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Autosport International 2007
MG EX264 Honoured. Issued January 12th 2007

RML MG EX264 Honoured at Autosport International

The RML MG Lola EX264 was in pole position at Autosport International (January 11th-14th 2007) for the show’s homage to the legend that is the Le Mans 24 Hours.

In a special area of Hall 20, a jaw-slacking collection of fabulous Le Mans cars had been assembled to celebrate 75 years of the French classic. Valued at over £20 million, the assembled machinery ranged from some of the very earliest examples, including a ‘blower’ Bentley from 1923, through Porsches and Jaguars of the awesome Group C era, to the very latest examples, such as the Audi R8 and RML’s MG EX264.

The significance of the MG’s position at the head of the grid - just in front of the 2004 Audi R8 of Team Veloqx, and opposite Bentley’s race-winning #7 from 2003 - was that RML’s EX264 remains a current competitor in sportscar racing. Looking immaculate, it was probably lost on many visitors that this car was unique amongst all those present in being the only one that not only still competes, but will also be tackling the Le Mans 24 Hours again in June for a remarkable third time.

Extended film highlights from all decades of the Le Mans 24 Hours were relayed via a massive screen, acting as an eye-catching backdrop to the display.

The MG proved to be a focal point for the three-driver squad that enjoyed such remarkable success in the MG last season, winning the LMP2 crown at Le Mans for RML for the second successive year. Andy Wallace joined up with Mike Newton and Thomas Erdos beside the car just ahead of their venture onto the main stage at the Show, where confirmation was made that Wallace will be co-driving the EX264 once again this June (see news item). Other members of RML, including Phil Barker, team manager, Adam Wiseberg, Motorsport Director of AD Holdings, and Michael Mallock, son of RML founder Ray Mallock, were all on hand to gather their thoughts before the announcement was made.

Afterwards we were able to speak with Ray, who explained a little of what has been happening to the MG during the last couple of months. “We ran the car at Snetterton in November, and that test effectively kicked off our 2007 programme,” he said. “We were trying out a variety of new components and systems, and the whole day proved very successful. Since then we’ve completed a lengthy programme of detailed development work, and that’s still on-going. We’ve gone through the entire car with a fine-toothed comb, looking at any weaknesses that were revealed during the course of last season, and addressing those one by one. We’ve also been investigating those areas where we felt there was room to improve performance and reliability. Our focus is on Le Mans, of course, and this will be the third year that we have run the EX264. In many ways, that puts us in a strong position, since we now know the systems inside out and we have tremendous confidence in the car. The development work we’ve done may not be evident on the surface, but underneath, we’ve made a lot of improvements.”

This came on the same day that chassis manufacturer Lola announced a new tie-in with Mazda, bringing the Mazdaspeed name back to sportscar racing in the form of an AER developed Mazda four-cylinder engine and B-K Motorsports.

Using the newly designated Lola B07/40 chassis, the car will compete in the American Le Mans Series. Of some significance to RML, however, Lola’s Sam Smith confirmed that the Huntingdon-based sportscar manufacturer has spent “many, many hours in the windtunnel” in an effort to hone the car’s aerodynamics, and that these enhancements will be available to owners of existing Lola B/40 chassis in the form of an aero-upgrade package. “We’re confident that the package could offer benefits of, say, two seconds around a circuit like Le Mans,” he suggested.

The Le Mans theme at this year’s Autosport International culminated in a gala dinner at the Birmingham Metropole Hotel on the Saturday evening, to which many of the sport’s great names had been invited, including five-times Le Mans winner Derek Bell, and Scotland’s Allan McNish.

High resolution images from the Autosport Show are available from this gallery.