MG re-enters motorsports with the MG Lola EX257
MG has always enjoyed certain measures of racing success. It all began in 1922 when a 12 horsepower Cowley with lowered suspension won a gold medal in the Motor Cycling Club’s (MCC) Land’s End Trial. A variety of MGs have set motorsport milestones since then, including the T-series, a works-backed MGB and the MG Metro Turbo. Despite this rich history, it has been 36 years since MG last competed at the historic Le Mans event.
The flagship MG racing project car is the MG Lola EX257, which was built and designed by Lola Cars International with input from MG Rover Design Director Peter Stevens. Powered by an MG X Power two-liter, four-cylinder turbo unit, two EX257s were entered into the LMP675 class, the lightest qualification group at Le Mans.
Driven by an all-British team, the EX257 reached third overall within two hours of the start, and established the fastest wet weather lap, with a blistering third fastest time overall. Many cars, including MG Lola car 34, spun and crashed during the opening laps due to heavy rain. Car 34 suffered wing damage and later a puncture, which dropped it to 37th place.
The rain continued as the race settled into its stride. It was at this point that the MG Lola climbed to its best race position of third place within the first two hours. Eight hours in and with a third of the race behind it, the MG Lola pressed on, despite the persistent rain, which was causing electrical difficulties. Later, an oil leak initiated repairs. The MG Lola returned to face rising temperatures, which just after the 12-hour halfway time point, led to its retirement.
“We are immensely proud to have brought MG back to the Le Mans, and frankly it has been beyond our expectations,” said Rob Oldaker, managing director, MG Sport & Racing Limited. “This has always been our learning year, and now we are confident that we will have the right package to make MG even more successful next year.”