MG3 Trophy Championship Concept: Like An IROC?

Meet the MG3 Trophy Championship, a track-ready concept car built to entice British racing enthusiasts into an IROC-like single manufacturer racing series. Chinese-owned MG brought the two-toned track terror to Goodwood Festival of Speed to show it off... and maybe do a little trolling in the bargain.

Everyone and his/her uncle knows by now that MG Rover, the former Morris Garages and about an English a make as Jaguar, Vauxhall, Sunbeam and Triumph (historically speaking, that is), was bought lock, stock and two smoking barrels by Chinese interests. Now known as MG Motor UK Limited, the company imports semi-knocked-down versions of MG-branded vehicles developed in China, where they're assembled at MG's venerable Longbridge plant just outside Birmingham.

It must be galling to British purists that the reincarnated MG is doing rather well these days. The company has re-established a viable presence in British and European markets by offering a steady stream of modern, reliable, stylish and affordable cars including the MG6 hatchback and a smaller city car, the MG3 super-mini.

It's the latter that's turning heads this weekend at the Goodwood Festival of Speed taking place this weekend in West Sussex, England. Derived from the MG3 hatchback, MG's engineers transformed the grocery-getter into a pocket rocket. The stock 1.5-liter four-banger gets an extreme motor makeover that includes a re-programmed ECU, billet aluminum pistons, high-profile cams and a turbocharger with an intercooler. The mods nearly double the non-turbo stock engine's power output to 207 HP while sending a hefty 191 lb-ft. of torque to the front driving wheels through a limited-slip differential.

With the significant boost in raw power, the MG3 Trophy Championship concept's boy-racer looks are justified, not to mention effective. Airflow is managed via an aerodynamically-tuned front fascia working with deep side skirts and a biplane hatch-top spoiler. Low-profile racing rubber wrapped around 17-inch black alloy wheels provides adhesion to the track; the whole package topped off by a speedy red-over-black paint job.

The race-readiness extends to the interior where bucket seats ensconce driver and passenger (or navigator, if in rally-mode) snugly within a full roll cage. Other racing mods include a built-in fire extinguisher and quick-release steering wheel. Helmets are recommended, and not only because most of the MG 3's stock sound insulation was yanked out to help save weight.

All well and good at Goodwood, but what's MG really up to? The short answer is trolling... er, not the kind you're thinking of. In a nutshell, MG is dangling the MG3 Trophy Championship concept in front of British racing fans and enthusiasts in order to gauge interest in a possible single-make racing series – a sort of anglicized version of the old IROC series that featured identical Chevy Camaros piloted by accomplished racers.

If the reaction is positive, look for such a series to launch sometime in 2015, or once a sufficient number of MG3 Trophy Championship cars roll off the line at Longbridge. (via Le Blog Auto and Left Lane News)