He was an intuitive guy and I knew I’d be able
to communicate with him. I couldn’t see any
risk in Tony, he grasped things so quickly.”
With Newman bringing Budweiser as the
sponsor (there was a massive press
gathering in New York City to announce the
partnership), Darrell Soppe was hired as
chief mechanic, along with Bernie Ferri, Bob
Skein, Butch Dennison, Joe Flynn, Kenny
Bova and 22-year-old John Tzouanakis.
But before the car ever turned a wheel
there were storm clouds forming.
“I went to England in November ’ 82
to meet Eric and look at the car except
there was no car,” says Cicale. “There was
no drawing and no wind tunnel model. I
asked where the car was. He said to look
at the Formula 3 car because it would be
based on that design. I said, ‘You are
kidding?’ and he said, ‘No, it’s a fine car. I’ll
swoop it here and I’ll swoop it there,’ and I
thought: ‘What have I gotten myself into?’
(MAIN) Nicknamed “Pig 1” by an underwhelmed Newman/Haas Racing crew, 1983’s
Lola T700 was a handful on ovals, yet Mario Andretti still cajoled it to a third and
fourth at super-fast Michigan. (BELOW RIGHT) Full circle... Mario races to second at
the Phoenix finale, scene of Newman/Haas’s first disastrous test earlier in the year.
“Eric was in charge of the design, he
despised wind tunnels and it was too late for
me to have any influence to do it properly. It
had to be delivered in January or February.
I was a realist and I was concerned.
“The first car was delivered in February.
Everyone looked at it and knew it was a
piece of junk. Nobody had to say anything.
It was ugly, very un-Lola like. Lolas always
looked cool and this was atrocious.”
And even more hideous to a trained eye.
“When we removed the bodywork, we
realized the springs were mounted
outboard and protruded into the very
critical diffuser exit space,” continues
Cicale. “Instead of going up and over the
centerline of the gearbox, the exhaust
system bulged into each of the underwings.
“The outboard dampers were
supported by a single shear with a
4ft-long aluminum angle iron which
bolted to the transmission housing.
A former racer
owner in F5000,
Super Vee and
Can-Am – where he
raced against Paul
Newman’s team – the
Chicagoan was also
U.S. importer for Lola
Cars from 1967.
in motorsports was
piqued attending a
race school before
filming the movie
Winning in 1968.
include second at
Le Mans in 1979.