News : MG returns to Endurance Racing
Words: Clive Goldthorp Photographs: Simon Davies/Pegasus Photographics
MG Motor UK has today confirmed that the company will return to the forefront of international motor racing in partnership with Le Mans Series LMP2 class contenders Team RLR. The agreement, which follows hot on the heels of the brand new MG6 Magnette’s recent Dealer Launch, will enable MG Motor UK to capitalise on the marque’s famous sporting heritage by becoming an official sponsor of Lancashire-based Team RLR as the team competes in the prestigious Le Mans Series with the MG Lola EX265 sports prototype.
The deal will provide MG with international branding opportunities across the team’s car and other assets – including team kit, publicity material, website and social media channels. A two-way technical partnership will also be established under the terms of the agreement and MG’s customers and associates will be provided with the opportunity to get up close to the world’s highest level of Endurance Racing.
MG’s involvement in the 2011 Le Mans Series follows an outstanding record of success in Endurance Racing as a factory team between 2003 and 2008 – a success story which includes two class wins in the Le Mans 24 Hours in 2005 and 2006. Team RLR drivers Barry Gates, Rob Garofall and Simon Phillips have contested all three rounds of the Le Mans Series in 2011 so far – including Le Castellet (France), Spa Francorchamps (Belgium), and Imola (Italy). MG will have an official presence with Team RLR at the remaining races, which will take place at Silverstone (Great Britain) and Estoril (Portugal).
Nick Reynolds, Team RLR’s Team Principal, said: ‘We have one of the best prepared teams in the Le Mans Series and the support from MG will ensure that we can be even more competitive both on and off the track throughout the 2011 Le Mans Series season and beyond. The deal is a great fit for both parties and we are excited to be working closely with such a famous and much-loved car manufacturer. We look forward to repaying MG for its confidence in us by providing many exciting moments for the company and its huge number of followers in the races ahead.’
MG Motor UK’s Sales and Marketing Director, Guy Jones, said: ‘MG is delighted to be supporting Team RLR and the MG Lola EX265, which is such a famous car. The MG brand is synonymous with motor sport and, with the new MG6 GT and Magnette models now in the market place, we need to raise the profile of the brand. Supporting Team RLR with the MG Lola in the exciting, high-profile, Le Mans endurance series is a perfect fit for the brand and the team.’
Guy Jones told AROnline that Team RLR and the SMTC UK Engineers based at MG Birmingham had already identified several aspects of the MG Lola EX265 which would benefit from the latter’s input and specifically mentioned the area of powertrain development. However, when asked whether the partnership between MG Motor UK and Team RLR was likely to extend beyond the introduction of the Le Mans Series’ new Technical Regulations in 2014, Mr. Jones emphasised that the two companies were taking a step by step approach at the moment although both were aware of the potential to develop a long-term relationship.
Interestingly, AROnline understands that Team RLR Team Principal Nick Reynolds and his colleagues only had their first sight of SMTC UK’s impressive Engineering Office after the conclusion of today’s Media Event…
Any AROnline readers wishing to find out more about Team RLR and this year’s Le Mans Series campaign can visit the team’s website at this link.