The 2019 season is quickly building to be one of the most exciting yet and the latest addition to the year with the news that the rare MG SV-R supercar will join the field.
The MG SV is a rare vehicle in it’s own with less than 200 produced between 2003 and 2005 under the MG Rover Group. The SV was a halo supercar running a 4.6 litre Ford ‘Modular’ V8, 5 speed manual gearbox with Brembo brakes and 18” wheels and all clothed in a carbon fibre body built in none other than Modena in Italy. The carbon fibre shell made the car light and rigid with a low centre of gravity and a genuine supercar capable of 180 miles per hour.
There was one very special MG SV built, build number #160 built to SV-R specifications meaning the bigger 5.0 32 valve V8 amongst various upgrades but what makes this car very unique is it was also built with the factory support to FIA GT3 regulations.
Purchased by the Howell family to join a large collection of MG’s in 2012 from the original owner, the car will join MG Racing in 2019 with Rhys Howell behind the wheel. “The car was built and run in the GT3 class in 2005 but due to MG’s closure the vehicle’s development was never completed and after some minor appearances at club racing in 2010 and 2011 we purchased the vehicle and imported it to Australia in 2012 and since then have essentially been rebuilding and further refining the vehicle” commented Andrew Howell.
The car is a very rare piece of MG Rover history and joins the ex Sport and Racing MG ZR Judd endurance race car in the family which Andrew will campaign. “The intention was, and still is that I will run the SV-R but a number of factors have delayed that. Personal health and business challenges have kept me out of a race car for nearly three seasons now and to get into something like that which also needs to be developed now is just not the right decision so I will get back into the Judd until I am ready to drive the SV-R”. Not wanting the SV-R to sit idle Andrew has committed to his son Rhys debuting the vehicle and tasked him with developing it. “Rhys has a lot more experience in this kind of cars and setup/developing vehicles so it is a no brainer, he has spent the last 4 years in various GT and Sportscars and this is another and he can challenge for the podium in MG Racing”.
Rhys Howell comes from campaigning a Lamborghini Gallardo GT3 for 2017 and 2018 as well as working with the Daytona Sportscars team in their Daytona Coupe and SIN R1 GT. The SV-R will be not dissimilar to these vehicles with it’s V8 power and aerodynamics.
Rhys is excited but realistic, “it’s essentially a new car so we will inevitably have a few teething issues but it should be a good challenge. The car has had a lot of work done and it is so unique it’s going to be great to get out in it and it’s good to get out there with Andrew on track”. When compared to what he has come from Rhys commented it’s going to require him to adapt a little, “the Lambo is a GT, mid engine, approx. 500hp but has a lot of aero, ABS, Traction Control, it requires confidence and commitment to get the maximum out of it. While the Daytona was pure grunt and a huge amount of electronic technology but lacked sheer aerodynamics of a purpose built GT car. This is kind of in between it won’t have the horsepower of the Daytona, nor the electronic wizardry but it is more purpose built GT than the Daytona but then it wont have the aero of the Lamborghini so it will be quite interesting and require some adaption”.
The car on paper will be a very competitive package, “The car was built with the ‘SVR’ specification 5.0 32 valve modular engine and we have simply had the same engine builder give us the current version of that engine. Being older technology, it isn’t huge horsepower but it should be enough to get us into the top 3 and challenge while we have also updated to a Holinger 6 speed gearbox and MoTeC dash to replace all the original gauges and allow a bit more telemetry” commented Andrew. The car has also been updated with a new wheel and tyre package and updated front and rear aerodynamics, “we have had a long term relationship with Topstage in Melbourne and they have updated the front and rear aero on the car and it has always been under tyred on the front so we have updated to new 18” wheels and Pirelli GT3 tyres”. Andrew expects Rhys to challenge for podiums in 2019, “I think the aim is to challenge Phil (Chester) and Robin (Bailey) and if we can be around them we will be on the money, Rhys has enough experience now so that’s the aim”.
The car will debut at the opening round of 2019 and will be a strong contender for the 2019 championship. No doubt many MG enthusiasts around the globe will be following the vehicle’s progress.