The MG ZS racing saloon, developed with the help of Lola and engine specialists AER, will make it's BTCC competition debut at the Silverstone International meeting on September 8/9, with track testing due to commence in July.

MG insisted at their NEC launch that they will use the last three BTCC events of the 2001 season as a 'shakedown' test, in preparation for their full assault on the TOCA series in 2002.

Anthony Reid and Warren Hughes have already been announced as MG's drivers, with team management in the hands of West Surrey Racing (WSR), who previously ran successful BTCC teams for Ford and Honda, as well as launching the careers of a dozen F1 stars, including the late Ayrton Senna.

"The new regulations are an exciting change," said Dick Bennetts, Managing Director of WSR. "There were a lot of critics initially as the cars are not as high tech as their predecessors, but personally I believe that they should give much more cost effective and better racing - possibly an equal playing field by 2002. The cars are more sophisticated than super production, plus they look and sound good on the track".

"The MG ZS has great potential. It has double wishbone front suspension and should produce good horsepower from its V6 engine," added Bennetts. "The initial feeling towards the aerodynamics is positive which is just as well as we are not allowed much in the way of development anymore - it looks to be a very efficient car in road trim. MG has a lot of buzz around it being a totally new project. We are very much looking forward to being linked in with MG and Lola".

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