MG Lola ready for the 24 hour challenge

MG returns to Le Mans this weekend to challenge in the 24-Heures du Mans endurance race. Following an encouraging period of development and spurred on by results at the official test last month the team are looking to put in a positive ...

MG returns to Le Mans this weekend to challenge in the 24-Heures du Mans endurance race. Following an encouraging period of development and spurred on by results at the official test last month the team are looking to put in a positive performance.

The two MG Lola EX257 sports cars, designed and built by Lola Cars International, are entered in the LMP675 class - the lightest qualification group. They are powered by the MG XPOWER 2-litre, four-cylinder turbo unit which has been developed by racing engine specialists Advanced Engine Research (AER). Chamberlain Motorsport have been responsible for the testing schedule and will strive for the smooth running of both sports cars during the race. To complete the truly British package, there is an all-British driver line up - Kevin McGarrity, Jonny Kane and Anthony Reid (car 26) and Mark Blundell, Julian Bailey and Warren Hughes (car 27).

The cars will be clearly visible around the circuit in their distinctive green and XPOWER grey. This year also sees the vibrant flames of Hot Wheels Racing with additional support from Mobil 1, Michelin, Ramada Jarvis, MG Rover UK Dealers and St Modwen property developers.

Following fantastic support in 2001 for MG's return to Le Mans after a 36 year absence Rob Oldaker, managing director of MG Sport & Racing is looking forward to returning. He said: "The atmosphere we experienced last year at the Le Mans circuit was quite amazing. Since then we've undergone an extensive development and testing programme and feel confident of improving on last year's outing in terms of results and endurance. This year we are certainly more prepared and really can't wait."

Frank Dernie, chief engineer, Lola Cars International added: "Obviously we're a lot more optimistic than last year as we have some decent testing under our belt - everything has been running reliably. It would be great if we can fulfil the ACO's ambition to get a 675 on the podium."

Having more time to familiarise themselves with the car, the MG XPOWER drivers are looking forward to this year's race. They commented:

Car 26

Kevin McGarrity
"I can't wait to get back to Le Mans as I know what to expect after last year, both on and off the circuit, and can prepare myself accordingly. I'll be able to concentrate on the job at hand because the car has been going well in recent tests and reliability doesn't appear to be an issue."

Jonny Kane
"I'm very upbeat about our chances at Le Mans this year. I think we have the overall package to produce and am hoping for an excellent result."

Anthony Reid
"I'm going into Le Mans with a high degree of confidence. Testing has gone well and compared to this time last year I am much more optimistic about completing the distance. This is a great car to drive - it's very fast."

Car 27

Mark Blundell
"We're coming to Le Mans off the back of some very encouraging testing. There has been a vast improvement in durability, engine performance and also tyre wear - thanks to Michelin. I'm expecting a good end result in qualifying along with a much stronger showing in the race than last year - I'd like to see us up amongst the 900 cars!"

Julian Bailey
"We're heading for Le Mans with a lot of enthusiasm and rightly so as we have shown our pace. Traffic on the circuit is always a problem in qualifying but I think that we'll be capable of running at the front. We'll be challenging!!"

Warren Hughes
"The mood in the team is very upbeat following our recent tests. We are so much more prepared than this time last year. I think we can do something really special."

Final qualifying for the race takes places on the evening of Thursday June 13 and the 24-Heures du Mans race commences at 1600hrs on Saturday June 15.

-mg-rover

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About this article
Series Le Mans
Drivers Kevin McGarrity , Mark Blundell , Julian Bailey , Anthony Reid , Jonny Kane , Warren Hughes , Frank Dernie