JaguarRSR HEADS TO CALIFORNIA AFTER ITS BEST QUALIFYING OF THE SEASON WITH ENDURANCE ON ITS MIND
EAST LANSING, Michigan (September 13, 2011) - From one side of the country to the next, JaguarRSR prepares for a six-hour endurance event at the picturesque Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Round Eight of the 2011 American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrόn.
Two weeks ago, the sophomore team was on the East Coast racing on the streets of Baltimore where it achieved its best qualifying efforts of the season. The Jaguar XKR's qualified in the 7th and 9th positions of the most competitive global sports car series in the world. This weekend, they head to California to return to road course racing. The Monterey Peninsula has played host to world-class sports car racing for more than 50 years. The downhill Corkscrew Turn provides one of the most challenging single corners of the season.
"The corners at Laguna Seca are exact opposite of the corners in Baltimore," said John Gentilozzi, JaguarRSR Technical Director. "Whereas Baltimore was a lot of stop, 90-degree turn and go again, a lot of Laguna's corners are flowing, high-speed turns. We will place emphasis on downforce and platform stability to try and maintain that downforce as the JaguarRSR XKR GT moves under acceleration, braking, and cornering. Strategically in a six-hour race at a track that is difficult to make passes on, we have to be smart about our pit strategy and conserving our drivers' energy."
The team will field two XKRs in the 39-car ALMS field, the Series' largest at the track since the first event in 1999. This will be the third start for the XKR at this venue, making its first appearance back in 2009.
Behind the wheel of the #98 JaguarRSR XKR GT will see the continued partnership of Americans Rocky Moran, Jr. and PJ Jones. Moran considers Laguna Seca his home track, as he was born in Pasadena and currently resides with his family in Ladera Ranch, California. He essentially began his racing career on the famed 2.238-mile course. From competition in the Jim Russell Mazda series to Barber Dodge and then Atlantics, he recorded multiple fast laps, podiums and front row starts, including a victory in Atlantics. Jones' is also no stranger to this venue, having won the pole and race while competing in the IMSA GTP Championship and multiple starts in the Champ Car World Series.
Bruno Junqueira and Ken Wilden join forces again in the cockpit of the #99 cat. The Brazilian, Junqueira, has made four starts there in Champ Car, earning consecutive second-place finishes during his last two visits. The JaguarRSR lineup is complete with Canadian Wilden, who has made seven starts at Laguna. He has a vast experience of machines on the challenging course ranging from open-wheel (Atlantics), Trans-Am, Grand-Am (Prototype and GS class). He has been on the pole twice and won as many times.
Qualifying for the ModSpace American Le Mans Monterey presented by Tequila Patrón will be aired live on ESPN3.com on Friday, September 16 at 3:30 p.m. PT (6:30 p.m. ET). The green flag is set for 1:30 pm PT (4:30 pm ET) on Saturday, September 17 with live race coverage available on ESPN3.com. ESPN2 will televise the race from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, September 18.
International viewers can see the event live on MotorsTV, Rogers Sports Net, Fox Sports Middle East and Fox Latin America Networks. Live radio broadcasts are available at www.americanlemans.com.
WHAT THEY HAVE TO SAY
PJ Jones, co-driver of the #98 JaguarRSR XKR GT "My most favorite race track in the country is Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. I have a lot of great memories there from my GTP days; we set the all-time track record, won pole and the race. With the track being in central California, my home state, it is picturesque, has a lot of elevation changes, and truly is just one of the best race tracks. To have a place where my dad (Parnelli Jones) has raced a lot - there is just so much history for me and my family which adds to why this is such a special place to me. I am looking forward to going there behind the wheel of the #98 JaguarRSR XKR GT. Being a six hour race, I think, helps us because our reliability has been getting progressively better and better. The longer the race the better chances we have to earn a solid finish. It will be interesting to see how our cars are going to be there, I have a strong feeling that we should be pretty competitive because of the layout and how it should suit the strengths in the Jaguar. I have confidence in the team that we will finish the race with a good result."
Bruno Junqueira, co-driver of the #99 JaguarRSR XKR GT
"I like the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca race track a lot. It is a beautiful area, has a lot of great race fans and is a challenging track. I have had great success in the past during my open-wheel era. This year I started a new chapter of my racing career in sports car racing and I am looking forward to returning to this track behind the wheel of the Jaguar GT car - it will be a whole new experience. I also look forward to it being an endurance event; six hours will make for a long race and a good fight. I hope our XKR will run strong and we can have a good finish to keep with my good results at Laguna Seca."
Rocky Moran, Jr., co-driver of the #98 JaguarRSR XKR GT
"I absolutely love Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, it is where I learned to race cars originally and I consider it my home track. I love the elevation the track has to offer and I love turn 4, turn 6, turn 9, and turn 10, which are all very full wood corners. Turn 6 is one of the best corners in motorsports when you hit it right. The JaguarRSR team has gained some valuable knowledge from the last two events and I expect this to translate into the best result of the year at Laguna Seca. It is a very long race; both PJ and I have extensive experience at this track, so we will be standing on the gas the entire time. Right now our car seems to be best in medium and slower corners, so we will work on developing the balance platform for the high-speed corners we will be navigating through at Laguna."
Ken Wilden, co-driver of the #99 JaguarRSR XKR GT
"I enjoy competing at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. I'm looking forward to the elevation changes on the track, the JaguarRSR XKR GT did very well at Mosport under the same conditions. I think the AJ133 power will pull us well up the hill to the corkscrew. My hope is that we finish this race and continue to develop and learn. The team is persistent - doing a great job on development and working super hard. To have a good finish would be a good boost for them and great for Jaguar."