The British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) 2001 (September 8/9) is earmarked to be an exciting event as the MG ZS EX259 makes its first public appearance, drawing thousands of MG fans to the Silverstone circuit.

The MG ZS EX259 will be driven by Anthony Reid (car 2) and Warren Hughes (car 20), drivers renowned for their prowess at Le Mans 2001.

The MG ZS EX259 is competing in the last three race meetings of the BTCC - rounds 21 and 22 at Silverstone (September 8/9), rounds 23 and 24 at Donington (September 23/24) and rounds 25 and 26 at Brands Hatch (October 6/7).

Rob Oldaker - managing director, MG Sport & Racing Limited - said: "Having been blown away by the reaction at Le Mans, we are geared up for the next phase of MG's motorsport programme."

"Everyone is really excited here, but we are trying to keep a lid on our enthusiasm as we recognise that we are in the development phase. We picked the last three dates on the BTCC calendar to give us an idea of our competitors' strength and help us determine how much development work is required for next year. Our ultimate focus is 2002."

David Bowes - managing director, Lola Cars International - added: "It's been a fascinating technical exercise to have designed the first touring car from our Huntingdon factory. Frank Dernie and the technical team have worked extremely hard with our colleagues at MG, WSR (West Surrey Racing) and AER (Advanced Engine Research) and we go into our first round of the BTCC with some satisfaction at the progress made to date. We're also very aware, as with all new cars in whatever formula, there is still a great deal of work to be done."

Anthony Reid - driver of MG ZS EX259, car 2 - continued: "The main battle we have had has been the weather conditions we've experienced. We've got ourselves to a very good position. We are pleased with where the car is and we have several pointers to further improve it. I am confident that we'll be competitive and am really looking forward to the race at Silverstone."

Warren Hughes - driver of the other MG ZS EX259 (car 20) noted: "Every time we run this car we take huge steps forward. I'm feeling optimistic and can't wait to get going. It's very different to what I'm used to but I'm pleased with the way I'm settling in - the team seem happy with my pace and although I have a lot to get my head around and learn new ways of driving, I feel I am adapting quickly."

Dick Bennetts - managing director, WSR (West Surrey Racing) - concluded: "Despite being frustrated by the weather, every change we've made has taken us forward - we've not taken a step back at all with the chassis. We haven't peaked yet and know there is more time to be found from the car. We're going in the right direction all the time and a big thank you goes out to all the team for their commitment and the long hours they've worked."


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