Racing car maker Lola has agreed to collaborate with Rover to produce a new, all-composite, MG-Lola branded supercar.
`It will be a clean-sheet design,’ Lola chairman Martin Birrane said. `It will be a genuine supercar, a state-of-the-art composite car capable of 200mph-plus with handling to match.’
But he denied reports that the car would attempt to outdo the 240mph McLaren F1, although, like the McLaren, it would have an all-composite structure. `We never said we were setting out to beat the McLaren,’ said Birrane. He added that the car `will not be a race car modified for the road’.
A decision in principle to go ahead was reached at the end of last week and Lola and Rover were holding further meetings this week to iron out details. Birrane said intensive design work could begin within weeks, with development expected to take to the end of 2002.
Lola has the facilities for most of the design and development work, including wind tunnel testing. Rover would supply expertise in building the car. `They have complementary skills in car building, the space and the specialist equipment,’ said Birrane.
Meanwhile, Rover formally announced that the estate version of the 75 executive saloon will go into production in mid-2001. The car was production-ready before BMW cancelled it in the face of Rover’s mounting losses, but it will now be launched after production of the 75 saloon moves from the former Rover Oxford plant in September this year.
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