AD Group's sports prototype programme entered a new era
in late 2008, with confirmation on 6th November that the
team had signed a new two-year deal with the Japanese car
manufacturer Mazda for the supply of engines.
announcement (reported here)
brought to a close a six-year relationship with the iconic
British marque, MG, but heralded an exciting new phase for
what is already one of the longest-lasting partnerships
in motor racing.
personnel at the heart of the programme have remained essentially
the same since the red, white and blue Lola first took to
the track in November 2003. These include not only the two
drivers; Mike Newton, CEO of AD Group, and Thomas Erdos,
but also Team Manager Phil Barker and more than half the
engineers and mechanics in the squad today.
the faces have remained more or less constant, the cars
they've worked on have not. Evolution and development have
enabled Mike and Tommy to remain at the forefront of LMP2
competition, and the current steed in the stable is no exception.
on the latest Lola chassis, the RML Lola Mazda embodied
all the most up-to-date developments in aerodynamics,
composite technology and chassis design, but with the
added benefit of knowledge gleaned from six highly-successful
years in endurance motorsport. RML has all the technical
abilities and resources to carry out extensive independent
development, as befits a company that has designed and
created cars of its own from the ground up, such as
the Saleen S7, and has engineered major racing programmes
for leading manufacturers such as Chevrolet, Mercedes,
Vauxhall, Honda and Aston Martin.
expertise and understanding that brought two back-to-back
class victories in the Le Mans 24 Hours were applied
to the RML Lola Mazda, and many of the refinements
that gave the MGs their reliability and superlative handling
have been carried over to the new car. These included
specific components intended to help the car and its
drivers cope with endurance events of six, ten or twenty-four
hour duration, including reserve alternators and starter
motors, mechanical gearchange back-up to the sophisticated
steering-wheel mounted paddle-shift installation, advanced
on-board telemetry, live-feed video monitoring equipment,
and several instances of dual and tandem electronic and
other essential systems.
the old adage goes; to finish first, first one has to finish,
and the emphasis at RML is shared equally between speed
and performance on the one hand, and longevity and reliability
on the other.
current RML chassis first saw competition in September 2008,
badged as the last-ever MG racing car, the EX265C.
Only a few days after its initial roll-out at Snetterton,
the new car finished fourth in class in the Silverstone
1000 Kilometres. It would be the first and only time
that the EX265C would race in earnest. Six weeks later the
news was confirmed that RML's new coupé would move
forward into 2009 with a Mazda engine.
unit under the engine cover is a two-litre, turbocharged
four-cylinder unit developed jointly by Mazda and Advanced
Engine Research, AER. The immediate benefits of this unit
to RML were its size - it has similar proportions to the
former MG XP-21 unit, although it is even more compact -
and the fact that, unlike the XP-21, the Mazda MZR-R is
in the early stages of development. This means it offers
greater scope for refinement and enhanced performance over
the coming seasons. Furthermore, the AER support personnel
that have worked with RML since 2006 remain the same, perpetuating
an excellent working relationship.
first delivered to RML, the chassis was designated a B08/80.
However, concurrent with the installation of the new Mazda
engine, the car also benefited from the implementation of
the full 2009 specification aerodynamic package and revised
bodywork. This had been developed by Lola in Huntingdon
in response to changes in the racing regulations between
2008 and 2009, including the reduction in width of the rear
wing. As a result the car is now officially designated as
a Lola Mazda B09/86, the eighty-six being used by Lola to
identify any Mazda-powered chassis.
Mazda MZR-R 2.0 litre, turbocharged four-cylinder
500bhp through 1 x 40.6mm restrictor
excess of 200mph
semi-automatic sequential via paddle-shift
water radiators and oil coolers
piece carbon fibre monocoque
steel double wishbones
x 32mm front and rear, Carbon fibre discs, carbon
Magnesium Fronts 18"x12.5J, Rears 18"x13J
Fronts 300/650-18, Rears 310/710-18
4534mm; Width, 1990mm; Wheelbase, 2790mm
Minimum 825 kgs
80 litres, Oil (dry sump) 10 litres
specifications are subject to change and were correct for
the B09/86 as of April 2009