New puzzle Racing rarities: hotbed of the stars

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Our “Racing rarities” puzzle shows a pilot who competed twice on this track and landed a controversial victory in the process. Who is pictured here? Where and when was the picture taken?

Every week we present a small piece of motorsport history, mostly from the archive of our partners at the British photo agency LAT. The process is very easy – tell us who can be recognized, where and when the picture was taken (example: Jo Siffert, Monza, 1970) and with a little luck you could win a small prize. Please do not forget your name, address, year of birth and telephone number. Send your solution to: [email protected] The closing date for entries is midnight on the Sunday of the current week.

The resolution from last time: The Italian Vincenzo Sospiri in 1997 with his Lola T97 / 30 in training for the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne’s Albert Park.

The racing car brand Lola is legendary. It was founded in the late 1950s by Eric Broadley, allegedly named after a song that was popular at the time, “Whatever Lola wants, Lola gets”. Broadley initially built Formula Junior racing cars, and the first GP racer was created as early as 1962. Motorcycle star John Surtees achieved one pole position and two second places in Formula 1. 35 years and countless racing cars later, Lola’s last GP adventure led the brave Broadley to ruin – he sold the racing team to Irish entrepreneur Martin Birrane in 1997.

The fateful 1997 GP project was based on a four-year contract between Lola and the credit card company Mastercard; however, not through traditional sponsorship, but a modification of so-called “crowd funding”. That means: The 10 million US dollars for the 1997 season (about a quarter of the total budget) should be raised by the customers, through the Mastercard Formula One Club.

For entries between $ 79 and $ 2999, photos, team clothing, and more were offered. Mastercard’s bill: If 30 million advertising brochures were sent out, 0.3 percent of all those who wrote to them should take a bite, then the concept would work.

The reality was different: a measly flow of money to the team, too little development, even before the start of the season, the Formula 1 team Lola had already owed six million pounds.

Eric Broadley initially set his sights on the 1998 season as a debut, but Mastercard wanted everything to be brought forward by twelve months, because in 1997 Jackie Stewart also started with his new team and sponsor HSBC.

Result: Lola had almost three months to put a car on its wheels. There were no wind tunnel tests due to lack of time. When Lola started designing the T97 / 30, Stewart already had his racer on the test track.

A functional test in Santa Pod and tests in Silverstone were characterized by transmission problems. Allegedly, not even a dozen laps were made before the car designed by Chris Murphy and Duncan McRobbie had to be transported to Australia.

The flop was programmed: until the last minute before the first free practice session, the mechanics were working on the cars of the Brazilian Ricardo Rosset and the Italian Vincenzo Sospiri. The car’s balance was a disaster. Rosset was nine seconds behind Jacques Villeneuve’s fastest time in the Williams.

Without basic coordination based on tests, the work was free improvisation instead of well-founded methodology. The gap to the top was embarrassing: Both Lola were eliminated due to the 107 percent rule – according to which the fastest time of a car must not be more than 107% over the time of the Pole man. Villeneuve drove in pole position with 1: 29.369 minutes, which resulted in a 107% time of 1: 35.625, Sospiri drove 1: 40.972, Rosset 1: 42.086.

Broadley hastily designed a new suspension and other side pods. He asked Mastercard for more money, but it didn’t. Then Broadley withdrew the team from the World Cup. The material had been transported to Interlagos (Brazil), but the cars never got on the train.

From 1958 to 2012 Lola produced more than 5000 racing vehicles, for years Lola dominated IndyCar sport or in the formulas 3000 (predecessor of today’s Formula 2) and 5000, in Europe and in North America at the same time.

Vincenzo Sospiri, Formula 3000 champion from 1995 (forerunner of today’s Formula 2), won the Sports Racing World Cup with Ferrari and Emmanuel Collard in 1998 and 1999. The great Michael Schumacher once said: “In karting I had two role models – Ayrton Senna and Vincenzo Sospiri.” After his racing career, Sospiri looked after young racing drivers before he founded the “Vincenzo Sospiri Racing” team – VSR has won 21 titles in GT and monoposto racing over the past ten years.

Ricardo Rosset, who made his debut in GP racing in 1996 with Footwork, drove for Tyrrell in Formula 1 in 1998, but never scored a single World Championship point. After his GP career, he won the Porsche Cup three times in Brazil. He founded a sportswear company, became a self-made millionaire and now lives in Miami.

So to the new riddle: the driver he was looking for competed twice on this breathtaking route. Many racing drivers who later became Grand Prix stars were on the road on this track.

Who is this? Where and when was this picture taken?

Take part too! Send your solution to: [email protected] The closing date for entries is midnight on the Sunday of the current week.

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