Ray Mallock Limited (RML) demonstrated the race winning potential of its MG EX257 LMP675 prototype, with a strong showing at the well supported inaugural Le Mans 1000km race over the weekend.
The MG EX257, which had been the subject of extensive development work by the team, made its presence felt from its arrival in France. During qualifying the car secured an impressive class pole and set fourth fastest time overall. The MG's time was almost half a second quicker than its normally aspirated Judd powered sister car the Intersport Lola - which had taken a class victory at Petit Le Mans last month.
Behind the wheel of the MG was the 2003 FIA GT pairing of Brazilian Thomas Erdos and Mike Newton - also the car's owner - who were joined by McLaren development driver Chris Goodwin.
In the race proper, the MG took a few laps to settle down in the very wet conditions at the start, particularly without the advantage of the traction control fitted to some of the front runners. A spin on the first lap dropped the car from 4th to 20th but Erdos soon started to climb back up the leader board. An unscheduled stop early on to deal with a 'long' brake pedal then cost almost five laps.
The MG rejoined at the back of the field, but swiftly clawed its way back, consistently lapping in the top three overall and fastest in class. The car had just retaken third position in class, still running on wets on a drying track, when a totally unexpected transmission failure sidelined the car for good.
Phil Barker, Operations Director at RML and Team Manager for the MG Project said: "We are delighted with the way the car performed over the weekend and in the end we were extremely unlucky not to finish at least in the top three in class. What was really encouraging despite our misfortunes was the way that the lap time for the MG fell throughout testing and the official qualifying period. There is certainly much more to come, and we will be hoping to build on the data we've collected from this outing to good effect the next time we run the MG and, hopefully, translate this into a concrete result."