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News

AD Group teams with RML and Mazda for Le Mans Series

AD Group : 14 November, 2008  (Company News)
Sponsorship deal signed between AD Group, RML and Mazda for racing car to take part in Le Mans Series with AD Group CEO behind the wheel
AD Group teams with RML and Mazda for Le Mans Series
Principal sponsor, CCTV specialist, AD Group - the parent company of Dedicated Micros - and racing team RML announce the signing of a two-year deal with car manufacturer Mazda and race engine specialists AER to support their efforts in the Le Mans Series and Le Mans 24 Hours endurance races. The agreement means the end of the link with MG, but the start of an exciting new partnership for RML and the Mazda-Lola Coupé racecar.

This deal will further strengthen AD Group and RML's LMP2 sports prototype programme which has been one of the most successful of the past five years, with back-to-back victories in the Le Mans 24 Hours, and the class title in the Le Mans Series in 2007. Co-drivers AD Group CEO Mike Newton and Brazilian Thomas Erdos have already established a formidable reputation as the driving line-up to beat in the LMP2 class, especially at Le Mans.

The move signifies the start of a fresh era for AD Group and RML. "We are very happy to have an agreement for two years," confirmed Phil Barker, Team Manager and Race Operations Director at RML. "We shall be running the Mazda unit in 2009, an evolution of the current Mazda MZR-R engine raced this year in the American Le Mans Series. It is a two-litre, four-cylinder turbocharged engine developed exclusively for Mazda by AER."

The decision to follow this route was driven by the need to meet a complex series of requirements and parameters, based around the team's decision to upgrade to a closed-cockpit Lola Coupé chassis. This included engine management and gear change systems, as well as many other essential components.

Said Mike Newton, CEO of AD Group, who will co-drive the new Mazda-Lola with Thomas Erdos in 2009: "We had six enormously successful years with MG branding on the car. We're very proud of our achievements, and also for having kept the flag flying so prominently for MG throughout that period. Ultimately, however, the funding from MG that we expected in 2008 never materialised. I shall be very sad to sever our links with such an historic British name, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank the many MG enthusiasts who have given us their support over the years. It has been much appreciated."

'Recurrent engine problems - that were significantly exacerbated by the fuel this year - meant that we neared the end of the season knowing that we'd have to look for a new engine in 2009," said Newton. "Introducing the new Lola Coupé at Silverstone in September (for the final round of the 2008 Le Mans Series) allowed us to review the upgrade on the chassis in the light of back-to-back engine testing. It was a close-run judgement call between the Mazda and the Judd options, but based upon what we've learnt, we're confident that the advances made with the Mazda engine will allow us to move forward next season. Ultimately, we've struck a good deal that offers us an extremely competitive engine in conjunction with maintaining the excellent relationship we've always enjoyed with AER and Life Racing."

It is an enthusiasm shared by Thomas Erdos, who will soon begin his seventh season as co-driver with Mike Newton. "I'm very excited by this new partnership," he said. "Mazda is a major manufacturer with a strong association with Le Mans, having been the first and only Japanese manufacturer to win the 24 Hours (with the 787b in 1991, driven by Johnny Herbert, Volker Weidler, and Bertrand Gachot). It's very encouraging to have a partner of this magnitude, but I am also looking forward to continuing working with AER."
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