After announcing earlier this year that it would enter the American Le Mans Series with a new GT2 class XKR, Jaguar has remained silent on when the car would actually appear. That silence is now over as the car is roaring to life at Road Atlanta today in practice for Saturday's Petit Le Mans.
The new racer has been prepared by long-time Jaguar racing collaborator Paul Gentilozzi and his RSR team. RSR is the successor to Rocketsports racing with which Gentilozzi campaigned XKRs in the Trans Am series. Like the new GT2 C6.R Corvette, the XKR started its life as a production aluminum body-in-white that was then transformed into a racer. Most of the aerodynamic development of the body was handled by the engineers at Jaguar before being fabricated in carbon fiber by RSR and a local Michigan-based supplier. RSR is mainly using this weekend's debut race as an extended track test session to prove-out the new car before participating in the entire 2010 season. We'll let you know how it does.
RSR DEBUTS THE JAGUAR XKR GT2 RACECAR AT PETIT LE MANS
BRASELTON, GA (September 24, 2009) – In preparation for a full championship effort in 2010, RSR has entered the Jaguar XKR GT2 in the American Le Mans Series' famed event the Petit Le Mans with the intention to introduce the car and utilize the track time for testing and development. The Jaguar brand is launched into what everyone considers the deepest GT2 class in the history of the ALMS and will have to face off against the likes of Ferrari, Porsche, BMW, Corvette, Viper, and Ford.
From a production car, the Jaguar XKR makes an excellent racecar. "The Jaguar XKR is exceptionally strong and rigid, and the construction method is in advance of the conventional steel stamping that we see in cars today," explained Paul Gentilozzi, RSR team owner. "That allows RSR to build a lighter, stronger, stiffer racecar. Also, the basic aerodynamic design of the XKR has a low drag coefficient and more than sufficient downforce."
The GT2 class features production-based cars modified as allowed by the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO) rules. "There are very specific limitations. We use what we call in the industry, the Body-In-White. That is the basic skeletal structure, the sub-frames and frames from the original production car. We started our GT2 car with a real Jaguar XKR, this is not a panel built or fabricated car. We are using all of the aluminum skeletal structure of the car, the production doors, roof and deck lid."
The body work features a design that is based on the Jaguar XKR and was completed in the Jaguar Advance Design Studio headed by chief designer Ian Callum. The body has undergone intensive computational fluid dynamics work, know as CFD, by the Jaguar aerodynamics department. Information from the CFD was then incorporated into the finished body work which was made in clay at the RSR facility. Over 1100 man hours were spent during the clay process. The carbon fiber composite body work was molded and produced by a local company in Michigan and conforms to the ACO guidelines.
"The end result is a GT2 car that contains the DNA and the spirit of the Jaguar Design Department and the production car," comments Gentilozzi.
Yokohama has been announced as the official tire supplier. "Partnering with RSR on the Jaguar XKR GT2 in ALMS is a perfect fit for Yokohama," said Mark Chung, Yokohama Tire Corporation director, corporate strategy and planning. "Motorsports is a core element in what we do. It's in our DNA – we like to compete and we like to win, and so does RSR. Our collective efforts will certainly put us among the leaders in GT2 next year. We are definitely eager to get going."
RSR is working very closely with Bosch Motorsport to integrate their technologies for engine control and chassis data acquisition. The car will be equipped with a Bosch Motorsport ECU and data logger with color display, as well as Bosch spark plugs.
Gentilozzi has had a long relationship with brake supplier Brembo, winning races in Trans-Am and Champ Car. Brembo six piston front calipers on 380 mm discs with four piston rear calipers on 350 mm discs have been installed and actuated by a Tilton floating master cylinder pedal assembly. A 5.5 inch Tilton metallic clutch will allow power to flow from the modified Jaguar AJ133 engine to a Hewland CST Transaxle.
A five time Trans-Am Series Champion, Gentilozzi will wear multiple hats for the team, as not only the owner but also one of the three drivers designated to run at the Petit Le Mans. He will be joined with sports car veterans American Scott Pruett and Belgian Marc Goossens. During the testing and development process these seasoned drivers will play a key role in getting the Jaguar XKR up to speed for a strong fight in 2010.
The Jaguar XKR GT2 will make its debut in the Petit Le Mans powered by MAZDA6 at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Georgia. The 1,000-mile, 10-hour spectacle is scheduled to start 11:15 a.m. EDT on September 26. Live coverage can be seen on SPEED beginning at 11:00 a.m.
RSR was formed in 2009 by Paul Gentilozzi and his sons, Tony and John, to build and race the Jaguar XKR in the American Le Mans Series GT2 class. The GT2 category is the premier sports car racing classification in the world. With top flight competition and close racing it has become the predominant venue for leading manufacturers and teams.
Gentilozzi's relationship with Jaguar dates back to 2000 when he built and raced Jaguar XKRs in the North American Trans-Am Series. In their tenure together 66 starts were made, 31 of those resulted in team wins with an additional four victories by chassis/customer cars. This led to five Manufacturers' and five Drivers' Championships from 2000 – 2006 with Paul Gentilozzi, Scott Pruett and Klaus Graf. The Jaguar XKR was also entered in the famed 24 Hours of Daytona, where it earned the pole and win in the GTS Class (2002).
- RSR -