$200,000 - $600,000 USD | Offered Without Reserve
- A significant component of Newman/Haas Racing’s fourth CART championship
- Three victories and two 2nd-place finishes by Cristiano da Matta during his dominant 2002 CART championship season
- Helped earn Lola its first CART Constructors’ Championship
- Advanced chassis equipped with Toyota’s powerful turbocharged RV8G engine
- Documented with racing log and accompanied by workshop manuals, laptop and cable, a selection of maintenance spares, and TRD engine crate
NEWMAN/HAAS AT A TURNING POINT
The 2002 CART season bore witness to seismic shifts in Indy Car competition, prompting many racing veterans to regard it as the one of the last seasons in which the league maintained a relative degree of purity. CART’s six-year-old competitor, the Indy Racing League, was increasingly gaining traction, finally managing to lure away one of the format’s greatest competitors, the potent Penske team. This year also saw increasing use of Toyota’s RV8 engine, a 2,650-cubic-centimeter aluminum V-8 that posed a serious challenge to both Honda, which had powered the last six CART champions, and Cosworth, the engine supplier that had dominated Indy Car racing for decades. The season was also quite grueling to drivers and crews alike because of its demanding travel schedule, with eight of the 18 races held outside of the United States in an attempt to popularize the sport worldwide.
The Newman/Haas Racing team was not to be deterred, however, having fielded some of CART’s most competitive squads for the prior 20 years, and emerging with championship victories in 1984, 1991, and 1993 at the hands of legendary drivers (respectively) Mario Andretti, Michael Andretti, and Nigel Mansell. As a longtime partner and American importer of Lola racecars, Carl Haas again chose the English manufacturer for 2002, fielding the builder’s most recent Indy Car, the B02/00.
This advanced 3,048-millimeter-wheelbase chassis featured a carbon fiber monocoque, driver-adjustable anti-rollbars, Brembo ventilated disc brakes with driver-adjustable balance, and 15-inch forged alloy wheels. For the second consecutive year Newman/Haas elected to run the turbocharged dry-sump Toyota engine, which employed Denso fuel management and twin radiators to develop in excess of 800 horsepower, transmitting torque via Lola’s seven-speed sequential gearbox.
The prior year’s driving team of Christian Fittipaldi and Cristiano da Matta returned for 2002, and they did not disappoint. The Brazilian da Matta, in particular—slight of build but huge of heart—turned in some of the year’s most scintillating performances in what proved to be a dominant season. The 1998 Indy Lights champion had arrived in CART in 1999 with ties to Toyota, initially racing for the Arciero Wells team before being lured away to Newman/Haas in 2001. When he made the switch, he brought the Toyota RV8G with him.
DA MATTA, CHASSIS NUMBER HU 20, AND THE CHAMPIONSHIP
Chassis number HU 20 is one of a small handful of such cars run by da Matta during the 2002 season, and it brought him three of his seven wins that year en route to the CART championship. Da Matta debuted in furious fashion with a victory in early March 2002 at the season-commencing Grand Prix of Monterrey (Mexico), which was captured in one of the sister cars. A racing log on file demonstrates that Cristiano began using HU 20 for practice laps at the Homestead-Miami Speedway in late March before the car was shipped to California for use in the Long Beach Grand Prix, where the Brazilian started in 2nd place only to finish 8th.
For the next four races the Lola was used as a practice chassis, logging laps at the Twin Ring Motegi in Japan, the Milwaukee Mile, Laguna Seca, and the Portland International Raceway, the latter two of which found da Matta victorious in one of the sister cars. This Lola returned to racing action for the next five contests, beginning with the Grand Prix of Chicago in late June, where da Matta qualified for a 3rd-place start before roaring to victory. A week later he repeated his success at the Molson Indy race in Toronto, Canada, qualifying for the pole position before speeding to the win.
The next three races brought less successful results as HU 20 earned pole position at the Grand Prix of Cleveland in mid-July only to finish 16th. A 12th-place finish at Vancouver two weeks later was followed by a 13th-place result at Mid-Ohio in mid-August. The car was temporarily relegated to practice laps for the next three contests, at Road America, Montreal, and the Shell Grand Prix of Denver, where da Matta respectively finished 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in one of the sister cars.
At the Rockingham 500 in the United Kingdom in mid-September, this B02/00 returned to action, with da Matta starting in 3rd place and advancing to a 2nd-place finish. Undoubtedly the car’s most triumphant moment transpired in early October at the Grand Prix of the Americas in Miami, where da Matta qualified for a 6th-place start and then maneuvered to the top of the field for a resounding victory. As the Brazilian’s seventh win of the season, the Miami victory gave him a commanding lead in drivers’ points, assuring him of the 2002 CART championship. In celebration, he changed his race number from #6 to #1, and the car continues to wear this championship livery today.
Riding out the season’s balance of three remaining races, da Matta drove this car to an 8th-place finish at the Honda Indy 300 at Surfers Paradise, Australia, before the car returned to practice lap duties at Fontana, California, a week later. At the season-concluding race in Mexico City, Cristiano qualified this Lola for a 12th-place start before advancing to an impressive podium finish in 2nd place. In the end, his 237 drivers’ points gave him a dominating 73-point lead over runner-up Bruno Junqueira, simultaneously securing Lola its first Constructors’ Championship.
Da Matta left Newman/Haas for Formula One after his 2002 championship season, and the following year chassis number HU 20 was driven in only one race, as future four-time CART champion and 2003 Rookie of the Year Sébastien Bourdais qualified for the pole position at the season-commencing Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (Florida) in early February 2003. After finishing a disappointing 11th, the car was briefly used as a practice car at Sebring before being retired.
Having delivered three victories and two 2nd-place finishes during the 2002 season, as well as hundreds of practice laps, this significant Lola was unquestionably one of the principal components in Cristiano da Matta’s CART championship season. Also driven by four-time CART champion Sébastien Bourdais, the powerfully specified B02/00 continues to benefit from 20 years of fastidious care within the Newman/Haas collection. Accompanied by workshop manuals, laptop and cable, a selection of maintenance spares, and TRD engine crate, it remains a resounding tribute to one of the most remarkable seasons in CART history—one of the series’ last great years before the dominance of the IRL, and the eventual reunification of Indy Car racing.