The F1 car you can legally drive on the road
This 370bhp Lola is about as closeto the real thing as you can get – but with indicators and registration plates.
Just like Lewis Hamilton, you could be clambering into your very own F1 car on a Sunday morning. The only difference is you could be driving yours to a Harvester for a roast dinner.
Called the F1R, it was originally built in 1996 by the UK-based Lola F1 operation. Never heard of it? That might be because it's the team with the shortest-lived Formula One record in history.
The car has been fully road registered since 2009, meaning you can drive it away from the Bonhams December Sale auction next month... as long as you place the winning bid.
According to the lot description, this car is the result of a wager with Lola race engineers who were tasked to build a Formula 1-style vehicle that could be used legally on UK roads.
With the bet on the table, the Lola team constructed a chassis fit for purpose in 1996 - one year into development of its official assault on the F1 championship.
But it turned out to be the briefest spell on the biggest of car racing stages. The MasterCard Lola F1 Team was 11 seconds off the pace and failed to qualify for the 1997 Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne. It then withdrew from the series before the next race in Brazil due to a cash-strapped budget.
While Lola never raced and failed to make an appearance in F1 again, it's still fair to say the F1R has a genuine Formula One developed chassis.
The Bonhams description said the tub, wings, suspension, nose cone, body panels, radiator ducting and other ancillaries are all elements taken directly from the company's aborted F1 project.
What isn't Formula One spec is the engine. While naturally aspirated 3.0-litre V8 engines were the regulation in the late nineties, Lola decided a 2.0-litre turbocharged Cosworth - the same engine used in the iconic Sierra and Escort RS Cosworths - was better suited for road use.
The four-cylinder Cosworth lump was mated to a Porsche G50 five-speed manual gearbox to ensure that finding spare parts and maintaining the winged road car would be relatively easy.
In current form, the combination delivers a punchy 370bhp, though the turbo can be adjusted to substantially increase the power output - if you're brave enough to risk it.
But no measure of power is good enough if you can't scale the speed bump outside your house. To tackle the issue, the suspension is raised to ensure there's enough ground clearance to tackle the most prominent of speed restrictions.
At greater speeds, the adjustable front and rear wings generate increasing levels of downforce, though we imagine it must be a bit of a handful on an icy back road in the middle of December.
The owner told the auction house that the car is 'good in traffic, very easy to drive and offers tremendous performance when required'. We're certainly not disputing the latter claim.
It even has a handbrake fitted to comply with UK regulations.
And it's hardly been used either. It's covered just 25 miles since being issued with a road-legal V5 document (vehicle registration) in 2009, and has been stored in a climate controlled environment with a stable of other cars since then.
The owner has repeatedly started it and warmed it up to operational temperature every month, while the last outing on the road was in early autumn for its annual MoT test.
To say you might get a look or two in it is somewhat of an understatement, especially as this is the only car of this type that is fully road legal in the UK having passed the government SVA tests.
Expected to sell for between $NZ95,000 to $150,000, we're really intrigued to see how much it sells for.