JaguarRSR press release
LEWIS AND JAMES ADDED TO JaguarRSR LINE UP FOR PETIT LE MANS
EAST LANSING, Michigan (September 23, 2011) – JaguarRSR is ready to pursue its last endurance event of the year, the 2011 American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patron season finale – Petit Le Mans, October 2. The Road Atlanta event is the second longest endurance race on the schedule, 1,000 miles or ten hours. The team will add a third driver in each of the two JaguarRSR XKR GTs entered for the event, and welcomes Sports Car veteran and popular driver Shane Lewis and former ALMS champion in LMP2, Ian James.
A third driver is important when dissecting the way the driver stints occur in the 10-hour event. Taking into consideration not only the length of the race, but also how difficult the Road Atlanta track is on its own combined with 53 of the fastest prototype and sports cars in the world, the team wants to have the most well-rested individual possible driving the car at all times. Lewis will join PJ Jones and Rocky Moran, Jr. behind the wheel of the #98 JaguarRSR XKR GT, and James will team up with Bruno Junqueira and Ken Wilden in the #99 car.
To have a good car for the Petit Le Mans isn’t that different than what we did at Laguna Seca.
The team had a quick turn-over to get ready for the big finale after last weeks event at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The XKR racer ran the full six-hour event and demonstrated some promising things in terms of reliability.
“To have a good car for the Petit Le Mans isn’t that different than what we did at Laguna Seca,” said John Gentilozzi, JaguarRSR Technical Director. “However, at Road Atlanta the corners are all tied together. You really have to work on the cars ability to transition between left and right, and with the higher speeds you concentrate a little more on braking performance and horsepower. To be successful in the race you need to be able to run a good, consistent pace and stay out of trouble. You can really do well by just finishing the race.”
Gentilozzi continued, “We were fortunate to have tested earlier in the season at Road Atlanta with our tire partner Dunlop. We were able to run the tire combination we will use for the race as well as work on the setup. That gives us a lot of confidence that we can unload a competitive car to start the event.”
GT Qualifying for the 14th annual Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda will take place on Friday, September 30 at 2:55 pm ET. The race will take the green flag on Saturday, Oct. 1. The race will air on ABC at 4 p.m. ET on Sunday, Oct. 2. Live qualifying and race coverage will be available in the U.S. on ESPN3 or outside the U.S. on americanlemans.com.
WHAT THEY HAVE TO SAY
Ian James, co-driver of the #99 JaguarRSR XKR GT
“It is an honor to be driving for the JaguarRSR team and the #99 car at Petit Le Mans. Being British, driving for such a marque steeped in patriotic history really is a fulfillment of a long held ambition. The RSR team seems to have really got to grips with the car and I look forward to experiencing the car firsthand. I have raced the Petit Le Mans on numerous occasions with a class pole position in 2004. This will be my sixth Petit Le Mans start and I am hoping to get on the podium in what is truly one of the great endurance races. Road Atlanta is one of the most picturesque circuits in the world with rolling hills and elevation changes. Both rewarding and challenging, especially with the estimated 53 starters in this year’s race. I hope to provide a positive contribution to the team and get a result we can all be proud of.”
PJ Jones, co-driver of the #98 JaguarRSR XKR GT
“I have raced at Road Atlanta during my GTP days and I have done a lot of NASCAR testing there. I like the race track; it is fast and offers a great challenge to us as drivers. I am very excited about making my first Petit Le Mans and I hope we can have the consistency we need to finish the race – it will be a long, hard one but we did it at Sebring, and I don’t see why we can’t do again in Atlanta.
Bruno Junqueira, co-driver of the #99 JaguarRSR XKR GT
"This is going to be my first Petit Le Mans race. I did a one-day test at Road Atlanta with the team and I loved the track. It was a great opportunity also for me to get familiar with the track since it was my first time. Now I am ready for the main event, we had a good pace in the test and I hope we can have a great race and finish the season strong."
Shane Lewis, co-driver of the #98 JaguarRSR XKR GT
“It is a true pleasure to be driving for JaguarRSR. Paul (Gentilozzi) and his organization have had so many years of great success and I can’t wait to add to that history. To be driving the Jaguar XKR, one of the most iconic bands in the automotive world at one of the most prestigious races in the world, well it just doesn't get any better than this! This will be my seventh race start at the Petite Le Mans event. I have come so close so many times to winning this event in the past. I have several race wins, poles and fastest race laps in other events here, but want that win at Petit. Road Atlanta is one of the most challenging tracks in North America offering big elevation changes, coupled with high-speed corners and technical braking zones. It is the gold standard for what drivers look for in a track. Petit Le Mans is a very grueling event. It’s an endurance race that is run flat out all the time. The track changes through the day and night and there are multiple car classes, which means traffic at every corner. To finish well here survival is as important as performance. I want to see that checkered flag at the finish. We do that and it will be a great success.”
Rocky Moran, Jr., co-driver of the #98 JaguarRSR XKR GT
“This will be my first time at Road Atlanta. I have heard so many great things about this track and I really enjoy high speed, flowing road courses. This is a track I have wanted to race at for over ten years, so I can't wait to jump in the #98 JaguarRSR XKR GT and go to battle for a full 1000-mile race. This is my first Petit Le Mans event, so I look forward to the increased car count and deeper overall fields that will come with this prestigious event. We are overdue for some better luck and after finishing the 12 Hours of Sebring early in the year, I see no reason why we cannot do it again and record our best finish of the season. The entire team and crew has worked so hard, I really want to thank them with a great finish at this last event, so we can conclude on a high note and build momentum for 2012.”
Ken Wilden, co-driver of the #99 JaguarRSR XKR GT
“My first race at Road Atlanta was in a Formula Atlantic car and I have also driven some Grand-Am sports cars there over the years. This is the first time that I will compete in the famous Petit Le Mans event. Road Atlanta has such a good history behind it which is nice. The track seems like a good mix of rhythm slow stuff and high speed with elevation, so you really get everything you could ever want from a track. We had a very good test with Jaguar here; that combined with what we have learned since then should help us be very competitive. We need to finish and run damage free; this will be a very busy race with 53 cars. I would like to see a top-six finish so we can have some momentum going into next year.”