Former F1 champ helps Huntingdon firm celebrate 50 years

BEHIND THE WHEEL: Former F1 world champion Damon Hill took to the track in a classic Lola racing car at the weekend as the Huntingdon firm s 50th anniversary celebrations continued. Hill was among a select group of renowned drivers who were given the hon

BEHIND THE WHEEL: Former F1 world champion Damon Hill took to the track in a classic Lola racing car at the weekend as the Huntingdon firm's 50th anniversary celebrations continued.

Hill was among a select group of renowned drivers who were given the honour of driving some of Lola's most successful racing cars around a track at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.

Other famous faces to join in the celebrations included John Surtees, Sebastien Bourdais, Brian Redman and Carl Haas as well as Lola founder Eric Broadley and Martin Birrane, the current owner.

More than 100,000 people attended the festival where Lola had a special paddock containing some of its most evocative designs since the firm first started building racing cars in 1958.

The very first Lola, the Mk1 prototype was re-united with its founding father Mr Broadley - the 79-year-old drove the car to its starting position in the grounds of Goodwood House.

Mr Birrane also saw action over the weekend when he drove the Bowes Seal Fast Special' Lola T92 that raced at Indianapolis in 1966 and 1967, taking over driving duties from Damon Hill.

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However, the 1996 F1 World Champion said he was delighted to have been invited to take part: "Lola is an important part of the British motorsport industry and they have contributed enormously to its success over the last 50 years. The amount of cars that they have produced is phenomenal," he said.

Hill, who drove Lolas in Formula 3000, added: "Lola designs helped me to achieve the goal of racing in Formula One. In 1990 I got pole positions and led several races in their F3000 car and this raised awareness of what I could do with Frank Williams.

"It was my stepping stone into F1 and it carried on from there.

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