Lola MasterCard debuted in 1997 on the grid with the Lola T97/30 badly designed because of a time pressure from MasterCard. As their original plan was to debut in 1998 assumable with their own Lola V10 engine. In 1994, they appeared with the Lola T95/30 on Silverstone where Allan McNish tested the car with no engine cover. However, did you know that the T95/30 would actually be the Lola T94/30?
What’s going in here you may say? I heard it before that Lola planned their debut in the Formula One in 1994. However, I was unable to have this confirmed. Neither have I seen articles before that referred to this. Now I have thanks to the 300 or so autosport magazines I bought just yesterday.
In 1993, Lola designed the bulky looking T93/30, which was powered by some powerful Ferrari engine. It didn’t matter the car showed some poor results and was too heavy. Scuderia Italia, the team that asked Lola to design the car, eventually merged with that other Italian team Minardi. It gave the people at Lola a sour aftertaste.
Sources stating that Lola blamed mostly others for the failure that the Lola T93/30 had become. Engineers of Lola investigated in great detail the poor results by looking at the telemetry information from the car and via a track simulation programme. It was solely the design of the car, according to their results. The main issue was the Ferrari engine which had poor performance and lacked acceleration in combination with the Chassis. There was simply not enough downforce they said.
The company stated they could not cope this failure and that they were already working on the Lola T94/30, which would appear at the first Grand Prix of 1994. The Lola T94/30 would be a design from scratch. With a high nose, similar to that of the T95/30. I did read some rumours that Peugeot or Ford could power the Lola T94/30. Eventually a Ford engine be fitted in the T95/30. It would be more likely that a Ford would power the T94/30.
So what ever happened with the T94/30? There are bits and pieces of information surrounding stating that Lola probably did start working on the T94/30. There is a possibility that Lola converted the car into the T95/30 during the development of the car. Perhaps this is also the reason the T95/30 was a mix of 1994 and 1995 regulations at some point.