Cicale can laugh now looking back, but
what he saw that first day wasn’t funny.
“Mario’s coming down the pit straight
on his warm-up lap and his left-front tire
is six inches off the ground. The aluminum
I-beam on the right-rear had collapsed
and he was going 40mph at most.
“I said ‘Eric, you said this had load
capacity,’ and he said it must have been
off by a small factor. He wondered if there
was any angle iron in the truck, and there
was on the ramps we used to load the
cars. He said we’d bolt it to the right side
of the car to reinforce it, because the left
side has no load whatsoever.
“Mario goes back out, comes right back
in and says something is wrong with the car
and he was afraid to do a warm-up lap.
“We looked and the left-rear is all
buckled in. So we took all the angle iron
off the ramps and bolted it all the way
around so Mario could practice. We were
30mph off the pace and that’s when
Bernie named the car Pig 1.”
It lived up to the name at Indy, Milwaukee
and Cleveland, but Andretti didn’t panic.
“That first car was a flexy flyer, no
ground effects, so it was really difficult on
ovals,” he says. “At Indy, Eric asked if the
Andretti’s Lola lacked downforce at the
1983 Indianapolis 500, but Tony Cicale
(BELOW) dialed it into a competitive
proposition over the course of the year.
THE SMILE IS FORCED...
car was ‘jacking’ and I asked what the hell
does that mean? We changed the roll
center about 30 times and we needed
more downforce. Everyone was stressed.
“But you’ve got to dance, whether you
like the music or not, and we just kept
plugging. We had no other option. I was
under no illusion, but I was looking at the
long-term and I felt confident we’d prevail.”
For all its shortcomings, the Lola T700
found victory lane at Road America in late
“You’ve got to dance,
whether you like the music
or not. We just kept plugging.
We had no other option”
(ABOVE) Pole winner
Mario Andretti leads
the field at the 1984
Beach Grand Prix. His
victory there (LEFT)
was the first of six in
a title-winning year