Morgan shows Aero 8 'customer' GT racecar

The new 'sprint' racing version of the Morgan Aero 8, developed for customer use by the Malvern company's motorsport subsidiary Aero 8 Racing, was unveiled on Friday (Motorsport Day) at the British International Motor Show by the UK's Minister of Sport, Richard Caborn. The car was designed for the new 'Cup' class' of the BRDC British GT Championship, but two have already been sold for America's SCCA Speedvision World Challenge

Morgan shows Aero 8 'customer' GT racecar

The 'Cup' specification is being introduced by the BRDC to attract new entries in 2003 from owners of high-performance GT racecars, built to a lower specification than the current GTO division.

The new Morgan Aero 8 racer (like the road car) shares 75 percent of its major components with the company's 2002 Le Mans racecar and is also built on a production ash frame with bonded aluminium panels. It weighs approximately 1120kg with its driver aboard.

The passenger car engine is a 4.4-litre naturally aspirated BMW MP62 V8, and the 2002 Le Mans car was equipped with a 4.0-litre endurance racing version, purpose-built for the project by BMW Motorsport in Munich, Germany. The new racecar is powered by a 4.6-litre engine from the same source, delivering 320bhp at 5800rpm and 410lb.ft of torque, and driving through a Getrag six-speed sequential-shift transaxle, again as used at Le Mans last June.

The car comes very close to the BRDC's target power/weight ratio for the new 'Cup' class cars of 0.285bhp/kg.

"We've taken many of the lessons learned from this year's Le Mans project, and in particular the experience gained by the team in the early rounds of this year's British GT Championship, which were used to shake down the Le Mans car," noted Christopher Lawrence, Morgan's chief development engineer. "Putting all that experience together, we've now developed a really competitive GT racecar, and interest is beginning to build up."

Two more chassis will shortly come under build in Malvern for UK customers.

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