ALMS - Jaguar To Return To GT Class At Lime Rock
EAST LANSING, July 5, 2011: Despite the near three month gap in the 2011 American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patron, JaguarRSR has been working diligently to enhance the performance of the boisterous JaguarRSR XKR GT and is looking to turn even more heads this weekend in Round Three at Lime Rock Park - the American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix, July 9.
Coming off the team's best finish of sixth at Long Beach in the ultra competitive GT field, the sophomore ALMS squad was elated for the opportunity to take advantage of some "down time". In mid-May, the team journeyed to the heart of NASCAR country in North Carolina to undertake a series of off-track tests designed to generate a wide range of performance enhancements. The first stop was Morse Measurements where the team fitted a XKR onto their Kinematics and Compliance Rig (K & C Rig). Next up was a 20-hour shift at the AeroDyn family of wind tunnels. The last stop was to the American home of damper partner Ohlins to utilize the seven-post shaker test facility.
Since the conclusion of those tests, JaguarRSR had been pouring over the huge mountain of data to reveal further performance secrets. After updates were made the team hit the track taking advantage of an opportunity to do some testing at Road Atlanta.
"It is hard to have such a big break in a season schedule, but we took every advantage of the down time to really focus on getting two cars ready for the heat of the season," said Paul Gentilozzi, JaguarRSR Principal Partner. "We have renovated our car systems and focused on weight reduction and distribution using our experience from Sebring and Long Beach. We saw great gains while testing these new developments at Road Atlanta and look forward to Lime Rock, a track that will give us a true test of what direction we have taken and where we are in the GT pack."
Lime Rock Park is 1.50-miles of natural-terrain road course with the breathtaking elevation changes in the village of Lakeville, Connecticut, in the state's northwest corner. It is a track that looks deceivingly simple, but is immensely challenging. Its uniqueness is that it is short, but actually quite fast. This race weekend is a short one with a limited amount of track time, so the team needs to be very efficient in finding the perfect race setup.
"The challenge for us is to make the XKR last the entire race in very warm weather and be very gentle on the Dunlop tires so that we can extract maximum performance out of them for a full stint," said John Gentilozzi, JaguarRSR Technical Director. "In the short practice time that we have, we will focus on making a good drivable car; obviously we are always looking for speed but we want to focus on making a consistent, fast race car."
Experience behind the wheel at such a venue also plays a vital role. PJ Jones returns to Lime Rock co-driving the #98 JaguarRSR XKR GT. The American is a legend of his own at Lime Rock, as he holds the ultimate track record for fastest lap (43.112 seconds / 128.595 mph - set in a Toyota GTP car, which earned him a pole position). California native, Rocky Moran, Jr. makes his ALMS return after debuting with the team in Sebring and also has several years under his belt at this track while competing in the Barber Dodge Series. In his most recent visit he won the pole and lead the entire race before a rear tire went flat and failed with four corners to go.
Teaming up in the #99 car are veteran open-wheel drivers Cristiano da Matta and Bruno Junqueira. The Brazilian duo will be venturing out for their first run at Lime Rock, but with their vast knowledge of road and street course racing and familiarity from their teammates, they should get acclimated very quickly.
The team will have two practice sessions on Friday ahead of GT qualifying that afternoon at 3:45 pm ET. Following a 20-minute morning Warm Up session, the two hour and 45 minute race is scheduled to take the green flag at 2:05 pm local time on Saturday, July 9. Live video coverage will be available on ESPN3.com in the US and americanlemans.com for international users. Worldwide radio coverage will be available on American Le Mans Radio at americanlemans.com. ESPN2 will air the race starting at 1:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, July 10. Live international coverage can be seen on Saturday via MotorsTV, Fox Sports Middle East and Fox Latin American Networks. Visit http://www.americanlemans.com/">www.americanlemans.com [http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?llr=ozatmcdab&et=1106412541823&s=997&e=001gtEu_w8V_3FxCZy7uaf_IO3OKw4QtOn9poJJaIGzt2HM3c1ni6l7QKOMAsLqgoykyk7V5pX6FPoDsuf7m7A8Vflv6KShB2c4dAuFXzW-TJmocoKDzAEK8w==">http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?llr=ozatmcdab&et=1106412541823&s=997&e=001gtEu_w8V_3FxCZy7uaf_IO3OKw4QtOn9poJJaIGzt2HM3c1ni6l7QKOMAsLqgoykyk7V5pX6FPoDsuf7m7A8Vflv6KShB2c4dAuFXzW-TJmocoKDzAEK8w==] for more information.
WHAT THEY HAVE TO SAY
Cristiano da Matta, co-driver of the #99 JaguarRSR XKR GT
"I know there are going to be improvements in the JaguarRSR XRK GT from all the hard work the team has done the last couple of months, so that makes me very excited to get back behind the wheel. It will be my first time racing at Lime Rock and I look forward to it. I know that it is a short race track and I am going to have to learn it as quick as I can, but I have raced it on a simulator so I know the track well from that standpoint. I am really looking forward to the bulk of the championship; it is going to be very busy with seven races in three months and it is going to be a lot of fun."
PJ Jones, co-driver of the #98 JaguarRSR XKR GT
"It has been such a long time since I have been to Lime Rock and I am really looking forward to going back. I always remember it was a cool little place to race; it reminded me of short track racing because it has such tight corners and is a smaller type road course. I have always liked racing there; you always encounter a lot of traffic it is just close quarters racing.
I think for us, it will be a good track to race the JaguarRSR XKR GT. To me, it feels like a place that the lap times will be closer together which will give us a great opportunity to really move up in the field."
Bruno Junqueira, co-driver of the #99 JaguarRSR XKR GT
"This is my first time to race at Lime Rock Park, and I look forward to the opportunity. It looks like a very nice track. I think that the JaguarRSR team has made good improvements with the JaguarRSR XKR GT over the last couple of months. We had a good test at Road Atlanta and saw faster lap times, so I think we should be set to have a good race."
Rocky Moran, Jr., co-driver of the #98 JaguarRSR XKR GT
I have raced at Lime Rock a lot. I raced there in 1996, 97, 98 and 99 in the Barber Dodge Pro Series. Many of the races were double race weekends. The last time I was there in 1999, I was leading the Barber Dodge Championship and I qualified on the pole. I led the entire race and had a big lead up until the last lap. On the last lap my right rear tire went flat and failed with four corners to go. I lost the lead and finished fourth, driving across the finish line on three tires. It was a very painful loss, so I figure Lime Rock owes me something! I love the track.
Lime Rock is a driver's track; it's got elevation and some really fast corners that I have always loved. Passing is difficult and the track is hard on tires due to the constant right handers. I'm really happy to be back in the Jaguar with PJ to build on the momentum we started out the year with. I have seen the team make some great gains since Long Beach and I am very grateful for the opportunity. I'm looking forward to a great weekend."