For the American IMSA GTX races Lola created the high-downforce T600. With help from aerodynamicist Max Sardou, this was one of the first sports cars to use ground effects.
A large venturi that ran underneath the T600 created considerable downforce and put increased stress on the chassis. To combat these extra forces carbon-fiber composite was used in the main structure of the car.
The first T600 was delivered to Kent-Cooke/Wood Racing with a Chevrolet V8 and used with good results in the IMSA GTX class. Brain Redman placed first or second in the first eight raced of the Championship which he eventually won. This solidified the cars competitiveness on US soil and many more were ordered.
The Wood Racing car was joined by HU4 for J.L.P., HU5 for Chris Cord Racing and a pair HU6/HU7 for Interscope. Most of these IMSA cars were Chevrolet powered but Bayside Disposal Racing used a Porsche 935-powered HU8.
European cars included the Ford Cosworth DFL-powered HU3 which was campaigned by Lola themselves in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. They scored 25th overall behind the winning Porsche 936 in the same class.
The T600 never caught on in Europe, but Karl-Heinz Becker used HU12 with a BMW Turbo and later a Ford Cosworth V8 with limited results.
Eventually the factory Porsche 956 1982 change the face of endurance racing.
Seeking to regain the dominance it lost to Porsche and Ferrari during the early 1970s, Lola introduced the T600 in 1981. This car, Chassis T600-HU3, was the sole example of 12 built to be fitted with a Ford Cosworth V8 engine. As one of the first endurance-racing cars to utilise the ground-effects technology developed for Formula One, the T600 also successfully pioneered the use of carbon-fibre composite structures, and in the hands of Brian Redman, it took the 1981 IMSA GT championship.
Chassis T600-HU3 was completed on 28th March 1981, and it was the only example retained by Lola Cars Ltd. as a “works” car. It was campaigned throughout the 1981 FIA Manufacturer’s Championship season for Lola by Grid Racing and driven by Guy Edwards and Emilio de Villota. Following a DNS and a DNF at Mugello and Monza, T600-HU3 led the Martini Trophy race at Silverstone in May until it ran out of petrol. Success came with a class victory at the Nürburgring 1,000 kms, followed by a third-place class finish at Le Mans. Overall victory was achieved at the 6-Hours of Enna in Italy, but at Watkins Glen in July, T600-HU3 retired due to a collision. It was repaired and, at Brands Hatch in September, prevailed to take overall victory in the BOAC 500.
In all, chassis T600-HU3 was quite successful, and as one of the first true Formula One-inspired “ground effects” sports-prototypes, it revolutionised racing-car design. Most notably, Porsche gave up any further development of their space-frame 936 and built the 956 instead. Acquired by the O’ Quinn Collection in 2003, T600-HU3 is offered today in original, as-raced condition.