This startlingly well-speciﬁed Lola T222 is a ﬁne example of the shapely unlimited-capacity CanAm Championship contender produced by the illustrious British manufacturer for the 1971-72 seasons. Lola Cars Ltd of Huntingdon had a ﬁne reputation for producing customer competition cars which were beautifully built and which provided their buyers with competitive racing and the opportunity to earn attractive appearance start and prize money at International level.
The T222 such as this example was essentially a Mark 2 development of the preceding T220 model, which itself had followed on the heels of the T160-162 derivations of the classical T70 CanAm Championship-winning sports car design of 1966. The T220 was created by Lola founder Eric Broadley and his chief designer, Bob Marston. It was based upon a full-length aluminium-skinned monocoque chassis, and in order to promote nimble handling and manouevrability it featured a notably short wheelbase length in contrast to its contemporary rivals. Indeed in its original form the T220’s short wheelbase was considered by its main driver – Peter Revson – too short for comfort, and after a colossal crash at Road Atlanta the quasi-works L&M-sponsored Carl Haas team operating the car requested a longer-wheelbase development as replacement. Since the prototype car ‘HU1’ had been damaged beyond immediate repair, the replacement ‘HU2’ was shipped out to the US with its wheelbase extended at the front end to 98 inches in length. In the replacement car, Peter Revson then proved himself to be the closest and most consistent challenger to the otherwise all-conquering McLaren works team entries during that 1970 Can Am Championship series. He drove for McLaren the following year, and became 1971 CanAm Champion.
For 1971, Lola Cars put the modiﬁed T220 design into production for customer sale, under the classiﬁcation T222. Examples were campaigned in the 1971 CanAm Challenge series by owner/drivers Dave Causey, Bob Nagel and Hiroshi Kazato, and the model also appeared in European InterSerie racing – the equivalent of ‘anything goes’ CanAm sports car racing in North America.
This particular Lola-Chevrolet T222 oﬀered here was one of a pair supplied from the Huntingdon factory – its location name explaining the ‘HU’ preﬁx to contemporary Lola chassis numbers – to the marque’s European distributor, former Grand Prix-winning racing driver Joakim Bonnier. Chassis ‘HU3’ here was sold by Bonnier to either Chuck Graemiger Racing or to private owner Régis Fraissinet who then ran the car in 1971 InterSerie racing for the world-class endurance racing and rally driver Gerard Larrousse at the wheel.
The car made its debut in the Hockenheim InterSerie round of July 1971, entered by Chuck Graemiger Racing for Larrousse, but failing to ﬁnish due to a clutch problem. Régis Fraissinet then appeared with the car in preparation for several rounds of the corresponding Championship in 1972, but largely concentrated instead upon hill-climbing with this powerful machine. Fraissinet’s best result came at Albi where he won overall.
Frassinet invited Matra Formula 1 and sports-racing star driver Jean-Pierre Beltoise to drive it in the Urcy hill-climb near Dijon before selling it circa 1984 to Adrien Maeght for his well-known motor car museum at Mougins in southern France. The car was subsequently preserved within the museum unFl 1998.