|Pictured is the upgraded, new look, MG Lola EX2 65C racecar|
The external and internal changes including, most notably, a closed-cockpit are all designed to help the 2007 LMP2 class winners remain competitive, and at the forefront of racecar development, so they are in the best possible position to challenge for the title in 2009.
In the six-hour endurance race, that was punctuated by dramatic incidents and thrilling nose-to-tail racing, the much-admired new coupé, driven by AD Group CEO Mike Newton and Brazilian, Thomas Erdos, performed brilliantly, rewarding the team's hard work and meticulous preparation with a reliable and extremely competitive performance.
The strong backing of AD Group to make the enhanced MG Lola EX265C a reality, in conjunction with RML and car designers Lola, is a reflection of the company's commitment to the successful application of new technology in all areas of its operations.
Said Mike Newton, commenting on the MG Lola EX265C's performance: "The guys have done an amazing job to put this car together so quickly, and to achieve a trouble-free run is exceptional." The team had always approached the Silverstone 1000 Kilometres as an extended, if very public, test session, but poor weather on the previous two days had severely curtailed their on-track development. "When you compare this to where we might have been, after the events of the last couple of days, this has got to be an excellent result," he added.
|Pictured is the racecar before the modifications|
The only issue the team encountered during the course of the race was a rise in engine temperature. "The engine was running a little too hot," said Thomas Erdos, who drove the opening two stints in the MG Lola, and was first to detect the problem. "We were able to de-tune it enough at the next pitstop to ensure it would run the distance, but it meant we were perhaps forty or fifty horsepower down for most of the race. In that respect, fourth is a great result."
Despite the reduction in power, which restricted the car's straight-line speed, the lap times remained competitive throughout - a testament to the aerodynamic work carried out by Lola Cars of Huntingdon, designers of the car. "I was very pleased with the pace," admitted Mike Newton. "Even after the de-tune, our times were still very fair." Before climbing into the cockpit for his first stint, Mike had only managed five laps in the car, so came to the coupé very raw. He admits to missing the ‘wind-in-your-hair' experience of the open-topped car, but his first lap proved to be four seconds faster than he'd ever managed before.
"All in all, a very pleasing first race. We made no unscheduled stops, the car ran cleanly, the build was clearly excellent"
Phil Barker, Team Manager for RML, had praise for his crew of engineers and mechanics. "To have got to the chequered flag in a six-hour race with a newly-built car is an achievement that I'm very pleased with. All credit to the guys, they did a tremendous job. It's a great start to the life of the new car, and a good basis from which we can look forward to next year."
The team now has several months of development work ahead of them in order to prepare the EX265C for a full and very competitive season in 2009.