Return to the home page Contact the team Privacy policy on this website RML Lola Mazda B08/86
RML AD Group racing with Lola and Mazda
Click here for the latest news from RML AD Group
Information about racing with RML AD Group
Information and galleries for the motorsport media
Sponsorship opportunities with RML AD Group
Shop, downloads and merchandising from team RML AD Group
Ideas and innovations from RML AD Group

RML AD Group - Crème Anglaise

This is a translation of a feature article that first appeared in issue 65 of Le Mans Racing magazine, published in March 2011. Reproduced with kind permission of the publishers.

In endurance racing, just as in touring cars, this British team stacks up trophies like pieces of Lego. It has been going on for almost thirty years, and after changing the team’s Lola coupé for an HPD chassis, Ray Mallock hopes they’ve not yet reached the end of the road.

Group photo: From left to right: Willem Toet (CEO), Ray Mallock (Patron), Tommy Erdos (Driver), Michael Newton (Pilot), Ben Collins (driver), Phil Barker (Team Manager)

RML is primarily a family affair. Born in 1918, Arthur Mallock was only seventeen when he began tinkering with his Austin Seven. Making changes to the suspension and bodywork, he transformed a van into a racecar, and called it "Bren". After the end of World War II, he returned to competition, but it quickly became obvious that "Bren" was seriously outdated. In the hope of challenging the all-dominant Coopers, he tried building his own car. It proved to be a masterstroke! Lighter than its competitors, the U2 levelled the playing field, thanks to its simplicity and effectiveness. Within ten years Arthur was building racecars for Formula Ford, Formula 3, and Formula Atlantic. The company became a family concern when his two sons, Richard and Ray, were promoted to the rank of “development drivers” for the company. The first took over the business and continued to produce the U2, while the second pursued his own racing career, and took part in the 1979 Le Mans 24 Hours in a Lola T286.

Mike Newton, Thomas Erdos, RMLIn 1982, Ray raced an Aston Martin Nimrod in the World Sportscar Championship for one of the privateer teams. With his background, Ray quickly became know for his technical expertise. "I feel very privileged to have raced at a time when the driver could still benefit from a touch of genius," he admits today. Delighted to outperform the official Aston Martin Nimrod works team on a regular basis, Viscount Downe Racing gave Ray carte blanche to develop a new body for the car in the wind tunnel. When the car returned to Le Mans in 1983, the revised Nimrod had gained an extra eleven seconds a lap. The publicity this generated immediately lent credibility to Ray’s efforts, and Ray Mallock Limited was established in 1984.

In association with Ecurie Ecosse and with the support of Austin Rover, RML developed its first prototype in 1986, and promptly won the World C2 Championship. A partnership with Aston Martin in 1989 was followed by another with Nissan in 1990 . . . and the stone had started to roll. For a while the company moved away from endurance racing to join the ranks of the highly popular British Touring Car Championship. RML took the BTCC titles with Vauxhall and Nissan, in 1995, 1998 and 1999. Meanwhile, the Wellingborough workshop had diversified its business to become an engineering powerhouse. In late 1999, Steve Saleen commissioned the development of a monster supercar . . .

The course of stability

Developed in only ten months, the Saleen S7 was immediately offered as a GT1 racecar. Behind the wheel of one of those cars, a racing partnership was forged that has since become almost inseparable. "I won the British GT with Graham Nash Motorsport in 2002," recalls Thomas Erdos. "The next year, RML entered a two-car squad in the FIA ​​GT Championship, and paired myself with Mike Newton.” The two quickly established an understanding, and the “gentleman driver” made rapid progress, learning much from his Brazilian mentor. In November that year the team entered a newly-acquired MG Lola EX257 in the Le Mans 1000 Kilometres, the first race in the fledgling Le Mans Endurance Series. Since then, Mike and Tommy have become the only two drivers to have competed in every race in the Le Mans Series.

“In 2003, Mike told me he was giving himself three years before he would be ready to race in the Le Mans 24 Hours . . . and five years to win," said Thomas Erdos. "I thought he was joking, but two years later, we won LMP2 and, to prove it wasn’t just luck, we did it again in 2006!” With victories in Istanbul in 2005, at Donington in 2006, and at the Nürburgring and Spa-Francorchamps in 2007, RML swiftly became the pace-setter in its class. However, having taken the team’s first Le Mans Series crown in 2007, the train hit the buffers. The aging Lola B05/40 gave way to an exciting new Coupé, but even that wasn’t enough. The 2009 season was a disaster. "Our engines broke too often, but we hadn't forgotten how to win races," recalls Mike Newton.” He was right. The installation of V8 HPD engine last year gave wings to the coupé, which finished third at Paul Ricard and the Le Mans 24 Hours, second at Spa, and took a win in the Algarve. "It was like a dream," said Ben Collins, who joined Erdos and Newton from Portimão. Fourth in Budapest, and again at Silverstone, the three men took the title for RML in the face of competition that was, without doubt, faster, but generally less reliable.

RML AD Group - Le Mans Series champions 2010

A New Era

Phil Barker has learned the lessons of the past but this time can’t wait for the new season to begin. "This has been an extremely difficult decision," he admitted at the Autosport show in January "We are sad to be leaving our friends at Lola, but happy to strengthen our relationship with HPD." Equipped with what is considered the “ultimate weapon” in LMP2, the HPD ARX-01d, Phil will need tactics and guile to get the better of Strakka Racing: "Our team is both structured and close-knit,” he says. “We teach our apprentices to embrace the spirit of RML as they climb through the ranks. Le Mans is one race where teamwork can make a real difference, despite the challenge and fatigue." It is taken for granted that RML will be going for another win in the 24 Hours. While Phil Barker hides that determination behind a quiet, self-composed air, Ben Collins openly admits as much with characteristically British humour: "I am looking forward to whistling down the Mulsanne, feeling the wind, the insects, the rain and everything else that Le Mans throws at you when you drive a prototype!” he says. But it will take more than a few insects to slow the Mallock saga, because Michael, son of Ray and grandson son of Arthur, is already a vice-champion of the European GT4 Cup! That’s until something better comes along . . . .

Ray Mallock Limited
Created in 1984
Based in Wellingborough

Founder: Ray Mallock
Managing Director: Willem Toet
Team Manager: Phil Barker

1986: 1st WSC C2 with Ecurie Ecosse
(victories at Brands Hatch, the Nürburgring, Spa-Francorchamps and Fuji)
2001: 1st in GT1 LMES (victories at Donington, Estoril, Most and Vallelunga)
2005: 1st LMP2 Le Mans 24 Hours, 2nd in LMS in LMP2 (victory in Istanbul)
2006: 1st LMP2 Le Mans 24 Hours, 2nd in LMS in LMP2 (victory at Donington)
2007: 1st LMP2 LMS (victories at Nürburgring and Spa-Francorchamps)
2010: 3rd LMP2 Le Mans 24 Hours, 1st in LMP2 LMS (victory in the Algarve)

8 participations at the Le Mans 24 Hours

Visit the Le Mans Racing Magazine website

Team News
Le Mans Series 2010

Le Mans Racing Magazine
March 10th 2011

Written by Julien Hergault
Photos: Dominique Breugnot
Translation by Marcus Potts

Le Mans Racing Magazine

Le Mans Racing, issue 65




































Did you know ?

Between 2003 and 2010, Ben Collins was the "faceless" racing driver known as "The Stig" for
BBC TV's Top Gear


Click here to return to the main News menu