Lola Cars International is to design, build and develop a sportscar to return famous British marque MG to the international motor racing arena. The MG Lola will compete at next year's 24-Hours of Le Mans, arguably the most well-known and toughest motor race of them all.

MG, owned by Rover Group Ltd, chose Lola to run the project following the leading British racecar manufacturer's impressive performance at the French classic earlier this year. One of the company's B2K/40 SR2 sportscars won its class, an incredible achievement with the car only launched in March, three months before the race.

Martin Birrane, Executive Chairman of Lola, says: "This is an historic day in the history of Lola Cars International Ltd. It's been my aim since taking over the company in 1997 to be involved with a major manufacturer and to be in partnership with a marque such as MG is an honour.

"I've been involved with sportscar racing and Le Mans as a driver and team owner for many years. It is a truly magnificent event and to see the famous MG badge racing around the circuit again is a very exciting prospect. Everyone at Lola is very proud to be associated with such a great British name. Hopefully, we can add to the legendary history of the MG name by giving it success at Le Mans."

The Lola SR2 that won the LMP675 class at Le Mans this year will be on display this weekend at Donington Park at the British round o f the FIA SportsRacing World Cup which has several MG races in support.

Lola currently competes around the world in sportscar racing with its SR2 and B2K/10 SR1 models, in championships such as the American Le Mans Series and the Grand American Road Racing Championship.

Lola is also a leading light in open-wheel racing. Lola racer Michael Andretti leads the 2000 CART FedEx Championship Series in America, and the company's cars have won four races with two of the top teams. Lola also supplies all the chassis for the FIA Formula 3000 Championship, a support race for Formula One, and the Indy Lights series, which supports CART.

Businessman and race circuit owner Martin Birrane took over Lola in 1997, immediately beginning a programme of major investment in both personnel and facilities.

Lola's Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, headquarters features the most sophisticated, commercially available wind tunnel in the world.

Lola's successes outside sportscar racing includes six CART Championship (formerly Indy Cars) titles, one of which was with Nigel Mansell in 1993, and three Indianapolis 500 victories.