News : MG enters BTCC for 2012

Carole Nash Classic Insurance Specialists

A computer rendering of the 2012 BTCC MG6
A computer rendering of the 2012 BTCC MG6

MG Motor UK has announced it will enter the 2012 BTCC Series with a two-car team of MG6 GTs, which will run in the MG KX Momentum Racing team and piloted by double BTCC champion Jason Plato and BTCC rising star Andy Neate. The cars will be prepared by Triple Eight Race Engineering, one of the most successful constructors in touring car racing. The ‘dream team’s’  principal sponsors are Tesco Fuels, with their Momentum 99 brand, and the KX energy drink thereby completing an all-British line-up.

MG KX Momentum Racing will debut at Brands Hatch on April 1 when the 2012 Dunlop MSA BTCC championship season gets under way. The MG6 GT five-door fastback is the first all-new MG in 16 years. It is designed and engineered at MG Motor UK’s plant in Birmingham where final assembly also takes place.

Jason Plato is the most successful driver in BTCC racing history with 68 career wins and more fastest laps, pole and podium positions than any other driver in the history of the Championship. He is undoubtedly the face of British Touring Cars as well as being a well-known and respected TV presenter and newly appointed Director of the British Racing Drivers Club.

Plato said: ‘It’s really exciting to be involved in a brand-new all-British team and it’s just brilliant that the iconic name of MG will be back on the track.’

Jason Plato and Andy Neate
Jason Plato and Andy Neate

83 Comments

  1. What MG needs, a motorsport presence.
    Jason Plato is a bit of a known name now due to his other TV work, great to see him driving for them.
    Who is showing BTCC this year? ITV4? Any chance of ITV advertising sport other than football?

  2. Hopefully, this will go some way towards making up for the complete lack of marketing for the MG brand. At least people will be able to see the cars racing and hopefully if the results are good, want to buy them. Nice to see MG will have a decent driver behind the wheel, looking forward to the season now 🙂
     

  3. Now that is brilliant news!   Well done MG just need to bring on the advertising and I think you may have started something!

    Oh and I saw one on ther road the other day (albeit I think in may have been a demo).  All postive stuff!

  4. Very promising news – high profile sport with a credible driver, and just the sort of thing the MG brand should be doing. Too early to talk about snatching victory from the jaws of defeat, but this must make a difference to the profile of the product, and also provide a means to differentiate the MG6 from the Astras and Focuses by emphasising ‘sporty’

  5. A real coup fpr MG – at last.  Jason Plato is a proven champion and high profile too.  Hopefully he can do as well with the MG6 as he did with the Chevy Cruze.  It will add awareness of the car to a wider audience and potential customers too.

  6. Good news and ill tell you all something for nothing,i think BTCC is far far better to watch than F1-which ive not watched since the loss of senna.

  7. This is brilliant news, I really do feel things are starting to turn a corner a bit.  Let’s hoep they actually manage to do reasonably well – I think a win is a lot to ask for but to at least take part shows significant progress and commitment. 

  8. Frankie makes a good point.
    Sponsorship by the tabloid press (The Sun / AE) means that the MG6 might have a chance of a decent writeup / BTCC reporting, instead of the usual regurgitating of German manufacturers’ PR feed.

  9. From another site:

    Oh my… that livery… my eyes! It’ll scare the opposition out of the way.
    Didn’t see MG returning. I thought they were a Chinese company focused on Asian and devloping markets now, never realised that they were planning a UK comeback.
    At least the car itself looks nice. Kind of like a Golf, but not a Golf, but a hatchback…
    So already it’s raising awareness … excellent!

  10. This is great news!  The British Touring Car Championship is very popular, and the cars will get great exposure.  I attended 4 BTCC events last year and each one was brilliant.   Also, in addition to the on-track action, the manufacturers always have enclosures/displays of their showroom spec cars for fans to look around and sit in etc, so this is going to get more bums in seats to have a look at the cars.  I’ve not had the opportunity to see a new MG as yet, but will do at the races this year.

  11. @ Will M. I think Auto Express sponsored another BTCC team in recent years but I can’t remember who it was. I also seem to remember they backed X-Power Racing in the early noughties. 

  12. At Last!!!! Did they not look at Chevy and see what the exposure did for people wanting the pleasant looking Cruze? This and some related ads would be benificial.

  13. @ Frankie (#7)
    Auto Express / EVO sponser the whole championship – so Auto Express logos are seen on all the cars on the grid

  14. Also what a good way of  showcasing reliability and a commitment to the uk.And if they start winning they will start selling,as did seats.

  15. Some positive comments appearing on Pistonheads, but MG do need to follow up this news with a more overtly sporty model to broaden the appeal building on the BTCC decision and on MG’s sporty image.

  16. Next, the MG 6 will be the “reasonably priced car” in Top Gear.

    That really would be good PR, much as Top Gear is irksome. And I bet they’d get some impressive lap times. 

  17. It’s taken a while but it’s a decent step (maybe even a leap?!!) in the right direction.

    Need to start thinking about making some hot version (sort of VXR) of the standard car now to appeal to younger enthusiasts.

  18. Oooh, Jason Plato – aka ‘the flying whiner’.
     
    A dead horse flogging a dead horse is hardly a recipe for optimism.
     
    It also looks like from the text that it will be an NA car, not one of the turbos, unless I am missing something. This will mean more whining from the Plato regarding the fact he cant keep up.
     
    Does no one else here have memories of how MGR frittered money away on old rehashes in BTCC which sold slower than Nokia Windows Phone handsets? Now they’re doing the same thing with a rehash of a rehash in every sense of the word. 
    I’d like to say it’d make a difference but I’m not holding my breath.

  19. Way back when this return to BTCC was first rumoured, the rules clearly allowed MG’s production engines – i.e., the 1.8T TCi tech. That’s all they offer, that’s what it will be using.

    I find the comments about a “hot” one amusing. It’s already a near-160bhp Turbo.  Admittedly it’s got to crack 200bhp to be considered hot by modern standards, but it’s hardly tame. That’s more power than the original V8 SD1.

  20. Let’s put a really positive spin on this. Are you with me? Here we go…
    Now it becomes clear. 2011 was a learning year. They used it to get all the systems in place, to ship UK parts to China and part built cars from China for final assembly here, and to get the dealer network started and learn about the UK market. In short, to get ready for a big push.
    Now it starts for real. This year we will see a full range of engines (including an oil-burner – spit!) and transmissions, and the launch of MG3 and MG5. And who knows what else? And a credible push into domestic motorsport. With that lot in the pipeline they will be able to sign up more dealers and plan a decent advertising campaign. 
    Realistic or far-fetched? With SAIC behind them, I would tend to the former. We’ll soon see…

  21. Paul: Really? I thought they had to use engines from their production model line-up, so I am interested to know if they’ve got a 2 litre in the wings, are modding the TDi, or are doing something else.

  22. @Keith
     
    It’s a fair cop – you got there first and did it better.
     
    But my point was slightly different. I’m trying, perhaps tounge-in-cheek, to say that the very slow start of 2011 could have been part of the plan, not a shocking cock-up. Maybe, just maybe, they realised there was little gain from a big push when all they had was the petrol MG6. 
     
    Now they have a full range on the way this year things are very different. I hope.
     
    Steve

  23. About BTCC engines:  in the video on youtube JP briefly mentions a turbo engine, which suggests it’s the 1.8T TCi Tech
     

  24. A positive news item, and refreshing to see no pointless slagging off type comments

    COME ON MG…. FINGERS OUT BEFORE ALL YOUR DEALER NETWORK TAKES UP AN OFFER FROM SUBARU OR ALFA

  25. Fantastic news, what with this and the finance deal – time to get the advertising campaign back in full swing. How about some AROnline decals on that car, I mean Autoexpress – that’s the past, AROnline is where it’s at!

  26. Steve:

    Well, I may be wrong about the 1.8 TCi being used – though it’d really put the nail in the coffin on that whole “K-series liability” stuff, it appears that NGTC includes a complete drivetrain specification which – as the first article linked, but I hadn’t really picked up on (more amused by the “selection of engines from their own range” bit).

    http://www.btccpages.com/btcc/regs_ngtc.php

    2.0 Turbo 300bhp – as a standard “leveller” across the board.

    That’s not to say they can’t use the 1.8 TCi if they can tune it sufficiently, but it looks like the off-the-shelf drivetrain is a better and saner option.

     http://www.btcc.net/html/generalnews_detail.php?id=1818

    I am not sure what that’s based on, to be honest. The TOCA engine is a purchase/lease package – I am thinking it looks a bit Ford-esque, to me, there’s something of Mazda/Volvo/Ford in that cam cover in particular, but it could easily be wholly bespoke. Who knows! The Swindon company making ’em is very cagey, as these are “unbranded” engines. 

  27. This news combined with the AVIS deal and decent finance might mean that MG are finally getting serious. I would like to see a hot version of the 6 maybe called Vitesse with 200 bhp and a unique paint and trim combination.

  28. This is a good move. Essentially the cost to MG must be pretty small, they just supply some shells and licence the brand. It’s the team who do all the hard work and spend the big money.
    The fact the cars are so far removed from road cars is irrelevant. This should provide some much needed marketing boost and hopefully lead to more sales. The smaller MG3 will make a great 1 make series competitor in along the lines of the popular ZR series at club level.

  29. @ Richard Kilpatrick:

    The Rover SD1 Vitesse twin-plenum in showroom guise was reputed to have had an output of 210bp, not 190bhp of the standard fuel injected Vitesse.

    Also, in BTCC and European Touring Car Championships, the TWR works Rover Vitesse was producing nearer 300bhp.

  30. Thanks to Llyr Jones, post 38:
    http://www.mg.co.uk/motorsport/mg-kx-momentum.aspx#/?page=MOTORSPORT_THECAR
     
    That says “The engine is derived from a production engine supplied by MG”.
     
    A bit ambiguous that; is it an MG engine, or just one that they supply (i.e. they might have bought it from some-one else)?
    Perhaps one of the next generation engines. What’s it called – NLE?
     
    Still, 300 plus bhp! Could I shoe-horn one into my ZT? (only dreaming)

  31. David 3500, I chose my words carefully “the original V8 SD1.” – not “a V8 SD1” 😉 I am aware of how much power the various V8 Rovers enjoy 🙂

  32. The 45/ZS run in the BTCC used a 2.0 four cylinder K-series which IIRC was made by Judd so it’s probably not that difficult to stretch the 1800 block up to the class limit. Thing is, there is apparently a “spec” NGTC engine that you can use.

  33. Steve (Comment #45),

    I take your point about the slight ambiguity in the information as to the source of the engine in the NGTC version of the MG6 GT which was published on MG Motor UK Limited’s website today.

    However, AROnline understands that the new 2.0-litre NLE engine will be introduced in the facelifted, MY13 MG6 towards the end of this year and that a turbocharged version of the unit is also rumoured to be under development – if that turns out to be accurate, then MG Motor UK will be able to advertise the NLE engine as “race-proven” at launch…

  34. The BTCC is nowhere near as popular as it used to be, and 3rd rate coverage on an obscure ITV channel isn’t going to help it that much. Jason Potato is getting a bit long in the tooth as well, and when he does crap he always starts moaning, and is just about at the end of his racing career. Also if the car doesn’t perform on the track, it will make them an even bigger laughing stock than they already are. Too many people on here have rose tinted specs by the way!

    The BTCC hasn’t really helped Daewoo in disguise either. Sales still aren’t exactly brilliant, and the tie up with Auto LIAR, well, a magazine that isn’t even worth wiping your bum with, and Tesco fuel? Jesus, how much more crap can they get? It couldn’t be any worse if they had been sponsored by Poundland!

  35. I wish my former MG ZS had been available with a KV6 2 litre motor, rather than MGRover bringing out the ZS 110 /1.6.

    @53 Marty B – I notice the mock up BTCC car is wearing SUN decals too… any comments on that?

  36. Great to see things going in the right direction, its already mentioned and we all said they should have a sporty bhp model comparable with ZT/ZS, yes and call it a Vitesse. I would love to have one of those to replace my BRG Rover 800 Vitesse. Great News and that hope more it may carry on in putting MG firmly on the mao, Regards Mark.

  37. Tutt Tutt…Whatever next…someone trying to get from London to Cape Town in a Maestr…oh. Seriously, good luck MG. It’s what MG Rover should have done with the ZT – not the horrible ZS Hondamatic – the ZT would’ve been perfect. One in saloon and another in estate form like the T5 Volvo’s were. But no we got the 25 Streetlamp instead. Still, this will hopefully be a turning point. Had a test drive in one recently. I prefer my Lancer overall, but it’s a decent enough car. Looks a little like the orginal Laguna to me, but neat enough, though i thought the saloon a little too ungainly, but the hatch is good looking.

  38. Drivers’ titles
    2001 BTCC (Plato)
    2002 BTCC (Muller)
    2003 BTCC (Thompson)
    2004 BTCC (Muller)
    2007 BTCC (Giovanardi)
    2008 BTCC (Giovanardi)
    2011 BTCC Ind. (Nash)

    Teams’ titles
    2001 BTCC
    2002 BTCC
    2003 BTCC
    2004 BTCC
    2008 BTCC
    2009 BTCC
    2011 BTCC (Independent)

    Team 888 has had a great history in BTCC, as has MG and so has Plato, as for the comment about getting old, RUBBISH, may i suggest you go look at other BTCC champions and see how old they were when they won, Cleland, Hoy, Rydell, Giovanardi and so on, as for Sponsors, who could ask for better, the biggest retailer in Europe, the biggest Newspaper in the UK and one of the biggest motoring magazines so those that want to moan…….. go away

  39. Clive’s posted more on FB – the MG6 NGTC is running the TOCA engine, and a quick bit of digging reveals that it’s based on a Vauxhall unit.

    Interesting. Given SAIC’s relationship with GM… 

  40. I thought they would be using the “spec” engine, as it makes developing the rest of the car an easy task.
    @53
    3rd rate coverage? How can you improve on a race-by-race coverage of an entire meeting all afternoon? Including all the support series.
    And as for ITV4 being “obscure” every home with digital TV can receive it subscription free. With BBC splitting the F1 with sky sports this year BTCC could easily gain a lot of that FTA market.

  41. @61 Pity. That’s the problem with the new regulations – it might look like an MG6 but underneath it’s nothing like it, not even the engine.
     
    Bring back the good old days when TWR used a Volvo estate!

  42. Steve: One of the last plastic models I made was the Volvo 850 touring car estate! That and the Alfa 155… I think I started to lose interest when the Audi A4 was quite dominant, can’t remember how it performed, just got sick of looking at Audis.

  43. @61 – So there is now a link between Vauxhall and MG, maybe those MG Corsas and Isignias will hit the market sooner than we think!

  44. wow, I’m amazed at MartyB’s response. He seriously really doesn’t want the Longbridge guys to succeed. His vitriolic comments are now, since recent news, coming across as really quite immature and pointless yet he cares nothing for the teams of engineers and designers working there, and he shows total disrespect for those that are trying to work their magic. Sure the marketing has taken a battering which, in some ways, is justified. But what I find annoying is that he will find fault with anything that anyone in this company does no matter what talents they have or posititve it seems. If ever he sat across a current Longbridge engineer to let him hear what he says about their product, would he be so comfortable about slagging off something he has put his considerable talents into creating. Probably. Simply, your comments are truly disrespectful to those that design and build these cars and yes you may hate, we know you don’t like it but please don’t slag something off that you have neither driven or had any association with those that put it together. MG has a long way to go but it’ll get to where it needs to be.

    To the point: we know you hate MG Motor – but it is boring us.

  45. That’s the problem with the new regulations – it might look like an MG6 but underneath it’s nothing like it, not even the engine.”

    That’s no different to say WRC though, the cars you see on there might ‘look’ like a Focus, Subaru, Citroen C4 what ever, but they share very little with the car you can buy in the show room. They have lumps of body work hacked out of them, some are split down the middle and widened, engines are tuned almost beyond recognition. I mean you only have to look at the interiors on them, the main Dash moulding is about the only original bit left, even the instruments are changed.

     “But what I find annoying is that he will find fault with anything that anyone in this company does no matter what talents they have or posititve it seems.”

    Pretty much the definition of a troll. 

  46. Way back after the Phoenix take-over, I said to a friend that one of the first things I’d do if it was me in charge (aside from working on a replacement for the ageing 45) was get the company into the BTCC – he scoffed at the time, but the following year Anthony Reid was pounding a works ZS around and some brand exposure followed. Not sure if it was a case of win on Sunday, sell on Monday though.
    This is exactly what MG need to be doing if they want to sell cars here in the UK. I’m still not a fan of the MG6 and I’m still indifferent towards the MG3, but this is a great move and I hope that it will lead to MG UK being seen as more than a token operation. Greater things may follow!
     

  47. Definitely. Some motorsport presence whether BTCC or WRC (though the latter seems to not have the presence in had in the 90s when it helped Subaru sales). Not enough of a budget for F1 though. 🙂

  48. Will M – WRC coverage is rubbish – its hidden away on Dave and not exactly advertised. The BTCC is well advertsied by ITV – coverage is a bit hit and miss – the women interviewer does ask some of the silliest questions ever and they do not exactly link up everything very well, especially the directors who seem always to miss the best action! One of the reasons BTCC lost some of its audience was ITV’s orginal coverage was just a highlight programme, and the loss of manufacturers and serious competion at the front did not help. The action is better now, although the confusion between Turbo and no Turbo cars does help the flying whinger to get on his soap box. I think the current prob is that there are cars running which have been out of production for some time – Vectra’s, Integra.

  49. This is more positive news for MG and only help public awareness , it does not matter whether it sponsors Tesco petrol, Mr Plato has a bus pass or if it has a lawn mower engine under the bonnet, what matters is getting the brand in front of punters and this is another move toward acheiving that. The most important thing is providing jobs  for the Longbridge workers and increasing the dealer network with getting some big names on board to get paying bums in seats and encourage a UK build and design centre that German and Japanese find succesful over here.

  50. I think it keeps things interesting having an Integra in there.
    After they moved onto the Vectra they shipped the Cavalier out to the Australian touring cars.
    Remember they used to race Camaros? And the Sierra was really a Merkur?
    Remember late 90s Irish touring cars, an old Pug 309 won the championship!

  51. There you go,the name is back.Seen these cars at the Prodrive track in Solihull last year,all be it on the back of a trailer.The name was not that well covered up,neither were the cars.

  52. ” it does not matter whether it sponsors Tesco petrol”

    I agree if they’re paying the money to the team so what. I seem to remember one motor racing team or another used to have Durex plastered all over their vehicle.

  53. one good thing about the Tesco sponsorship deal is that they’re working on merchandise, team kit, T-shirts, baseball caps etc etc., and they’ll be looking to sell products around April.

    C’mon guys, the third biggest food retailer in the world, which (and I think this is no coincidence), has retail interests in China. The biggest retailer in the UK… Don’t be surprised if there’s going to be some heavy instore promotion on this.

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