City firms in photo-finish to seal sale of Lola Cars

Motor racing enthusiast lawyers from Manches & Co and Berwin Leighton had four weeks to sell insolvent car manufacturer Lola Cars before the racing season came to an end last month.

Lola Cars has contracts to supply all the cars for Formula 3000 and the Indy Lights series but went into administration in May. It was sold to Martin Birrane, owner of Ireland's premier race circuit Mondello Park, for £2.9m just before the racing season finished at the end of September.

“Time was of the essence,” said Manches partner and motor racing enthusiast Andrew Visintin, who headed his firm's team advising the administrator, Peter Dunn, of accountancy firm Latham Crossley & Davis.

Visintin said that Lola's income would have dried up at the end of the season and it would have had to cease trading. Birrane, who approached Lola's administrator with an offer at the end of August, only wanted the business provided it was a going concern.

Berwin Leighton partner David Taylor, another motor racing fan, led the team advising Birrane. It had only four weeks to carry out due diligence.

The administrator had no time to ask Lola's creditors to vote on the sell-off. Instead, Manches applied to the court for a waiver of the vote. Mr Justice Lindsay fitted the case in a special extended High Court session during the court vacation period and gave approval just a week before the end of the season.