MG Rover's sports arm, which builds its high performance model and leads the company's motor racing activities, has followed its parent company into administration.

MG Sports and Racing makes and sells the MG XPowerSV sports car which is built to specification and costs up to £82,000. MGSR operates as a stand-alone business, run at an independent site at Longbridge, with 48 staff.

The newest version of the MG SV, the V8-engine SV-R, was unveiled last year and billed as "the ultimate MG" by the British company. It was showcased at the Geneva Motor Show to critical acclaim.

The 175mph car has a 5.0-litre engine and is meant to be the supreme road-going racing car. It boasts a carbon fibre bodywork - the same lightweight material used for Formula One cars.

It was designed by Peter Stevens who worked on the McLaren F1. MG Sports and Racing is the third part of the Phoenix Venture Holdings Group to go into administration.

Steven Pearson and Rob Hunt, partners at PricewaterhouseCoopers, were appointed administrators at the request of the company's directors.

Mr Pearson said significant investment had been made in the MG SV.

"There is an immediate opportunity for an investor to acquire a niche car manufacturer that has unique design and production capabilities.

" We are currently exploring how the company can be restructured and are keen to hear from anyone who is able to take the business forward."