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Over the weekend of the Autosport 6 Hours of Silverstone there were a number of activities to celebrate the event's 35th anniversary and 20th running, and joining in the celebrations was 1980 race winner Desiré Wilson who had hoped to be reunited with the Lola-based de Cadenet LM4 in which she put in a mesmerising drive to reclaim a full lap on the field in the last 90 minutes to take victory.

The car's story was rather special, and was retold for us before the event by Desiré and her 'partner in crime' Alain de Cadenet, the only owner/designer/driver to have achieved such honours in sports car racing (who was sadly unable to come back from business commitments in the USA for this year's race).

The basic Lola chassis was evolved using Gordon Murray's expertise and a box of parts from the Brabham BT33. The engine was a cheap Cosworth which turned out to be the first Nicholson-tuned example, which started life in Bruce McLaren's 1968 Spa-winning F1 car and development was done during race and qualifying times as there was no testing budget.

The team came very close to winning the 1979 Silverstone race, with 'de Cad' having built a good lead when the brakes started going (a weak spot on the car throughout). Pitting, he lost rather more time than was hoped because his children had been playing in the pit garage and turned the spare parts box into a wendy-house, requiring rather a lot of sorting to put right.

In 1980 he bounced back and signed up Desiré to co-drive with him. Their first race at Monza resulted in victory when a downpour saw the heavier and more powerful Lancias and Porsches pit for wet tyres, while Desiré skittered around on slicks. At Silverstone de Cad built a lead in the first three hours but when Desiré fell foul of the brake problem at the Woodcote chicane they were penalised a lap. Having what she calls a 'monumental red mist' she drove every lap as though it were qualifying and managed to use the rorty Cosworth's power band to take advantage of the Porsche boys' epic turbo-lag to pass them all before muscling past Siggi Brun's Porsche 908 to win.

While Desiré remains the only woman to have won a race for contemporary F1 cars, this was undoubtedly her finest hour, and she was desperate to see LM4 again, which has just finished restoration at Lola. It was not to be, however, with the owner deciding to race it in Ireland - so we got Milan at MTR32 on the case! Here are some pics of the finished product:

And here's the car in the hands of its rightful owner - together with John Fitzpatrick, who had his full-size winning cars in place so missed out on a slot version! By the way, if anyone ever worries about racing their gorgeous hand-made MTR32 cars - don't! Being a bit of an idiot I sat on this one, and you would never be able to tell. Thank goodness for lexan bodies and Milan's fabulous construction!

This livery has now been added to the 1980 and 1981 Le Mans colour schemes available for the de Cadenet from MTR32's astonishing range. If you're thinking about getting one, deliberate no longer - just don't sit on it if it's at all possible!

Special thanks to Milan Tomasek for this little beauty, turned around against the odds in extraordinarily quick time - a big round of applause is due!
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