First Race for the Jaguar XKR GT2
RSR Set to Take the Green Flag at Laguna Seca
EAST LANSING, Michigan (October 7, 2009) - After a successful debut of the Jaguar XKR GT2 race car at the Petit Le Mans and some private testing, RSR is set to take the green flag for competition in the 2009 American Le Mans Series' finale at Laguna Seca, October 10.
The team's test last week at GingerMan Raceway (South Haven, MI) was completed without incidents. "The first track test for the Jaguar XKR GT2 was very successful," commented RSR Technical Director John Gentilozzi. "We were able to make some changes to the balance and setup characteristics of the car. Our experience on track generated good information. We feel that it was a very constructive venture and one that will make us more confident going into our first race at Laguna."
RSR is ready to begin the next phase of their new program by going into competition after spending recent months constructing the Jaguar XKR GT2. The team looks forward to demonstrating that its hard work will be rewarded as the car is ready to face off against the likes of Ferrari, Porsche, BMW, Corvette, Panoz, Dodge and Ford. This weekend marks the start of the team's 2010 season. Extensive testing is planned in the upcoming months leading up to one of the biggest ALMS events on the schedule, the 12 Hours of Sebring in March.
"At this point, we have decided to race the car," said RSR team owner Paul Gentilozzi and co-driver of the #33 Jaguar XKR GT2. "We could have done months and months of testing, but the first race is still the first race. You go into it with a lot of expectations and some normal apprehension. We are racing in competition this weekend; we are going to Laguna and running our sessions in order to develop a competitive comparison with our competitors. They have been racing all season and are on their game; in addition we know that the competition will be making advances during the off-season. We had to go through one real race to know where we stood right now, regardless of where it is...we just have to know where we are at and what we need to do to improve to stay consistent with our rivals and to surpass them in 2010."
Perhaps more important than track time in the Jaguar XKR GT2, will be the feedback from the drivers behind the wheel. Ranking first in virtually every Trans-Am performance category, Paul Gentilozzi makes his return to endurance racing since winning the 2002 24 Hours of Daytona (GTS Class). No stranger to the Laguna Seca course, he will be paired with veteran endurance sports car racer Marc Goossens, from Belgium.
Just last year when competing in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series' Daytona Prototype Class, Goossens fell 1.504 seconds shy of taking the overall victory at Laguna Seca. "Racing at Laguna Seca is always special," commented Goossens. "Not only because of the world famous Corkscrew corner, but the track has a little bit of everything in it. There are fast corners, slow corners and the elevation changes are always a challenge. Combined with some off-camber corners where you can't always see the exit, Laguna Seca creates great racing for the fans as much as for the drivers."
Goossens added, "I am really looking forward to the race. First of all it's an honor to be asked by RSR to race the Jaguar XKR GT2 on its debut and it goes without saying that I'm very proud to be representing Jaguar Cars at Laguna Seca. Of course I can't say much about the car since I haven't driven it yet, but having seen the car and the way it has been built, I'm pretty sure that we can show some of its potential from day one."
The Monterey Sports Car Championships at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Salinas, California will kick off with event testing on Thursday. Two practice sessions will lead to qualifying on Saturday. The four-hour race is scheduled to start at 2:45 p.m. PDT on Saturday, October 10. Live coverage will be available on American Le Mans Radio via americanlemans.com, which also will feature Living Timing & Scoring on Racehub. Live coverage also can be heard on Sirius 126 and XM 242. SPEED will televise the race on Sunday, October 11 at 2:30 p.m. EDT. For more information, go to www.americanlemans.com.
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