in association with AD Group, entered the international
sportscar arena in late 2003 with an ex-works
MG Lola EX257 in the inaugural race of what was
then called the Le Mans Endurance Series, or LMES.
the next five years the team remained loyal to
the MG brand, actively developing the chassis
in partnership with Lola Cars of Huntingdon, and
winning the LMP2 class in the Le Mans 24 Hours
two years in a row; 2005 and 2006. Throughout
this period the regular driver pairing of Thomas
Erdos and Mike Newton established a reputation
as front-runners in LMP2 prototype racing, adding
the 2007 Le Mans Series drivers' title to their
haul of race wins and lap records.
the same time, the cars they drove were enhanced
and developed, and underwent a series of name-changes
too. The AER-engined MG EX257 was replaced by
the EX264, initially with Judd V8 power (2005),
and then reverting to the turbocharged two-litre
AER engine for the 2006 season. Further development
allowed the EX264 to complete a second season
in 2007, which netted the Le Mans Series LMP2
titles not only for the drivers individually but
also the team as a whole. A comprehensive upgrade
for 2008, including updated MG XP-21 engine, resulted
in re-homologation of the chassis as the MG EX265.
This culminated in the MG marque's last-ever appearance
with RML AD Group when the MG EX265C coupé
made its debut (and, it transpired, one-and-only
race) at Silverstone in September 2008.
the MG-derived engine reaching the end of its
development potential, and with no sign of the
promised support coming from MG's new owners in
China, a line was drawn under what had been a
remarkable period of success for RML AD Group
in endurance racing.
signing of a new engine and technical support
deal with Mazda at the end of 2008 heralded
a new era, and in February 2009 the Lola Mazda
Coupé took to the track for the first time
at Snetterton. Regrettably, the unit's early
promise was never truly realised, and the 2009
season was punctuated by a succession of disappointing
engine failures that denied the team any degree
of success. Despite this, the car was consistently
on the pace, and amongst the quickest in LMP2,
but never dependable enough to reward the team's
efforts. Ironically, for the final round of
the 2009 season at Silverstone, the decision
was taken to refit the old MG XP-21 engine,
and Mike and Tommy duly recorded their
best result of the year, claiming a fittingly
emotional swansong podium for what was, in
effect, a briefly reborn MG EX265c.
February 2010 RML AD Group revealed a new engine
deal with Honda Performance Development Inc
(HPD) that saw the team's Lola B08/80 Coupé
fitted with the naturally-aspirated HPD LM-V8.
The combination of well-sorted Lola chassis -
a product hugely familiar to the RML engineers
and much cherished - and a powerful, reliable
and equally well-designed engine gave RML AD
Group a solid foundation for a return to form.
the regular driver line-up for the start of
the 2010 season, with former Stig Ben
Collins seeing out the second half of the year.
RML's Lola HPD proved to be fast and reliable.
It duly took third in the LMP2 class at Le
Mans in June, and then wrapped up 2010 by securing
the LMP2 team and drivers' titles for Mike
and Tommy in the Le Mans Series.
winning races and titles, 2010 revealed
a raw truth in the fact that another chassis;
the HPD ARX, was undeniably quicker. Fitted
with the same engine, the HPD
consistently outqualified RML's coupé,
and the decision was taken, reluctantly, to
end an eight-year association with Lola and
move whole-hog into the Honda Performance Development
camp. In March 2011, RML AD Group debuted the
team's new HPD ARX-01d in the official ACO
test at Le Castellet, and campaigned
the car throughout 2011.
further details about the RML AD Group HPD
ARX-01d, click on the image below. To discover
more about some of the team's previous LMP2
sports prototypes, chose between the smaller
links on the right.