Less than an hour into the 12-hour enduro, the XKR pulled into the pits with team principal Paul Gentilozzi only having completed 11 laps. It's been reported that one of the cylinder heads on the 5.0-liter V8 cracked, an issue that couldn't be resolved in the pits or paddock in time to get the car back in the race. Hopefully, the team will take the lessons of Sebring and be able to implement some changes before the next event at Long Beach in four weeks. It'd be great to see the Jag in contention with the Ferraris, Porsches and Corvettes.
After all the hard work, all the long hours, the JaguarRSR team took the green flag to kick off the 2010 American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patron season today in Sebring, Florida.
It was a good feeling for the JaguarRSR team on the 58th Annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida grid this morning. The crew stood proudly by the beautiful #75 JaguarRSR XKR GT as the race-day crowds flooded through the open grid taking photos and getting up close to see the anticipated new addition to the series/Sebring event. If looks could kill, that would be an understatement. Ready to start the fight, Paul Gentilozzi was buckled into the driver's seat and took the green flag this morning at 10:30 a.m. ET. The car made a successful start and things were progressing well in the opening laps before a cooling issue occurred about 15 minutes into the race.
"We ran the first few laps and saw the water temperature start to rise," said Paul Gentilozzi, JaguarRSR Principle Partner and co-driver. "We brought the #75 JaguarRSR XKR GT into the pits at that point and did what we were able to do in the pit lane. We tried some things that we knew were possible causes of that issue. We then went back out and ran it a couple more laps. At that point the problem was still there so we decided to bring it back to the truck so that we could have the entire team work on it, because in pitlane you can only have four people working on the car. Once the JaguarRSR crew was able to fully assess the problem, we determined that we were unable to fix it in a satisfactory manner here at the race track in the time allotted. Rather than risk damage to the car, we decided to end the race. It is a very long season; it is a very tough fight for everybody this year. We will head back to the race shop, do the best that we can to address the problem and begin Long Beach ready to fight."
Gentilozzi added, "I can't say enough of how good the JaguarRSR team was. The have worked hard, long hours, week after week, day after day. They put in the time to make this car a better racecar and I think the results showed on track this weekend with the improvement in our times. Never once was there a time where anyone looked like that had any quit in them. Every problem that we have been dealt, these guys have responded to with vigor and excitement about the program and the car. We are just going to keep moving forward, no one is ever going to give up."
The American Le Mans Series returns to North America's premier street event - the Long Beach Grand Prix. Round 2, the Tequila Patron American Le Mans Series at Long Beach will take place April 16-17, a much shorter event in both terms of race prep and duration, consisting of only two on-track days and a race time allotment of only 1 hour and 40 minutes. Gentilozzi and his squad are no strangers to this track, so it should be exciting to see the #75 JaguarRSR XKR GT fly around on the streets of downtown Long Beach, California.