MG 3 racing car under development


Let's be frank, MG's presence in motorsport far outweighs its significance in the UK new car market. This is a company that celebrated the sale of 4,446 cars in Britain in six months earlier this year - a figure the Ford Fiesta sells in a fortnight - yet it fields cars in the BTCC, has teased the idea of a WRC return and has a racing championship dedicated exclusively to its models, called the MG Cup. Now, it's adding a new model to the series' ranks by developing a competition version of the 3 hatchback.

We like the sound of this because, well, racing cars are cool. And this one should be cheap. Developed with the MG Car Club for the MG Cup racing series, the cost to put a racing 3 on the grid is intended to be no more than Β£5,000. MG says it'll also be far cheaper to run than its classic competition models, like the Metro, which also compete in the low-cost MG Cup, and it should be ready to hit the track ahead of next year's season.


With no MG manufacturing in the UK anymore, the firm's turned to its interns - seriously - to carry out the development work. Presumably (and hopefully) these are engineering interns, rather than those focused on marketing or catering. Although the work being carried out shouldn't be too taxing, because MG Cup regulations restrict modifications to the fitment of Gaz springs and a freer breathing Scorpion exhaust system. There are also bucket seats and a roll cage in the stripped interior, obviously, but the oily bits remain unchanged.

That leaves the car with a naturally aspirated 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine and five-speed manual gearbox, a pairing that is - compared to the far more modern stuff in the 3's hatchback competitors - a bit rudimentary. Still, the simplicity of this setup should at least make maintenance fairly easy. And they power a decent base chassis, because the 3 is actually a pretty good handling car in road trim.


Could this signal more motor racing for MG? Adam Sloman of the MG Car Club sounds like he'd be up for supporting it. He said: "Motorsport is a huge part of MG and the Club's heritage, and we are very much invested in bringing new cars, drivers and young competitors to our grids in the future." Heck, the presence of more MG competition models might even encourage a few more road car sales...

P.H. O'meter

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Comments (12) Join the discussion on the forum

  • dunnoreally 13 Dec 2018

    Their motorsport programme doesn't change the sorry state of the MG brand. As Rich Porter put it once "they don’t make sports cars anymore. They make grey hatchbacks."

    I really wish the Nanjing Automobile Group would just give the dross they sell here whatever its proper Chinese badge is and let MG die. It's suffered enough. That'd probably lose them the very few sales they have here, though.

  • rallycross 13 Dec 2018

    Considering these are virtually un-salable and just sat on dealer forecourts without anyone even opening the doors maybe this is one way to get rid of a few of them - a one make race series for a car no one wants to buy and even less people want to race!

    I'd rather have an MG metro FFS (yes the crappy old one with 4 whiny gears and a thirst for oil than one of these).

    Edited by rallycross on Thursday 13th December 19:18

  • kambites 13 Dec 2018

    dunnoreally said:
    Their motorsport programme doesn't change the sorry state of the MG brand. As Rich Porter put it once "they don’t make sports cars anymore. They make grey hatchbacks."

    I really wish the Nanjing Automobile Group would just give the dross they sell here whatever its proper Chinese badge is and let MG die. It's suffered enough. That'd probably lose them the very few sales they have here, though.
    They don't use the MG brand to sell cars here, they use it to sell cars in China where a European brand (any European brand) carries distinct cachet.

    To be fair, 99% of the people who dismiss the modern cars have almost certainly never driven one. They have, if not class leading, at least class-competitive dynamics which gives them a USP of sorts amongst the buget brands.

  • HorneyMX5 13 Dec 2018

    A guy local to me Sprints and hill climbs his MG3 and seems to have great fun doing it. MGs are a staple of grass roots motorsports with MGFs, TFs, ZRs, ZSs, Midgets, Bs and Cs always out competing.

  • davepoth 14 Dec 2018

    dunnoreally said:
    Their motorsport programme doesn't change the sorry state of the MG brand. As Rich Porter put it once "they don’t make sports cars anymore. They make grey hatchbacks."

    I really wish the Nanjing Automobile Group would just give the dross they sell here whatever its proper Chinese badge is and let MG die. It's suffered enough. That'd probably lose them the very few sales they have here, though.






    There's an argument to say that the sports cars have been a sideline to the manufacture of grey hatchbacks for quite a while.

    Frankly I'm pleasantly surprised that Nanjing are putting in this much effort. Evidently they feel that keeping a British identity for MG is important to them, no matter how piddly the operation happens to be.

    That said, the cars they're making are coming on fast, and I think they'll be class competitive within a decade - in that respect putting a few blokes in a shed with an angle grinder seems like a sensible investment.

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