MG Lola EX257 #HU MG-LMP003 ex Le Mans 2001/2
This is the ex-works MG Lola EX257 that raced at Le Mans in 2001 (#33) and 2002 (#27) with Mark Blundell, Julian Bailey and Kevin McGarrity.
The car has just been re-commissioned at RML, it is having it's engine updated, refreshed and dynoed by AER and a new fuel cell is due to be fitted.
It will be delivered totally ready to go racing.
Full professional race support & logistics are also available for the new owner, please enquire.
Spares package available by negotiation.
Please call Mike Walters on + 44 (0) 7970 736644 for more information and to arrange a viewing.
Leased briefly to Intersport Racing for competition in the ALMS (2003), it was purchased from MG Cars in 2007 and fully rebuilt. It has not raced since.
First seen in 2001, the MG EX257 was developed in partnership with Lola and Advanced Engine Research (AER) during MG’s final years as a British motor manufacturer. It was seen as the vehicle to bring the iconic octagonal MG badge back to sporting prominence, and in that, it succeeded. When the works team arrived at Le Mans in June of that year, the two acid-green and grey prototypes caused quite a sensation. At the time the ACO had split the prototype classes into two. The top LMP900 cars, like the Audi R8, were fast and powerful, but heavy. Against these, the cars in the LMP675 category employed much smaller, two-litre turbocharged engines, yet were lighter and more agile. In theory, both classes could challenge for victory at Le Mans, and having never achieved an outright win in the 24 Hours, this was the target MG aimed for.
The works team, managed by Hugh Chamberlain, included an impressive all-British driver line-up. Car #33 was shared by Mark Blundell, Julian Bailey and Kevin McGarrity (chassis MG-LMP003), while the drivers in car #34 (chassis MG-LMP002) were Anthony Reid, Warren Hughes and Jonny Kane. In qualifying for the 2001 race, the #34 had a narrow edge, and the two MGs stood first and second in class, with a best of 3:40.243 from Anthony Reid. Although this equated to just 14th and 17th overall, the MGs had demonstrated impressive pace, especially through the corners, and Mark Blundell exploited this during the rain-affected first hours of the race to move through to 3rd overall. Reid, caught out by the weather, clipped a rear wing and pitted for repairs. Ultimately, both cars retired. The #34 dropped out after just 30 laps with a broken exhaust, but the #33 led the class for 8 hours, consistently inside the top ten overall, before electrical problems (brought on by torrential rain) and ultimately an oil leak ended the charge.
In America, Intersport and KnightHawk successfully ran customer EX257s, and in the 2002 ALMS season took first and second in LMP675, and with a late-starting Dyson entry finishing fifth. Suitable encouraged, MG returned to Le Mans in June – the Hot Wheels liveried cars stronger and fitter, and with the same squad. Reid, Hughes and Kane were in the #26 car, while Blundell, Bailey and McGarrity shared the #27.
This year the positions were reversed. Blundell qualified the #27 on class pole, 6th overall, with a time of 3:33.254. After a late engine change, Kane qualified the #26 second in LMP675 with a best of 3:36.694. Once again, the two MGs sprinted off like hares in the race, comfortably leading the class, and running well inside the top ten. The first to retire was the #26, pulling off on lap 129, just after midnight, with a gearbox problem. The #27 ran on strongly into the early hours of Sunday morning before the engine gave way.
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