The Ex-Hitoshi Ogawa (Toyota works driver) 1991 Lola-Cosworth T91-50 Formula 3000 Racing Single-Seater Chassis no. 10
The world-famous Lola racing car company had a long and successful career building Formula 2 single-seaters before the FIA replaced the old F2 category with Formula 3000 as a schoolroom class for Formula 1 in 1986. Lola initially made what came to be seen as a false start in the new category with a car based on their significantly larger Indycar chassis. But they bounced back with a truly tailor-made Formula 3000 design which proved infinitely more competitive and this car and its derivatives enjoyed significant success over the following few years, competing closely with Ralt and Reynard. In 1996 International Formula 3000 was re-regulated to become a one-make series and Lola won the FIA contract to build all Formula 3000 cars, a contract which was renewed in 1999 and 2002 before International F3000 was replaced by todays GP2 class.
Meanwhile, in Japanese national racing, Formula Nippon combined mixed grids of cars (with Reynard dominating) until 2003, when Lola was awarded a one-make chassis supply contract in addition to its International monopoly. In 2004, every Formula 3000-class car in the world was produced by Lola. Formula 3000 was so named because the engines used initially were 3-litre naturally-aspirated Cosworth-Ford DFV V8 engines which had been rendered obsolete by changes in Formula 1 rules. In later years a John Judd-developed Honda engine emerged for F3000 based upon an Indy V8 before a Mugen-Honda V8 became the dominant power unit, followed by a new Cosworth.
Japan had persisted with Formula 2 rules for two years after the categorys European demise, before adopting basically F3000 rules in 1987. Unlike European F3000, the Japanese Championship featured fierce competition between tyre companies, and tended to feature highly-paid drivers (both local and European) in cars more highly developed and tested than was common in Europe. The Mugen V8 engine dominated this series, which was renamed Formula Nippon in 1996. In Europe from that year F3000 became a single engine (a detuned Judd V8 re-engineered by - and badged as a Zytek) and chassis Lola, running on common Avon tyres. Support blossomed through the late 1990s and in 2000, the series was restricted to 15 two-car teams
This particular Lola T91 was used during the 1991 and 1992 seasons by the Japanese Stellar International team, for whom it was driven by the late Hitoshi Ogawa. He was also a works team driver for the major Toyota sports car team, and he had become the first Japanese driver to win an FIA World Championship-qualifying round when in 1992 he co-drove the winning Group C Toyota TS010 with Geoff Lees in the Monza 500Kms round, beating Derek Warwick/Yannick Dalmas in the works Peugeot 905 Evo 1bis. However, just a few months later he lost his life in a race accident at the Japanese Suzuka circuit.