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Motor sport magic

Atom Cup UK › Goodwood FOS › 500PS MGTF Extreme



e’re back from our Summer holiday, and launching straight back into action with a mélange of motorsport magic. This month’s Road magazine features exciting news of the new Atom Cup UK – a one-make series for the amazing new Ariel Atom Cup race car; focusing on fun, close racing and fabulous hospitality at some of the UK’s finest circuits. The series looks like being really cool, different and exciting. And the car is fab. Can’t wait for the first rounds, which will be televised, in 2013. Also this month, our pal and superb photographer, Richard Seymour takes his lenses to the 2012 Goodwood Festival of Speed – capturing the action in his usual stylish manner. See his incredible work inside this issue and on his new look website at Finally, we meet a one-off piece of MG motorsport history – the unbelievable MG X Power TF500 Extreme. Stripped and loaded with the very best ‘money no object’ goodies – including a 500bhp Le Mans Cosworth turbo engine and XTrac sequential transmission – this is no hairdresser’s MGF, it’s a deranged mid-engined motorsport monster we absolutely love. Thanks for reading Road Magazine. Do share our FREE monthly magazine with your friends, and check out our ace daily blog: Road Ed, Phil Royle


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Ariel make arguably the most exciting track day cars out there. Now there’s a fab new race car & fun one-make series planned for 2013 – The Atom Cup UK. Bloody brilliant!


sk anyone who’s driven an Ariel Atom in anger on track what it was like, and the response will be the same – a fixed inane grin, a wild look in the eye and a childish giggling glee escaping from every pore. They are just marvellous machines – whether normally-aspirated, supercharged, Mugen powered or even in billy bonkers V8 form. The superlight (500Kg) open-air tubular frame, rearengine, adjustable suspension, awesome brakes and exciting engines make for such a heady experience. Time spent in any Atom is track time well spent. I still have the fondest memories of racing Tim Schrick and a Caterham CSR260 around Cadwell Park (a killer circuit; surely designed for Atoms to demolish) in a S/C Atom III sideways everywhere, tyres smoking, neck in spasm from the ferocious accelera-

tion and g-forces, beads of sweat cooled by the rushing air and a Cheshire cat grin from ear-to-ear. Perfection. The Atom’s only real ‘problem’ is nothing else is really quick enough to keep up with it on a track day. Even most race cars can be easily blitzed. Only downforce Radicals and the like can rival its phenomenal pace and capability – driven properly. And, whilst it’s always fun to be the fastest on circuit, track day tussles, lap after lap are where the real fun is at, right? So, what’s the answer...? Well, ramp it up a gear of course... go racing. And now, thanks to the great guys at the Ariel Motor Company, as of next year, you’ll be able to race Atom Vs Atom in the all-new Atom Cup UK. Ariel Motor Company has just announced exciting plans for its one-make Atom Cup UK race series for

2013 – featuring a 245bhp, 510Kg, ‘Cup’ spec Atom, with a roll cage, two-litre i-VTEC engine with sixspeed close ratio gearbox, race exhaust, Alcon brakes (adjustable bias), Yokohama A048 tyres, Ohlins adjustable suspension, Race Technology dash & safety gear. The new series – which will bring first rate hospitality with professional levels of catering and entertainment, be highly social and make it the sort of place you can bring your family too happily – will run alongside other motorsport, as part of the MSVR package run by Motorsport Vision. The Atom Cup UK will take place at eight premier UK tracks: Brands Indy & GP, Cadwell Park, Oulton Park, Donington Park and Silverstone GP and National. There will be three pack-

ages available – Bronze (car, entry fees & hospitality) at £53,195 + VAT, Silver (as Bronze, plus tyres & fuel and track assist) at £59,995 + VAT and Gold (as silver, plus transportation and storage), at £69,652 + VAT. The new Atom Cup car will be capable of 145mph, thanks to its 480bhp per ton power to weight figure, the racing should be dead close and there’s enough adjustability left in the car to make set-up all important, as well as driver skill. Ariel Motor Company Director, Simon Saunders said to Road Magazine: “The idea is it will be an exciting, fun and really sociable weekend away with great cars and great company, doing what we all love. “We really want it to be a fun social event and while the racing is obviously the

focal point, we do think that making the whole weekend fun and interesting with professional levels of catering and some good entertainment is something new. It’s going to be something that you’d be happy to bring your wife to and not have to worry about her standing in a field all day getting bored. “Eventually we would like to have sponsored drives

for up and coming Lewis Hamiltons and somewhere where the best, not the richest, driver wins. We have great hopes for it. “We’re really excited and hope that it’s going to provide some good racing, a new approach at this level of competition and good fun next year.” The plan is to run the Cup cars on control fuel,

ing a level playing field “giving ultra competitive racing, whilst rewarding talent and driving ability.” There’ll be four sessions and two races in each of the eight televised rounds, providing drivers with 10+ hours of ace racing. There’s been a one-make Atom series – Spec Race Atom – in the states since 2010, in Virginia and California. And it’s been a roaring success, with no DNF’s in the series to date, proving what a reliable beast the Atom is. And Atom Cup UK drivers will be competing for a chance to drive in the USA version, as well as fighting for top honours here in Blighty. Frankly, it looks bloody ace; like everything Ariel do – now taking their ‘Serious Fun’ motto to the next obvious level. Bravo to them, and MSVR, for pulling it off. We just can’t wait to report on the first race next year. You can find out more on Facebook: www.facebook. com/atomcupuk and follow @atomcup on Twitter, or call on +44 (0)1926 258028.

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2012 Festival of speed: Pictorial

Road Magazine pal and super-snapper, Richard Seymour attended the 2012 Festival Of Speed at Goodwood for us. Here are his images of the epic event, held up the hairraising hill and in the increasingly popular forest stages of Goodwood House. This year’s themes were celebrating 60 years of Lotus and the Queen’s diamond Jubilee.

Words and pictures:

MGF Monster

Phil Royle meets the one-off, 160mph, 500PS, 380lb ft, £250,000 MG Sport and Racing Development Department factory-built MG TF500 Extreme – by name, and by nature


he dictionary describes the adjective ‘extreme’ primarily as ‘being of a high or the highest degree or intensity,’ and there can be no doubt that the MG TF500 Extreme is certainly that – three times more powerful than even the hottest TF, and yet still road legal. The MG TF500 Extreme produces a spinetingling 500PS, from its Le Mans race-bred (XP20) turbocharged Cosworth twolitre engine. And rumour has it 500PS was a de-tuned figure on a small Garrett turbo at low boost pressure and an easy 600+PS was achievable. This MG has been engineered to its absolute peak. And the technical specification and partner

names involved read like a tuner’s wish list, which, of course, it was, given it’s huge £250,000 budget: Cosworth engine, X-Trac sequential transmission, AP Racing brakes/pedal box, Cobra race seats, OMP, TRS… the list goes on and on, and that’s even before you consider the amount of bespoke workmanship. It’s an almost unbelievable MG – the stuff of dreams, amazingly, brought to reality. Alan Reid, an engineer who worked at MG on motorsport special projects, including the TF500, Bonneville cars and Tomcat rally cars recalls: “It seemed like a bottomless pit of money was available for it at the time. The car was built for fun and a promotional tool, around the Le Mans en-

gine which never ended up actually being used in the car, so they thought they’d stick one in this MGF. I drove it a few times and it was mental. It was stupidly over-powered, but did put a massive smile on your face. I remember lapping Mira testing it and thinking after two laps, “that’s enough.” It was a dangerous toy.” The MG TF500 Extreme was publicly unveiled at the MGCC annual meeting at Silverstone in June 2001, on the eve of MG’s Le Mans 24-Hour campaign with the LMP 675S. Like all MG Extreme/X Power vehicles, they were not intended to be sold to the public (more is the pity!), but simply as an engineering flex of MG muscle, as one-off demonstrators, used for public

relations brand boosting. From 2001 to 2005, the MG Sport and Racing Development Department-built MG TF500 Extreme appeared at various motorsport venues to promote the MG brand, including at Le Mans in 2001. It even competed at Shelsley Walsh in a three-day Festival of Hillclimbing, August 1517 2003, where MG works driver, Warren Hughes piloted the car, sideways, to stunned crowds. Sadly for MG motorsport fans, this was the only time the MG TF500 Extreme was driven in competitive anger. The Extreme uses a large

bulk of the standard MGF monocoque shell. But the body was seam welded throughout, fitted with an integrated, welded steel, competition-spec, six-point roll cage and the front and rear subframes were heavily modified to accommodate the new engine and transmission/drivetrain. Bespoke front and rear wheel arches, a sill-mounted set of flared side skirts, the bonnet lid, bumpers and front panels were custom manufactured and fitted. And the front end was completely re-styled, passing more than a bearing resemblance to the MG

Lola Le Mans EX257 racer, also styled by Peter Stevens, MG’s Product Design Director. Then there’s a huge, downforce-inducing, curved ‘banana’ carbon fibre rear wing – part of a host of aerodynamic tweaks (like the mirrors and front and rear diffusers) bespoke designed to make the MG TF500 vaguely driveable. Naturally, the track was much wider, 100mm at the front and a huge 150mm at the rear – mirrored by the fat tyres, 225/35 R17 front and 265/35 R17 rear, on bespoke MG multi-spoke, lightweight alloy rims. Deep under the skin,

there’s much to compare with the MG X Power motorsport program for Le Mans with the 2001 LMP 675S – most noticeably from the Cosworth 2.0-litre engine (like the Le Mans XP development engine). It is transverse-mid-mounted deep into the car’s shell, Garrett turbocharged and fitted with a bespoke carbon fibre airbox, custom pipework, oil breathers and header tanks, charge cooler and custom front-mounted radiator, fed via the openmouthed bonnet, front grille and side intakes. The Cosworth engine is attached to a full race specification X-Trac six-speed sequential gearbox, with a custom-made limited-slip differential and super tall shifter perfectly positioned in the awesome, compact cockpit. And there’s an AP Racing twin remote, floormounted pedal box, with adjustable bias set-up and AP Racing burly brake kits, giving it massive, essential stopping power. The bespoke dashboard with Aim MXL LCD display, carbon fibre pod with bespoke


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This month is a mélange of motorsport magic.We bring welcome news of the new Atom Cup UK – a one-make series for the amazing new Ariel Atom...

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