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RML is Business of the Year

The undoubted highlight of RML’s 2009 Autosport Show was the company’s receipt of the Motorsport Industry Association’s prestigious Business Excellence Award for “Business of the Year 2008”.

The MIA Business Awards were launched in 1995 to recognise excellence at all levels within the motorsport industry. On the Thursday evening, January 8th, Ray Mallock, founder of RML, was presented with the accompanying glass trophy during the MIA Industry Awards Dinner, when over five hundred representatives from the international motorsport community were on hand to witness the event. “I’m delighted to receive this award on behalf of the RML workforce,” said Ray Mallock. “It is a reflection of the whole team’s achievements during the last year.”

What makes this particular award so special is that nominations are made by fellow members of the MIA, who then vote for the company that they feel has achieved something outstanding in their field during the course of the previous year. Some evidence of that achievement graced the MIA’s own stand in the form of one of the RML-engineered McLaren Mercedes SLR 722GTs.

Performance with Attitude

It requires some degree of nerve to take what is one of the world’s most exclusive (and expensive) supercars, strip out its innards, and then rebuild it as an out-and-out racecar, but Ray Mallock and his team of engineers had the skill and imagination to do just that. The result is one of the most awesome club racer yet created.

As if the 722GT in standard form was not enough, RML uprated some 400 components, boosting power from a very “ordinary” 626 bhp to almost 700bhp and 830Nm of torque, whilst simultaneously shaving some 300 kilos off the overall weight of the car. RML achieved this with some clever breathing on the 5.4-litre supercharged V8 and the removal or replacement of some of the Mercedes McLaren’s more weighty (or extravagant) components, arriving at an all-up lightweight 1390kg. The result is a car that is reputed to be capable of 0-60 in less than 3.3 seconds and a top speed of around 200 mph. Just 21 of the cars have been built exclusively for the SLR Club Trophy; a one-make European race series.

Behind the Barriers

A little over thirty feet away from the 722GT stood the RML AD Group’s MG Lola EX265 that raced at Le Mans last year. This final evolution of the original MG Lola chassis that first wowed spectators at La Sarthe in 2001 was on hand to help promote the work of the British Motorsport Marshals Club.

The MG has proudly carried the badge of the BMMC ever since it first raced in RML’s distinctive red, white and blue livery in 2003, and for very good reason. Mike Newton has a long and very close association with the club, having been a member since 1977, and even now will still take time out when he can to wear the orange overalls (now with AD sponsorship on the back!) and stand behind the barriers. Over the years he (and many other racing drivers) have had reason to be grateful for the voluntary contribution of so many dedicated and brave men and women who make motor racing not only safer, but possible, by attending race meetings and tests to see to the safety of drivers and spectators.

This support and dedication stretches back to the very dawn of serious, supervised motorsport, and this year sees the publication of the first book ever to be dedicated solely to the story of motorsport marshaling in the UK. Due to be published this spring, “50 Years of Motorsport Marshalling” by George Copeland is a worthy attempt to record the history of the BMMC from its founding in 1957 through to the present day. Running to nearly 300 pages, including a 16-page colour plate section and numerous other illustrations, the hardback book will retail for £20, plus carriage, and can be ordered from the BMMC by phoning 01904 431213. We hope to be reviewing a book here shortly.

Taking to the Skies

As well as the RML EX265, the stand also included an impressive display by AD Group that included an interactive presentation highlighting some of the video technology products manufactured by the group.


Part of this sequence included a replay of the on-board video from Mike Newton’s alarming accident during the 2008 Le Mans 24 Hours. The footage can now be viewed on YouTube . . . as well as here. Turn up the volume so that you can hear Mike’s comments after the incident. Calm, or what!

Breaking Ten Tons

Heading back through the stands towards the main Autosport stand, now relocated in distant Hall 17, took visitors past the MIA stand once again, where they could also gawp at the Eurofighter Typhoon-sourced EJ200 jet engine that will power the next British landspeed record attempt being prepared for Wing Commander Andy Green by project director Richard Noble. In 1997 Thrust SSC set the current record of 763 mph, but compared to the intended top-end of Bloodhound SSC, that’s pedestrian. Nothing less than 1000 miles an hour will satisfy the team now. Check out further details at

The trek through nine interest-packed halls from one end to the other, plus the Live Action arena, demanded several hours and probably two days to do the Show justice, but the final destination for anyone following RML’s fortunes would have been the main Autosport stand in Hall 19. Sharing a dominant position beside the main stage (with a race-soiled Aston Martin DBR9) was one of this season’s RML-prepared Chevrolet Cruze WTCC racecars carrying the name of Nicola Larini.

Cruzing in Style

Chevrolet Europe’s all-new Cruze premiered at the Paris Motor Show, and represents Chevrolet's ongoing presence in the World Touring Car Championship, in which the marque so far has won twelve world championship races. Testing of the new racecar has already started and, according to RML, is well on schedule. RML has retained the same driver line-up for 2009; Larini, Menu and Huff, and with the experience the team already has with the Chevrolet package, they should be looking forward to similar, if not enhanced, speed, reliability and success. The Chevrolet Cruze will make its competition debut at Curitiba in Brazil for the opening round of the 2009 WTCC, with a further eleven tracks to look forward to as the WTCC travels round the globe, from South and Central-America, through Africa and Europe to the Far-East.

In 2008 the Lacetti gave Chevrolet third in race for the team title, and also rewarded Rob Huff with third in the driver’s championship. Alain Menu finished ninth and Nicola Larini eleventh. 2009 sees the squad hungry for more wins, and perhaps even a shot at the title. Their chances have never looked better.

The painting (above) was created by innovative artist Ian Cook, who uses radio-controlled cars to paint his impressive and very appealing artwork. Ian was at Autosport International raising funds for Acorns at Home, a charity caring for sick children, while simultaneously demonstrating his unique talent.

Familiar Face, New Title

Autosport International was an opportunity for the new name in RML’s marketing department to make himself known to the motorsport industry, although Rupert Manwaring required little introduction. As if to confirm the company’s bold and determined outlook at a time when many teams and businesses are struggling to cope with a down-turned economy, RML has appointed one of motorsports big-hitters to the post of Sponsorship and Marketing Director.

For many years Rupert worked at the peak of motor racing; Formula 1. His name has been associated with a string of some of the biggest and most evocative names in motor racing, starting at the tender age of just 21 with Surtees F1. He moved from there to Brabham, where he worked alongside the legendary Herbie Bash for six years. A brief sojourn in the States ended when Rupert joined Team Lotus, ultimately becoming Team Manager in 1989.

A year later, and Rupert had been recruited by Tyrrell, where he spent four years as team manager before being appointed Head of Marketing in 1995. When the team was taken over by British American Tobacco, Rupert left, deciding instead to set his resources behind to Honda Racing Developments operation, which he managed until Harvey Postlethwaite's death. Plans to acquire Arrows came to nothing in the end, so Rupert teamed up with Paul Stoddart instead, and helped run Minardi until the minnows’ demise at the end of 2002.

That marked the end of Manwaring’s association with Formula 1, and he became Managing Director of Lola Cars. He guided the Huntingdon-based company through to the celebrations last year of its 50th Anniversary – an event that was also a significant event in RML’s 2008 season. Having witnessed RML’s success with the MG Lola from close quarters, including two class wins in the Le Mans 24 Hours, Rupert was well positioned to appreciate the company’s prospects. He joined RML in November, and is replaced at Lola by Robin Brundle.

A review of sportscar and GT interests at the Show will follow shortly.

More information on RML is available at
More information on Team Chevrolet is available at
RML Industry News
RML at Autosport International 2009
Issued January 12th 2009