and AD Group have a relationship stretching back
many years. The two organisations first started
working together in 2003, and have been a racing
partnership ever since.
2003 and 2004 Mike Newton and Thomas Erdos campaigned
an RML-designed Saleen S7-R in the FIA GT Championship.
During the first year the car (one of a pair owned
by Mike Newton) raced under the Graham Nash Motorsport
banner, but was then brought under the management
of RML for the 2004 season.
the same time, RML AD Group embarked upon the
sports prototype programme that continues to this
day. In late 2003 the distinctive red, white and
blue livery appeared for the first time, on an
ex-works MG Lola EX257 entered into the inaugural
Le Mans Endurance Series 1000 Kilometre event
at Le Mans. The car was co-driven by Mike, Tommy
and regular RML test and development driver Chris
in LMP1, the EX257 tackled a full LMES season
in 2004, typically with Mike and Tommy sharing
the driving but joined at Le Mans for the 24 Hours
by Nathan Kinch, and in selected other races by
Portuguese driver Miguel Ramos.
been designed for the defunct LMP675 category,
the EX257 was unable to compete effectively against
the bespoke LMP1 machines of the day. Rather than
battle on against the odds, RML elected to move
into LMP2, and in conjunction with Lola Cars of
Huntingdon, launched the MG Lola EX264 in 2005.
The car was a direct development of the EX257,
and shared many of the older car's characteristics,
but was powered by a normally-aspirated Judd V8.
In this guise, Mike and Tommy enjoyed a far more
successful season, not only ending the year as
runners-up in the LMES, but also taking a class
win in the Le Mans 24 Hours, with Warren Hughes
as third driver.
of the EX264 continued into 2006, when the MG
reverted to a turbocharged two-litre AER powerplant.
The result was the same! Once more, Mike and Tommy
ended the year as Le Mans Series bridesmaids in
LMP2, missing the title by a single point (for
the second year running) but with the compensation
of clinching a back-to-back class win in the Le
Mans 24 Hours, this time partnered by Andy Wallace
formula of team, driver and chassis clearly
worked, and having been so close to the title
for the previous two seasons, Mike and Tommy
were delighted to clinch the Le Mans Series
LMP2 crown in 2007. Regrettably, despite a
class-leading performance, the hat-trick at
Le Mans eluded them, and the car retired with
engine failure, possibly the long-term result
of an earlier accident.
three years the EX264 had been "the car to
beat" in LMP2; consistently one of the quickest
in the class, claiming pole after pole, and challenging
for top honours in almost every race it contested.
However, the competition was also rising to the
challenge, and the MG was re-homologated for the
2008 season as the MG Lola EX265. Powered by an
uprated XP-21 twin-turbo engine, developed from
the original XP-21 unit by AER, the team returned
to the Le Mans Series and also the Le Mans 24
Hours. Although much more competitive than before,
the EX265 was no match for the new Porsche RS
Spyders. Despite sterling efforts by all three
drivers, retirement came early once more at Le
Mans, and a brace of fourth place finishes was
the best that Mike and Tommy could achieve in
the Le Mans Series. Something had to change .
to the surprise of everyone in the industry,
that change came before the end of the season,
when RML introduced a new Lola coupé chassis
for the final round of the Le Mans Series
at Silverstone. Still powered by the XP-21
engine, and designated the MG EX265c, the
coupé became, in effect,
the final new race car to bear the iconic MG
out of the box and with the minimum of testing,
the car ran faultlessly, securing another fourth-placed
finish. It marked the end of an era for RML,
and for MG. Within days of the race RML AD
Group announced a deal with Mazda for the supply
of engines, and with that, the relationship
with MG came to an end.
car was rebuilt totally over the winter of
2008/2009 and, in order to comply with the
new-for-2009 technical regulations, was fitted
with the latest aero kit from Lola Cars and
redesignated the Lola Mazda B09/96. The car
ran in that configuration through 2009, but
the engine proved delicate and susceptible
to failure. The team garnered little success,
and at the tail-end of 2009 changed to a naturally-aspirated
Honda Performance Development V8. The move
was fully justified and amply rewarded when
Mike, Tommy and Ben took the 2010 LMP2 Le Mans
the famous octagonal logo no longer appears
on the racecars regularly campaigned by RML
AD Group, the six year association with MG
will remain for ever as a high point in the
team's heritage. The original MG-Lola website
has been retained, and continues to be
updated with new information as and when appropriate.
In 2010, the MG Lola EX265 was campaigned again
by Team RLR, and coverage of their races is
included. To re-discover those RML years and
examine the archives of past glories and successes,
please visit the website by clicking this link.