exactly a handsome car, but a GREAT model from Bizarre.

The T610 #17 (chassis #HU2), though with the experienced Brian Redman on the team, had to abandon the race early. Right on the 28th lap, because the car ran out of fuel 🤐! The T610 #16 (chassis #HU1) didn’t do much better and abandoned on lap 72 with a blown gasket. The T610 was undoubtedly a quirky-looking car, and far from pretty. But since it was one of the first ground-effect cars, it holds an important place in history. Fortunately Bizarre replicates the car in scale. Well, who else to make a bizarre car but Bizarre? I’m a BIG fan of the oddballs, and this one in particular is a looker. I would also love to get that 1981 T600, but it’s not available as a model in 1:43.

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