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  MG Lola EX264 AER
 

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Country of origin:Great Britain
Introduced in:2005
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:April 18, 2006
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Click here to download printer friendly versionFounded in 1958 by Eric Broadley, Lola has been at the forefront of motorracing throughout its history. Lola products have won in almost any form of road racing, but this is often forgotten because the chassis often get rebadged to who ever commissioned the racer. One of the most recent examples was the MG EX257, which was known internally at as the Lola B01/60. Like many of the manufacturer's sportscar designs it proved very quick, but fragile. Since its launch in 2001 a number of LMP675 class victories were scored, and in its final year it even successfully took on the Audi R8, and scored the overall victory in a round of the 2005 ALMS championship.

At the end of the 2005 season, the complete range of Lola prototype racers would be obsolete because of extensive rule changes. Since 2004 the prototype classes are divided in LMP1 and LMP2, but up until 2005 the old LMP675 and LMP900 cars were still eligible to run in the LMP1 class. The moderate-budget LMP2 class was open only to new cars, and leading French chassis manufacturer Courage was the first to launch an LMP2 car at the start of the 2004 season. Lola followed suit in 2005 with the B05/40, designed to accept a number of engine variants.

Compared to the relatively straightforward Courage, the Lola LMP2 car looks quite different with a long front overhang and a very short rear end. This new design direction is a result of the aerodynamic restrictions set by the sport's governing bodies to prevent the racers from flipping. Another instantly noticeable change is the symmetrical roll-over structure, increasing the impression of the racers being proper two-seaters. Throughout the B05/40's design process Lola have not only concentrated on getting the optimum performance, but also kept a close eye restricting the production and running costs.

Soon after the new car's launch, Lola had already secured six orders for the B05/40. The first team to take delivery of the new car was the RML team, who in previous seasons had run an MG Lola EX257. Despite the financial problems MG continued supporting the team, which has resulted in the B05/40 being renamed MG Lola EX264. Chassis number HU03 was equipped in 2005 with a Judd V8 engine, but it was replaced by an AER four cylinder for 2006.

In its V8 guise the RML MG Lola was competitive throughout the 2005 Le Mans Endurance Series and at the end of the year just missed the championship by one point. The season was highlighted by a class victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. With AER ironing out the reliability problems, RML decided to switch back to the familiar four cylinder already used in the EX257. The car debuted in this specification at the Paul Ricard test where it covered a remarkable 2500 km in two days.

The Le Mans Series season opener was held at Istanbul where the AER EX264 showed good for with a pole position. Before the race even started it was over when the striking racer was 'nudged' into the pit-wall. The car was repaired, but there was not enough time left to make up the 50 minutes lost in the process. Once patched up, the team did record the fastest lap in class.

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  Article Image gallery (64) Specifications