As we pointed out yesterday with the Alfa Romeo Giulia TZ, there are many reasons why we might pick out a subject for Cars That Rock… and in the case of this Lola T212 we were drawn to the subtle Scuderia Filipinetti livery.
Over the years the famous Swiss outfit ran a variety of cars – usually Ferraris – and employed amongst others Jim Clark, Phil Hill, Mike Parkes, Ronnie Peterson, Jo Siffert, and Jo Bonnier. The latter of that illustrious group was in fact a Lola agent and drove this very car when new at the Targa Florio in 1971 and finished third overall, winning his class in the process.
Here at the Spa Classic it is being given its first run-out since being rebuilt and re-painted to resemble its first condition. Owner, driver and GRRC member Mauro Poponcini took a few moments to describe what it’s like to drive one of these ultra-lightweight machines. ‘It’s like a gearbox kart!’ he tells us, with the kind of wide-eyed grin you’d expect a man to wear when his car has 275bhp and weights just 500kg. ‘It has a short wheelbase so is a bit twitchy. You must keep it off the kerbs; it doesn’t like them at all. You must drive it cleanly.’
Power for the Lola (shot here coincidentally next to another T212 it competed with in-period, driven by Helmut Marko) comes from a screaming Ford-Cosworth FVC motor which spins all the way to 9,000rpm, which sounds great until we learn that, according to Mauro, it doesn’t really develop any snort until about 7,000rpm. ‘You have to keep it revving hard’ he explains. Sounds like a lot of fun to us.
As a ‘shakedown’ meeting the Spa Classic is going well for Mauro and the Lola so far. If all goes well it will take part in some more Classic Endurance racing, especially next year’s bi-annual Le Mans Classic. We’ll see you there, Mauro!
Photography: Tom Shaxson