The American Le Mans Series racing team RSR, headed up by long time Jaguar privateer racer Paul Gentilozzi has just finished working on the next generation XK-R racing car in time to compete this weekend at the 1,000 mile Petit Le Mans in Braselton, Georgia this weekend. The 2010 XKR GT2 racecar was designed as a joint effort between the American racing team RSR and Jaguar’s Advance Design Studio, which is headed by the automaker’s chief designer Ian Callum. The experience of the veteran racer and Jaguar’s main body man has resulted in over 1,100 man hours molding clay and laying carbon fiber to create a shape that is fast and manages to maintain the feel of the factory vehicle.
The race car began its life as a brand new Jaguar XK-R, and despite being a fully built race car maintains much of the original car’s aluminum body panels; like the roof, doors and deck lid. Intensive computational fluid dynamics analysis by the automaker’s aerodynamics department has led to some interesting body work, like the trailing GT style rear wing, redesigned front bumper and extremely wide front fenders. The new 2010 XKR GT2 racecar is a vehicle that both Gentilozzi and Jaguar feel will become one of the most competitive Jaguar racing cars to compete in one of the most competitive ALMS GT2 fields in a long time.
When the green flag drops at 11:15 AM on September 26, the hills surrounding Road Atlanta will roar with the sounds of fire breathing race cars, but there will also be a new voice in the crowd, the XKR GT2 car with a trio of seasoned racers behind the wheel; the American Scott Pruett, the Belgian Marc Goossen and RSR team owner Paul Gentilozzi. If anyone can handle pulling a double duty like this one, Gentilozzi can.
Press release after the jump.
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.