37. Lola T370 1974

S4352 Lola T370 No.26 6th Swedish GP 1974 – Graham Hill

Graham Hill had won everything worth to win in the Formula One, when he decided to found an own team in 1974. With the help of racing car producer Lola, that delivered the chassis, and the tobacco company W.D. & H.O. Wills (with the brand Embassy), Hill took the plunge. He was obsessed by the idea which also others tried to realize before. Jack Brabham, Bruce McLaren and John Surtees – all companions of Hill – had already changed from racing driver to team chef. In the first year (1974), Hill was not appearing as autonomous constructor. It was still more important for him to act as a driver than to manage a team. That’s why the world champion of 1962 and 1968 had the position of a full-time pilot. An ambition which he gave up only in 1975 after two failed qualifying attempts. The T370 was the first Formula One-Lola since the Mark 4 of 1962. End of October 1973 it was ready. Frank Gardner was testing the car in Snetterton. Two weeks later Graham Hill was piloting the car for the first time. At the first GP in Argentina, 13th January (at that time the Formula One was starting that early!), Hill was surprising everyone when he drove the T370 to a seventh position in the starting grid. During the race, he couldn’t hold the pace, was continuing to race on the 10th position and had to retire the car because of an engine breakdown shortly before the end of the race. The next races didn’t go well neither. Also teammate Guy Edwards was unsuccessful – until the Swedish GP -. There Hill was sixth (Edwards seventh) what was in the same time his best result. After a F5000 test accident, where Edwards broke his ankle, the second cockpit was “sold” first to Peter Gethin and after to the German Rolf Stommelen. Stommelen was directly faster than Hill what was leading to Hill’s decision to terminate his career in the next year. In 1975, Hill/Stommelen were starting the first two races with the T370. After that it was replaced by the Hill GH1. In November the same year, Hill crashed with his Piper Aztec which he bought from the prize money that he gained for his Indy 500 victory in 1966. With him died his new driver Tony Brise and four other team members.

 

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