Yamaha returns to car racing with new Lola Formula E project


Yamaha will return to international car racing next season for the first time since its last Formula 1 programme in 1997 as it becomes Lola’s partner in its new Formula E project.

The Race revealed earlier this week that Lola – which was relaunched in 2022 by IMSA SportsCar Championship racer Till Bechtolsheimer a decade after its previous incarnation went into administration – had picked Formula E for its motorsport comeback and would become a powertrain supplier in partnership with a manufacturer for the Gen3 Evo era that begins next season.

That programme has now been officially announced ahead of this weekend’s inaugural Tokyo E-Prix, along with the news that Yamaha will be Lola’s technical partner.

“To be selected by one of the most innovative OEMs [manufacturers] in the world to partner on a project of this significance is a testament to the calibre of the team that we have been building at Lola,” said Bechtolsheimer.

“The focus of this project is squarely around technological development in which Lola is fully invested.

“We see the highly efficient 350kW electric powertrain that underpins the manufacturer’s perimeter in Formula E as a cornerstone technology with exciting applications across many forms of topflight international motorsport in the coming years.”

Yamaha is a legendary presence in motorcycle racing, although its MotoGP team has struggled since its last title success with Fabio Quartararo in 2021.

In car racing it is best known for its 1990s F1 stint, which produced two podium finishes – a third place for Mark Blundell in Spain in a highly competitive 1994 season with long-time partner Tyrrell and most famously Damon Hill’s near-victory in the 1997 Hungarian Grand Prix for Arrows-Yamaha.

Heiji Maruyama, Yamaha’s managing executive officer and director, said the firm’s move into Formula E was part of a wider sustainability push.

“Yamaha Motor Company is accelerating the research and development of various technologies that contribute to sustainability,” he explained.

“As the technical partner, we hope to acquire more advanced energy management technologies through the highest level of electric racing in Formula E.

“We also share Lola’s new philosophy of sustainable motorsport and we are very pleased and honoured to form this partnership with them.”

Lola has made a number of significant hires in recent months as it builds towards its motorsport return, including Mark Preston and Keith Smout – who were key figures in multiple championship winning Formula E team Techeetah.

“Lola Cars has a decorated history of success in chassis and aerodynamic design,” said Preston, who is now Lola’s motorsport director.

“This project will allow us to create a unique electrified platform with a software focus at its core to provide a basis for Lola’s wider plans in defining the future of motorsport technology.”

The Lola-Yamaha alliance is expected to provide a powertrain for an existing Formula E team.



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