TOYOTA MR2 JOINS GRID FOR BRITCAR 24 HOURS
A four-man team of Toyota enthusiasts is planning to mount a giant-killing assault on the UK’s toughest race, the Britcar 24 Hours, using a supercharged Toyota MR2 Roadster. Not only are they hoping for top honours in their class, but also have their sights set on a top-20 overall finish in the 1/2 October Silverstone enduro.
It’s the third time that Team Rogue Racing has entered an MR2 in the Britcar 24 Hours; last year the squad’s tenacity was underlined by an against-the-odds race finish. Now Patrick Mortell, Simon Aris, Alric Kitson and Lee McKee are hoping that substantial performance modifications and support from Toyota GB will help bring success.
“The MR2 is fitted with a 3.5-litre V6 engine, a unit which is more used to delivering sufficient power to pull along a Lexus, so it’s quite a proposition in an MR2 weighing around 1100 kg – particularly when we add a supercharger to boost power output to 350-400 bhp,” said team leader Mortell.
In Class 3 of the race, the Toyota is up against some race-proven performance models, including GT4 cars from Aston Martin, Ginetta and Lotus, as well as several BMW M3s and a GT3 Porsche.
Nonetheless, Mortell is “quietly confident” that a good finish is on the cards: “I would like to think that so long as we don’t have any unforeseen problems the overall top 20 is a realistic opportunity, and with it a good finish in class.”
The four drivers all started their competitive careers in the MR2 Championship; two of them are flying from their homes at opposite ends of the globe to compete – Aris from Texas and McKee from Kuala Lumpur.
In addition to support from Toyota, as part of their campaign to support British Motorsport, Team Rogue Racing has several other blue-chip backers, including Microsoft, which is using the event to publicise its forthcoming Forza Motorsport 4 Xbox game, and Alpinestars.
“Our Alpinestars race suits will carry Forza branding,” adds Mortell, “and Microsoft will be demonstrating the new game to spectators in the paddock.” Emagine Productions will be filming a documentary about the team’s campaign.
Following daylight and night qualifying sessions, the 24-hour race will get underway at Silverstone at 4pm on Saturday 1 October. A field of around 70 cars is anticipated.