MG Sport & Racing improving the Breed

With a motor sport heritage dating back to 1924 the MG marque was an obvious choice in 2000 to spearhead an ambitious competition programme to promote the newly formed MG Rover Group. Four years on, the company has further enhanced its sporting and engineering reputation with successes in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS), British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) and World Championship Rallies (WRC) and at the same time has introduced a world-class high performance sports car – the MG XPOWER SV.

MG EX 257-Lolas running in the lightweight LMP 675 prototype class made an immediate impact at Le Mans , not least for their striking team colours of XPOWER grey and fluorescent green. Very fast right from the off, the nimble MG’s were progressively developed until realising their full potential with an emphatic win in the 2003 American Le Mans Series LMP 675 championship. The BTCC is one of the world’s toughest and most competitive race series, yet MG Sport & Racing, despite having only a modest budget, has enjoyed race wins and fastest laps each season since first entering the championship in 2001, confirming that the MG ZS is one of the finest sporting saloons available.

In rallying, the MG ZR made the news at international level with a fine first and second in the standard showroom GpN class in the 2003 Wales Rally GB, the UK round of the World Rally Championship (WRC). Completing such a gruelling rally at all was a big achievement when most of the cars cost twenty times as much as the little ZR and half the field failed to finish.

At grass roots level, the ZR is the mainstay of the innovative MG Rally Scholarship. The scheme is a joint venture between MG Rover dealers, local newspapers and MG Sport & Racing to find a future British Rally Champion. In this first year, six Midlands newspapers ran competitions inviting 18-25 year olds with no previous motor sport experience to win a drive in a works MG rally car. Twenty winners from each area were selected from the hundreds of entries to spend a day at Silverstone Rally School driving MG ZR rally cars with guidance from professional rally instructors. After a series of tests, of fitness, communication, co-ordination and, of course, driving skills, six winners were chosen to compete in an eight round rally championship to compete for the really big prize, a drive in a pukka works rally MG ZR as driven by former British Champion Gwyndaf Evans.

As might be expected from its recent history, MG sport & Racing,s target for 2004 and beyond is altogether more ambitious. The company now intends to translate its many sporting achievements into commercial success with its MG XPOWER brand, whilst still maintaining a varied and exciting competition programme. Leading the way in this latest venture is the jewel in its crown, the “race car for the road”, the stunning MG XPOWER SV. The 4.6-litre, 320hp V8 engined sports car featuring a unique carbon fibre body bonded to a race-car inspired chassis was introduced in November last year and a new, higher powered version, the 5.0-litre SV-R, takes pride of place on the MG XPOWER stand at the Birmingham Motor Show at the NEC.

MG Sport & Racing is also expanding the MG XPOWER brand to include performance and customising parts, allowing thousands of the brand’s loyal supporters the chance to personalise their MG’s. A new range of merchandise and MG XPOWER versions of the mainstream MG cars, starting with the MG ZR-X, first revealed to wide acclaim at the Autosport International in January and shown again at the NEC in an evolved form is further proof that competition improves the breed and that MG is leading the way.

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Geneva 2003

How Tim King sees “MG SPORT & RACING” at Geneva 2004!

With a motor sport heritage dating back to 1924 the MG marque was an obvious choice in 2000 to spearhead an ambitious competition programme, through a separate company created as MG Sport & Racing. Three years on, the company has achieved sporting and engineering reputation with successes in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS), British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) and World Championship Rallies (WRC) and at the same time introduced a world-class high performance sports car – the MG XPOWER SV.

MG EX 257-Lolas running in the lightweight LMP 675 prototype class made an immediate impact at Le Mans, not least for their striking team colours of XPOWER Grey/fluorescent green. Continual development led to an emphatic win last year in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) 675 championship.

In the BTCC, one of the world’s most competitive race series, MG Sport & Racing has enjoyed race wins and fastest laps each season since first entering the championship, proving the MG ZS to be a race-winner and a good all-round performer.

In rallying, the MG ZR made the news at international level with a brilliant first and second place in the standard showroom GpN class in the 2003 Wales Rally GB, the UK round of the World Rally Championship (WRC). Completing such a gruelling rally at all was a big achievement when half the field failed to finish.

At grass roots level, the ZR is the mainstay of the innovative MG Rally Scholarship. The scheme is a joint venture between MG Rover dealers, local newspapers and MG Sport & Racing to find the next British Rally Champion.

First there is a competition in the paper, inviting 18-25 year olds to win a drive in a rally car, from which twenty winners are selected to spend a day at Silverstone Rally School where they drive MG ZR rally cars with guidance from professional rally instructors. After a series of tests, of fitness, communication and co-ordination skills, an eventual winner is chosen. He or she competes in a series of eight rallies and by the end of the season an overall Champion wins a drive in a works rally MG ZR.

As might be expected from its recent history, MG sport & Racing’s target for 2004 and beyond is altogether more ambitious. The team now intends to translate its many sporting achievements into commercial success through its MG XPOWER brand, while still maintaining a varied and exciting competition programme.

The “jewel in the crown” to emerge from the productive MG Sport & Racing facility is the “race car for the road”, the stunning MG XPOWER SV.

The 4.6-litre, 320hp V8 engined sports car featuring a unique carbon fibre body bonded to a race-car inspired chassis was recently introduced.

A new, higher powered version, the SV-R, is announced this week at Geneva 2004.

MG Sport & Racing is expanding the MG XPOWER brand to include performance and competition parts, allowing thousands of the brand’s loyal supporters the chance to personalise their MGs. A new range of merchandise and XPOWER versions of the mainstream vehicles, starting with the MG ZR-X concept car, were shown to wide acclaim at the Autosport International Racing Car Show at Birmingham’s NEC in January 2004. It is further proof that competing with MG Sport & Racing improves the breed.

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The “Ultimate” MGF by Autocar

In Autocar edition published on the 13 May 2001. They mention that an MG spokesman says: “that the Extreme models will not go on sale, being solely reserved for promotional activities.” Topping the eXtreme range will be a 500bhp version of the ZT which will be capable of 170mph and 60mph in less than 5 seconds.

The eXtreme MGF picturestaken at Le Mans (16 June 2001) and Brands Hatch (7 October 2001)
The MGF will be given a big boost with a blown 230bhp (turbo or supercharged) model due to hit showrooms in a year’s time. Insiders talk of outputs between 225 and 230 bhp and say the car will adopt a bodykit inspired by the 500 bhp race-engine MGF Extreme unveiled at June 2001 Le Mans. Engineers are working on a steel suspension – like on the Extreme – to replace the Hydragas suspension used on mainstream MGFs.

Autocars sources at Longbridge talk of turning the MGF into a full range from the 110bhp 1.6 to the 230bhp “Ultimate” to challenge everything from the cheap MX5 to the Porsche Boxster. And they hint there may be an even more powerful version in the pipeline, with talk of 300 bhp-plus being achievable from a tuned K-series engine.

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