Road America: JaguarRSR preview

JaguarRSR ON A COMPETITIVE PATH FOR ROAD AMERICA EAST LANSING, Michigan (August 18, 2010) - With two solid consecutive top-ten runs in the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patron, the JaguarRSR team heads to Road America. Road...

JaguarRSR ON A COMPETITIVE PATH FOR ROAD AMERICA

EAST LANSING, Michigan (August 18, 2010) - With two solid consecutive top-ten runs in the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patron, the JaguarRSR team heads to Road America. Road America is a track that has that has been successful for Principal Partner Paul Gentilozzi and his former squads in Trans-Am and Champ Car. With reliability constant, the #75 JaguarRSR XKR GT will focus on how to reduce lap times and improve race performance.

The team used the down time between events to their advantage, with preparations that will make even more gains. After narrowing down the margin from the GT leaders at the last event, they know they are on the right track. Following Mid-Ohio, the team continued to build on the lessons learned and have prepared a refined strategy for this weekend's event at Road America.

Road America is one of two recognized historical racing landmarks in the United States. The permanent road course, at just over four miles long, consists of fourteen turns and follows the natural terrain, creating many elevation changes. A long, uphill front straight sees drivers approaching speeds of 175 mph before getting hard on the brakes for Turn One, a 90 mph corner. One of the best known features of this course is a deceptively fast turn on the backside of the track known as "The Kink". Many cars and drivers have prematurely finished their race on this section of the track. The Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin venue is a true test of any race car drivers' skill.

Behind the wheel this weekend will see the return of Ryan Dalziel, who has made six starts in the XKR racer, and five starts at Road America. The 2004 Atlantics winner, holds most of his experience at this venue in open wheel (Atlantics and Champ Car), but has also raced in the ALMS GT1 category back in 2005. Teaming up with the Scotsman, will be Belgian Marc Goossens, who has made seven starts in the Jaguar. The vastly-experienced sportscar driver has driven at most of the greatest race tracks around the world, however, one of those not on his resume is Road America.

Round 7 of 9 in the 2010 ALMS season gets underway on Friday, August 20, with a series test day. There will be two practice sessions ahead of GT qualifying at 3:10 p.m. on Saturday. A 20-minute warm up session on Sunday morning will prepare the cars for the green flag at 2:05 p.m. to kick off the American Le Mans Series - powered by eStar, a 2 hour and 45 minute race.

WHAT THE DRIVERS HAVE TO SAY

Ryan Dalziel, co-Driver of the #75 JaguarRSR XKR GT
"I have always had great races at Road America and I am really looking forward to going back in the Jaguar. Road America fans are huge car fanatics and I know Jaguar has a strong following in that part of the country. I am excited to get back behind the wheel now that our reliability is looking better. I watched the race weekend at Mid-Ohio from the internet and I was sad not to be a part of another top-ten finish. Hopefully, Marc and I can continue the string of results.

I have raced at Road America in a variety of cars. From 2002 - 2004, I competed in the Atlantics Series. My favorite memory at this track is from 2004 during the Friday practice; I had a brake failure at Canada Corner and went head on into the barrier at about 160mph. I was taken to the hospital and released later that night. My team rolled out our spare chassis and we took the pole; setting a lap record. I was able to lead every lap en route to my first victory at Road America. In 2005 I had the opportunity to drive a GT1 in the American Le Mans Series. And my last trip was in 2007 while competing in the Champ Car World Series. This track is just so amazing to drive. It offers so many different challenges, but my favorite spots are Turn 1, the Carousel, and Canada Corner."

Marc Goossens, co-Driver of the #75 JaguarRSR XKR GT
"With the Jaguar XKR GT, from where we were at in Utah (Round 4) to where we are now, things are going well. We have been able to have consistent runs, in all on-track sessions, which allow us to log good miles and gather useful data. The only way we are going to make this car be the best it can be, is to learn exactly what it wants, what it needs. That is what we are doing, what we continue to work hard on, and I hope we can show the true potential of this car very soon. I think Road America will suit the Jaguar well, so it will be another good opportunity to keep moving forward and continue to close in on our competition.

The thing that I keep hearing about Road America is that it is going to be a track that I really like. People that I have worked with before have told me that "it is a typical track for you". And I have to agree, as I have done my homework in preparation by viewing some on-board camera footage from the past from different cars. It looks like a pretty fast track with long straightaways, and not only that, but the connection between two straightaways can be very important. So to keep momentum going, it looks like there's a couple of challenging corners there and I can't wait to get out there and do some laps around it."

LAP AROUND ROAD AMERICA by Ryan Dalziel

Driving up the start/finish straight at Road America for the first time is daunting, to say the least. It is such a steep incline over the start/finish line that you are looking at gorgeous Wisconsin skies, before the nose of the car comes down and you have the long flat straight towards Turn 1.

Turn 1 is a scary corner. You are approaching it at well over 160 mph in a GT car in top gear. A couple of downshifts and an early turn in, rolling lots of entry speed is key to being fast. You can make or break a fast lap here. Mess up and you have 4 miles to wait before you can start again.

Turn 3 follows the kink known as Turn 2 (easy flat). It is another fast corner where it is so important to have a car that rotates well and you must be on full power from the apex curb to carry maximum speed down the long downhill straight towards Turn 5.

Turn 5 is a very slow 90 degree left with a bumpy downhill brake zone. It's crucial here to brake as late as possible. Forget about that after Turn 5. At this point you only concentrate on braking to the limit of the cars potential, even sometimes on a fast lap braking over that limit is fastest for lap time. There is also a great passing opportunity into 5.

Turn 6 comes fast. After an exciting Turn 5 you head steeply uphill towards the Toyota Bridge. Look for the bridge as your reference point, as the entry of 6 is blind. Your brake zone here is difficult as it's cresting the hill, and often creates entry over steer until the car settles. It is important to get back on the power a little to settle the rear of the car as early as possible.

Turn 7 is a relatively fast, but not too technical of a kink. You use as much curb on the inside and outside of the corner as the car will allow. The faster cars likely will not brake here, so that's what we will aim for.

Turn 8 is very difficult, possibly the most technically challenging corner on the course due to the bumpiness. Most of RA is smooth, then you approach Turn 8 and it's bumpy from the brake zone, all the way through the apex. It's very easy to overdrive the car here, but you have to be patient and similar to Turn 6, getting back on the power always settles the car. You always fight under steer here. Don't lose focus exiting here cause it's about to get fun.

Turn 9 & 10 are probably the most famous corners at RA, more commonly known as the 'Carousel'. I love this corner, no matter what car I drive here. In a GT car your technique is so different to any open wheel cars. But depending on the balance of your car you will do different things. More often with a GT car you are doing some what of a diamond approach to the corner. The Carousel's entry is just as important as the exit. Its all about minimum speed through here and 1-2mph through here is huge for overall lap time. You exit Turn 10 almost driving on the grass to have the least amount of tire scrub as possible.

Turn 11, AKA 'The Kink'. This is where we see what drivers are brave. The kink is awesome and when you get it right, very satisfying. But when you get it wrong, there is no room for error with barriers either side of the track, mere feet from the edge of the track. The kink is blind from the entry to apex so if someone spins/crashes it causes havoc.

Turn 12, AKA 'Canada Corner' is very difficult. You are entering here after zig zaging your way through the twisty 'Kettle Bottoms' back straight. Easily flat but with the trees hanging over a big contrast in your eyes. Approaching Canada the light hits you as you come out of the trees. Again a bumpy brake zone and another place you slow from 170mph+ to a slow 2nd or 3rd gear corner.

Turn 13 is one of the easier corners, but the trickiest part is being that it's completely blind until you exit the other side.

Turn 14 is very, very important. If you are on a good lap, just like Turn 1, you can make or break that lap time by not getting it right. It's very easy to either under drive, or over drive here, but unfortunately you have to drive this corner hard to get the shot out the corner to lead you up the steep climb to the start/finish line.

That's 4.048 Miles around Road America's road course.

-source: jaguarRSR

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Ryan Dalziel , Marc Goossens , Paul Gentilozzi