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Saturday, May 25, 2024


THERE’S countless race cars that have been heavily crashed and forced into retirement over the years – but sometimes they find new purposes and live on.

Quite often damaged chassis and single seater tubs no longer fit for physical racing are re-purposed for becoming the basis of simulator and computer game racing setups.

In the case of the Brad Jones Racing Commodore Supercar crashed by Todd Hazelwood at Sandown a few years ago, we reported here in 2020 that it was being reborn as a simulator by team engineer Tony Woodward.

Now we’ve come across an ex-Champ Car chassis online that is being re-purposed for the same use.

The 2000-built Lola Champ Car. Photo: Jeremy Lawrence.

American Jeremy Lawrence recently acquired a 2000-built Lola Champ Car chassis for a Cub Scout project that will be turned into a simulator and used for fundraising for the scout group.

The chassis was instantly retired from racing after crashing in the hands of Mexican Mario Dominguez during practice at Cleveland’s airport circuit in 2006.

The Champ Car regular – driving for Dale Coyne Racing – had the front wing fold under the front wheels of the car and he was unable to avoid ploughing into the nearby concrete wall, see video below.

He was forced into a backup car for the race, meaning that this chassis – Lola B2K/00 HU14 – was sent into retirement due to the damage it sustained.

A full racing history of this chassis – and all others from the period in CART/Champ Car – were acquired by V8 Sleuth late last year from American-based commentator/journalist Jeremy Shaw, making its Indy Sleuth spin-off the authority on racing histories of cars from this era.

A 2000-built chassis, the now-simulator chassis had a very long life in the Champ Car series that stretched through to the series’ final year with the Lola chassis prior to the introduction of the Panoz DP01 for 2007.

This Lola was a Dale Coyne car in 2000 driven by Takuya Kurosawa, Gualter Salles and Alex Barron (the latter qualified it on the Gold Coast but moved to his back-up car for the race) and did the first two rounds in 2001 with Brazilian Luiz Garcia Jnr, also for Coyne’s team.

Gualter Salles at the wheel of the Lola on the Gold Coast in 2003. Photo: an1images.com / Dirk Klynsmith.

It returned in 2003 and was raced by Salles (including a sixth-place finish on the Gold Coast) and Alex Sperafico before becoming popular Spaniard Oriol Servia’s chassis for Coyne’s team in 2004.

He scored a podium finish at Laguna Seca in the chassis that year, the team’s first since Roberto Moreno had finished third at the US 500 at Michigan in 1996.

It wasn’t used in 2005 but returned for 2006 – the last year of the Lola chassis in Champ Car – and appeared in Dominguez’s hands in Portland and Cleveland before the accident that forced it into retirement from racing.

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