We had no complaints when we got Jaguar’s new V8 on the track, so it’s no surprise a full-on racecar is making its debut. Rocketsports Racing (RSR) revealed the XKR GT2 racing car that will compete in the American Le Mans Series.
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.
This Jag will take on cars such as the Corvette C6R GT2 and Aston Martin Vantage GT2. This means although RSR will be using the naturally aspirated version of the 5.0-liter V8, the engine will likely be modified to make more than the 385 hp it generates in cars like the 2010 XK.
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.
The XKR GT2 will not be ready for the track until the summer of 2009 and will only run a partial season. So even if it is a contender this year, this is just a practice run for 2010.
2010 Racing Debut: The American Le Mans Series racing team RSR, headed up by long time Jaguar privateer racer Paul Gentilozzi has finished working on the next generation XK-R racing car in time to compete at the 1,000 mile Petit Le Mans in Braselton, Georgia. When the green flag drops at 11:15 AM on September 26, 2010, 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.
Update 09/24/2009: This article has been updated to include additional specs and its 2010 racing debut.
Update 05/27/2010: Check out the new video on the Jaguar RSR. It’s part of the Jaguar Return to Glory video series and illustrates Jaguar’s intentions to return to the track as a feared competitor.
More pics and full breakdown in the 2009 and 2010 press releases after the jump.
New team, new look, new car, new brand – that was what was unveiled during a press conference today at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Rocketsports Racing, Inc. (RSR) establishes a new entity, formed to build and race Jaguar XKR’s in the ALMS GT2 category and the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Rocketsports Racing officially announced a GT2 program for the American Le Mans Series that will see the East Lansing, Michigan-based team reunite with the Jaguar brand by entering a Jaguar XKR for a partial season in 2009 with a full-season championship effort in 2010.
“It has been difficult to be out of competitive racing for nearly a year,” said RSR team owner Paul Gentilozzi. “We are most fortunate to be able to return to what we know, winning sportscar championships. In particular, winning them in Jaguars. We haven’t spent our time idly; we’ve focused on engineering and construction of the Jaguar XKR. The luxury of time that we traditionally don’t have in this process has been a great asset. We feel like our work with both the ALMS and the ACO will give us a car that is number one: competitive on the track, number two: representative of Jaguar’s racing history, and number three: economically viable for customers in the GT2 series around the world.”
RSR will be entering the ALMS with Jaguar as a technical and marketing partner. Jaguar has provided vital engineering, information and support to assist the team in the homologation and construction process. Construction of the Jaguar XKR is near completion at the RSR facility. A parallel engine development process is also underway for the new AJ-133 direct injected 5-liter normally aspirated engine. The company’s plan is to begin testing and development in June and enter the ALMS series mid-summer. RSR will be building at least three XKR’s this year and will have cars available for customer use in 2010.
“The addition of Rocketsports Racing and Jaguar XKR speaks volumes about the status of the American Le Mans Series,” said Scott Atherton, President and CEO of the world’s leading sports car series. “Not only does the Series add another prestigious automobile brand to its already world class lineup of manufacturers, but the fact that this addition occurs during such a challenging time in our industry makes the announcement truly significant. Paul Gentilozzi is one of the most experienced and qualified people in motorsports and his decision to bring Rocketsports and the Jaguar brand into the American Le Mans Series at this time is the best endorsement we could ask for.”
Looking back over the decades, I believe Jaguar’s finest hours in motorsports have occurred in sportscar racing. The timing of its return couldn’t be better. Jaguar can introduce, develop and showcase their technologies and immediately link the DNA of their racecar to the XKR in the showroom in a way that no other form of motorsport can match. We are very proud to be welcoming Paul Gentilozzi, Rocketsports and the Jaguar brand as the newest stakeholders of the American Le Mans Series, and we look forward to seeing them on the track in the very near future”.
The XKR racecar is based on the successful Jaguar XKR Aluminum chassis. Combining stampings, forgings, and extrusions, fastened by special rivets and high strength adhesives, the Jaguar designed structure offers an excellent platform on which to build a championship winning racecar. Added to this structure are steel roll cage and reinforcing members providing safety and stiffness in the face of the challenges presented by the demanding circuits and competition in the ALMS. The all-aluminum AJ-133 powerplant breathing through ACO mandated restrictors will be tuned to last 24 grueling hours at Le Mans and power the Jaguar XKR through the historic hills of Road Atlanta during the Petit Le Mans. The carbon fiber body optimizes air flow as permitted in the ACO rules, while also maintaining the design spirit of the beautiful XKR production car.
Rocketsports, Inc.’s previous competition in the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) resulted in 17 victories, including a GTS class win at the 12 Hours of Sebring in 1992. Running an Oldsmobile Cutlass in 1992, Paul Gentilozzi was the runner up in the Drivers’ Championship in the GTS class and the team won the GTO Drivers’ Championship and the Manufacturers’ Championship (Oldsmobile). In 1993, Rocketsports clinched the GTS Manufacturers’ Championship (Oldsmobile). A 1994 effort with Cunningham/Nissan resulted in an overall victory at the 24 hours of Daytona.
While RSR and Jaguar may be new to the ALMS series competition, they both have a rich history and heritage of performance in the motorsports industry. The same is to be said about their relationship together. Jaguar was re-introduced to the Trans-Am Series by Gentilozzi. In their tenure Rocketsports, Inc. had 66 starts, 31 of those resulted in Rocketsports team wins with an additional 4 victories by chassis/customer cars. This led to five Manufacturers’ and five Drivers’ Championships from 2000 – 2006 with Paul Gentilozzi, Scott Pruett and Klaus Graff. Rocketsports also earned a pole and victory (GTS Class) in a Jaguar XKR in 2002 at the famed 24 Hours of Daytona.
The Rocketsports/Jaguar relationship is also significant off track. From 2002 – 2004, Rocketsports, Inc. built two concept cars which included a racier X-Type and the most powerful road-going Jaguar convertible ever – the 550 horsepower XK-RS. In November 2008, RSR undertook a secret speed trial, taking a 2010 Jaguar XFR to the legendary Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. The XFR achieved a stunning top speed of 225.675 mph – making it the fastest production Jaguar ever. In the vein of Rocketsports’ work on production Jaguars, RSR is developing high performance aftermarket components for the XKR and newly revealed XFR.
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.