MG Lola EX257 unveiled in Birmingham

The dramatic MG Lola EX257 sportscar was unveiled in Birmingham yesterday (26 April) by four of the six British drivers who will be spearheading MG's attack at the Le Mans 24 Hours race in June. Mark Blundell, Julian Bailey, Jonny Kane and Kevin...

The dramatic MG Lola EX257 sportscar was unveiled in Birmingham yesterday (26 April) by four of the six British drivers who will be spearheading MG's attack at the Le Mans 24 Hours race in June.

Mark Blundell, Julian Bailey, Jonny Kane and Kevin McGarrity revealed the 2001 Le Mans challenger alongside the MG ZR EX258 rally car, while their team-mates Anthony Reid and Warren Hughes took the cover off the MG ZS EX259 touring car. Lola played an integral part in the design of the two racecars.

The experience gleaned from Lola's historic class win at Le Mans last year, coupled with information learned from a season's racing with the company's radical top-category B2K/10 SR1 sportscar, has been put to good use in the design of the all-new MG Lola Le Mans entry. The car will be powered by a new AER-developed two-litre turbo charged MG Rover engine.

Meeting the 675kg weight limit permitted by the LMP675 class regulations has been a key challenge for the Lola designers and many F1 technologies have been incorporated to enhance the stability and structure of the car. As Frank Dernie, Chief Engineer of Lola Cars International, points out, reliability and endurance are key at Le Mans: "It's a real challenge to build such a lightweight machine that's capable of racing non-stop for 24 hours. It's a bit like asking a Grand Prix car to complete an entire F1 season during a single weekend."

The car has already undergone two major tests and the rigorous schedule will continue right up to the race itself, 16-17 June. The car is being put through its paces today (Friday) at Snetterton and will make its debut at Le Mans during official pre-testing over the weekend of 5-6 May.

"I'm very impressed with the car. I'm not making any predictions but I think we are going to surprise a few people," said former Le Mans winner Mark Blundell, who had his maiden run in the MG Lola at the Albacete test in Spain last week.

"This is the most exciting project that Lola has undertaken since I've been here. I don't think anyone has ever produced an LMP675 car at this level, and I'm confident that a car of this class is capable of winning at Le Mans. In theory we should have a better power to weight ratio then our larger engined rivals. However, we will have to maximise our potential if we are to challenge the faster cars on a circuit like Le Mans," commented Frank Dernie.

"This is the most technically advanced sportscar Lola has ever designed and built," said David Bowes, Managing Director, Lola Cars International. "I'm confident that it will cause quite a stir."

-Lola Cars

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