Lola wind tunnel goes up for sale

Credit: Lola Group Holdings

Former Lola Cars owner Martin Birrane has put the Lola Technical Centre in Huntingdon up for sale, which houses the ex-Formula 1 team and chassis constructor’s wind tunnel.

Birrane, who largely ended his involvement with the automotive and motorsport engineering sector after Lola Cars ceased trading in 2012, has now decided to find a new owner for the Cambridgeshire facility.

The Lola Technical Centre also contains a seven-post dynamic suspension rig, used within the motorsport industry to determine a car’s reaction to on-track suspension loads, helping engineers build setups through the process of  kinematic testing.

Lola’s half-scale wind tunnel has been used widely by a range of F1 teams, as well as in the development stages of Lola’s former Champ Car, Formula Nippon and Formula 3000 programs.

“It is important to me that the Lola legacy lives on,” said Birrane, “[and] continuing to contribute to the UK as a global leader in this sector.

“I am extremely pleased with the state-of-the-art Wind Tunnel facility and the contribution it has made to some of the most technologically advanced organisations in the world.

“It’s a successful and sustainable business in its own right and will be a valuable acquisition for any prospective buyer.

“It’s the start of an exciting new chapter, but I want to try and ensure it continues in the right hands.”

Birrane purchased Lola in 1997, following its ill-fated MasterCard-backed F1 entry, and oversaw the company’s continued presence in international motorsport.

Recently, the wind tunnel has been used by Riley-Multimatic and Mazda in their joint Daytona Prototype program, and has also found use in other engineering industries – clients include Airbus and Scania, who have used the facility to validate their own aerodynamic studies in-house.

The wind tunnel was also used by Lola itself in assessing a return to F1 as a constructor ahead of the 2010 season, but ultimately failed to gain an entry.