MG X-power motorsport launch 2002. Story by MG Rover. Images by Kelvin Fagan.
MG Sport & Racing has revealed a new collaboration to run an
independent team in this year's British Touring Car Championship using the
2001 MG ZS's that had such a successful debut in last year's championship.
The newly-formed Team Atomic Kitten brings together the world of motorsport
with one of Britain's most successful girl bands, who list two recent UK
number one singles and a number one album amongst their credits.
The deal will see the two cars entered into the BTCC Independent's Cup,
running in a stunning yellow and black livery. The cars will be driven by
two up and coming talents, Gareth Howell and Colin Turkington, which follows
the trend already established by MG last year in giving British talent the
chance to excel on a world stage.
Team Atomic Kitten will run the cars and will be assisted in the marketing
and promotions activity by MG Sport & Racing.
Commenting on the deal, Jenny Frost from Atomic Kitten said: "We are really
proud to be associated with MG. They are a very dynamic company who are
going places and their motorsport activity last year was proof of this. When
the opportunity arose to work alongside MG on the BTCC programme, we jumped
at the chance."
The deal with Atomic Kitten includes a number of additional areas of
collaboration which will be announced in due course.
Rob Oldaker, managing director, MG Sport & Racing is very pleased with the
agreement. "We wanted to try and find a way to run four cars this year. The
most obvious way for us to achieve this was by finding an independent team
to lease the MG ZS EX259 cars from last year. The fact that we have managed
to bring in Atomic Kitten as part of this deal is magnificent for both MG
and for the TOCA Tour itself. We want to help get the BTCC back to its glory
days of the mid-90s and this deal will certainly introduce an added
attraction to the package."
The regulations allow for the 2001 cars to carry an upgrade package and so
the cars will be fitted with a number of improvements following the winter
test programme that WSR have undertaken on behalf of MG Sport & Racing.
As a result of this upgrade, Team Atomic Kitten will miss the first two
rounds of the championship. Instead, the team will make its debut in the
championship at Oulton Park on 21 April and will contest the balance of the
Atomic Kitten will be at Oulton Park in person to cheer on their team. Jenny
added: "We didn't want to just sign our names to this. We want to play an
active role in the whole programme so we couldn't miss the first race."
Gareth and Colin have both had their first runs in the car at Snetterton
this week and both were very pleased with its performance.
Gareth said: "I had a great day - I had been worried about getting used to
the car, especially as we don't have much time before our first race at
Oulton Park, but it wasn't as hard to drive as I had imagined. This means
that I can focus on understanding the set-up in future tests."
Commenting on his drive, Colin added: "Fantastic, plenty of speed - a well
balanced car - not at all what I expected. I thought it would be more
difficult to drive but I got to grips with it pretty quickly. All my running
was in the wet and despite this I managed to do a lot of laps - it was