SOME of us Rover fans became excited when rumours begain to circulate that MGR was to compete in the DTM race car series. When drawings of the proposed MGR-Zytek car appeared on the DTM website appeared, we were given a tantalising glimpse of a Rover-badged return to front line motorsport. Yes, you heard right… Rover.
Images of previous Rover glories in the European Touring Car Championship came springing to mind – after all, being something of an SD1 fan, nothing gave me greater pleasure during the Eighties than seeing the SD1 sock it to the Germans in style. Those V8s sounded wonderful, and when allied to the beautiful SD1 bodyshell, the car became arguably one of the classic touring cars of all time…
In recent years, the sporting side of MG Rover has been represented ably by the MG marque, with creditable efforts at Le Mans, BTCC and in junior rallying giving the marque a healthy of sporting kudos. So, logically, an entry into the DTM series should be quite rightly handled by MG. It’s logical. It’s correct.
So why do I feel sad because MGR didn’t stick to the original DTM-Rover scheme?
I suppose I just wanted to see Rover pick up some attention. Sales of Longship cars are being caught by their Octagon siblings; Rover’s name is being dragged through the mud – and as far as I can see, there’s little chance of the situation being remedied in the near future. OK, motorsport involvement doesn’t guarantee increased sales – sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but there’s one thing we can say: Rover in motorsport would have shown MGR cares.
Still, it’s good to see involvement in DTM – it may not be F1, but it is a prestigious championship – and if MG springs a miracle and beats Audi or Mercedes-Benz at their own game, perhaps German buyers will finally realise the company still exists and is capable of making good cars.
Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...
Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.