Reid aims high for MG

Anthony Reid says his MG team will not be approaching this weekend's Le Mans 24 hour race at full pelt, despite reliability problems for the British marque in the run up to the French endurance classic

Reid aims high for MG

Reid raised eyebrows up and down the pitlane with the pace of his EX257 in Thursday evening's final qualifying session and set a best lap of 3m40.243s. The Brit claims there is plenty more pace to come from the Lola-built car.

But it has not been all plain sailing for the Chamberlain-run team, which had a disastrous Le Mans pre-qualifying session in May with engine problems. The struggle continued during Wednesday qualifying and also yesterday (Thursday) with an oil leak thwarting the number 33 car of Mark Blundell, Julian Bailey and Kevin McGarrity.

However, Reid says the problems will not change his or the team's approach to the race in any way.

"Our realistic target is to complete the event and cross the line on Sunday afternoon," Reid told Autosport.com. "That would be an absolutely fantastic achievement. But that is why we are here. We have achieved our first target of taking the LMP 675 class pole position.

"We knew right from the start that the car was going to gel, it was just a question of reliability. But I'm absolutely loving it. There's a lot of time in the car and from me. I wasn't really pushing when I set my best lap."

Team boss Hugh Chamberlain agrees with Reid's sentiment of aiming to finish the race, but is slightly less optimistic about how long his MG machines will last.

"We're approaching the race on the assumption that we're going to win," said Chamberlain. "Nobody's expecting us to, but you can't change the approach. Nobody is expecting the cars not to go bang. Everyone's expecting it only to last 20 minutes. Every lap that goes by is a bonus."

MG has not failed to stress that this is a development year and the first of a three-year programme. But the pace of the cars in qualifying - only eight seconds behind the lead Audi - and their ability to complete longer stints, has led to speculation that the cars could potentially challenge for the lead in the early stages of the race.

"We haven't looked at the figures yet," said Jonny Kane, who shares the number 34 car with Reid and Warren Hughes. "If we can do just one more lap in every stint, then who knows. It would be a bit of a fairy tale though wouldn't it?"

Chamberlain was again slightly more sceptical than his driver and thinks it is more realistic to wait and see, in order to find out exactly what pace the cars are able to maintain during the race.

"I don't know whether we can compete for the overall lead or not," he said. "Because this is such a new concept, we don't know whether we're running at a suitable race pace or not."

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