CHAMPCAR/CART: New toy for Gentilozzi

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CHAMPCAR/CART: New toy for Gentilozzi

One would think there aren't enough hours in the day for Paul Gentilozzi, whose motorsports concerns include the Champ Car World Series, the Motorock Trans-Am Tour, the occasional Trans-Am drive to keep his hand in, prepared by his own...

One would think there aren't enough hours in the day for Paul Gentilozzi, whose motorsports concerns include the Champ Car World Series, the Motorock Trans-Am Tour, the occasional Trans-Am drive to keep his hand in, prepared by his own Rocketsports Racing Team, which also builds his Champ car fielded by Alex Tagliani.

It's quite a resume - or road trip - that Gentilozzi undertakes, along with his real estate concerns, out of Lansing, MI. But Paul was here in Chicago at the auto show that's the largest display of its kind at vast McCormick Place to show off a new toy.

Rocketsports and January North America joined together to celebrate their second Trans-Am championship in 2003 (with Scott Pruett at the controls), by building an XK-RS, a road-going monster of a roadster. And who's going to drive it once complete? Paul Gentilozzi, of course.

Jaguar XK-RS concept car.
Photo by Anne Proffit.
Presented in jet black paint with door-painted Jaguar leaper in a matte black pearl, and with a black/gray leather and carbon fiber interior that includes Johnson Controls Leap seats, and fitted with a full array of new front and rear spoilers, underbody air tunnels, sill extensions, and fixed rear wing, the Jaguar XK-RS concept car looks beautifully fast when static.

And Gentilozzi is convinced he's got a winner here in the 200mph sweepstakes. Flanked at its reveal by the Trans-Am Jaguar R-Performance XKR champion, Paul was joined by an extremely proud Jag VP of Marketing George Ayres. Ayres remarked this new GT celebrates the firm's US racing history since 1938 and its findings will trickle down to upcoming XK road models.

The AJ-V8 engine first raced by Rocketsports and Pruett at the Trans-Am season closer in Puerto Rico is the basis for the XK-RS' powerplant, but the massaged unit is made to run on pump gas even as it hits its stride approaching the 200mph club.

Want stats? Rocketsports has massaged the AJ-V8 with a supercharger after stroking the engine from 4.5 liters to a full 5L. The valve train customized by Gentilozzi's Rocketsports wizards includes Borla stainless headers, Bosch fuel injection, dry sump oiling and a re-engineered rotating assembly.

The result is 550bhp and 500 lb. ft. of torque stirred through a Hewland manual sequential 5-speed transaxle, with 0-60 in 3.9 seconds and a claimed 200mph top speed. While the Trans-Am machine revs to 9000rpm, the concept car is limited to 7500, Gentilozzi says. The Jag XK-RS will corner at better than 1G, he believes.

The XK-RS roadster will stop as well as it goes, with 13" front R- Performance-massaged drilled Brembo brakes front and 11-inchers at the rear. Three-piece center-lock "Machiavelli Gotti 20x10" rims at the front, 20x11" wheels at the back are mated to BF Goodrich gumball tires. It looks nicely nasty.

Of course Rocketsports' XK-RS not quite finished yet and soon will sport a custom hardtop. Gentilozzi says the crew has lopped off nearly 600 pounds of useless weight (about 100 pounds in wiring alone!) and they're still making decisions on whether to include air conditioning on the completed machine.

This is the second prototype built for Jaguar by Rocketsports Racing. The first appeared in 2002 and was the "Racing Concept" version of Jaguar's AWD X-Type. The purpose of that machine was to test the potential of Jaguar's X-Type as a project car for the enthusiast market and was greeted with plenty of enthusiasm everywhere it was displayed.

What does this all mean? Well, it reveals that Paul Gentilozzi insists on having fun in his life and, no, there won't be another one of these built. Paul's keeping the XK-RS all to himself.

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Series AUTOMOTIVE , INDYCAR , TRANSAM