HOUSTON, Texas, October 6, 2001 -- Jaguar North America, Paul Gentilozzi and Rocketsports Racing celebrated dual championships at the Trans-Am Series season finale event Saturday. Gentilozzi clinched the drivers' title with a fourth place finish in the Texaco/Havoline Houston Grand Prix, adding to the manufacturers' championship he and four other XKR drivers secured for Jaguar earlier in the season.
"Jaguar's success in winning the Series' manufacturers' championship is due to the hard work and relentless effort of all the drivers campaigning Jaguar XKRs," said Sue Callaway, vice president and general manager, Jaguar North America. "Paul's success in the Drivers' Championship is significant to Jaguar, not only because he's chosen to do it in a Jaguar, but because he's done so much to encourage others to do the same. Without his efforts, the Manufacturers' Championship would never have been ours."
This is the first time a Jaguar driver has won the drivers' championship and the manufacturers' championship in the same season, since Bob Tullius won both with a factory-supported XJ-S in 1978.
"It's a real honor for me to win this championship with Jaguar," said, three-time Trans-Am titleist, Gentilozzi. "They have a great racing heritage, and now we're a part of that history."
Gentilozzi's teammate, Johnny Miller vied with him for the drivers' championship through to Saturday's final race and ran in the top three for much of the day. After late-race troubles, however, Miller finished tenth, placing him third in the final points standing. Mike Lewis of American Spirit Racing, Tomy Drissi and Dan Miller of TDM Motorsports all contributed points to the manufacturers' title by campaigning Jaguar bodied cars throughout the season.
This season was the first time in the company's history, that Jaguar took a sponsorship role in the 36 year-old Trans-Am Series. The company's contingency support at each race weekend has focused on recognizing the fastest drivers in the Trans Am Championship, qualifying session prior to the race. The fastest qualifier at each Trans-Am race this season was awarded a key to the all-new Jaguar X-Type sport sedan. In addition, each Jaguar driver qualifying for and starting at least two races automatically received a key. Each of the key holders will have the opportunity to open the door of an X-Type at the Trans-Am Series end-of-season banquet in Houston Sunday evening. The driver whose key opens the car will keep it.
The Trans-Am Series is the premier form of professional closed-roof performance coupe and sedan road racing in North America and is the longest running road-racing series in North America. The Series runs many of its races in conjunction with the CART FedEx Series.