JAGUAR XKR GT TO MAKE ITS DEBUT ON THE STREETS OF LONG BEACH EAST LANSING, Michigan (April 13, 2010) - Last year, RSR Principal Partner Paul Gentilozzi attended the Tequila Patron American Le Mans Series at Long Beach event to unveil the...
JAGUAR XKR GT TO MAKE ITS DEBUT ON THE STREETS OF LONG BEACH
EAST LANSING, Michigan (April 13, 2010) - Last year, RSR Principal Partner Paul Gentilozzi attended the Tequila Patron American Le Mans Series at Long Beach event to unveil the JaguarRSR program which was formed to build and race the Jaguar XKR in the American Le Mans Series GT2 category. This year, the #75 JaguarRSR XKR GT will make its debut on the streets of Long Beach. Jaguar enthusiasts may be used to seeing the production car soar through downtown streets, but not its high performance racing counterpart.
LB prerace image Long Beach is the American street circuit. There is Monaco, Macau and there is Long Beach. The event has been around since 1977, it is an iconic race in a huge market and nothing matches its atmosphere. This weekend will be the team's first race with the JaguarRSR XKR GT on the 1.968-mile, 11-turn temporary street course, but its drivers, engineers, and crew have had previous experience there and know what to expect.
Behind the wheel will be Long Beach victors Gentilozzi and Ryan Dalziel. Gentilozzi earned his first professional victory in Long Beach back in 1988, the first of many victories not only at Long Beach, but in his legendary Trans-Am career. Dalziel's primary experience comes from his open-wheel racing days, which saw him win from the pole in 2004 while competing in Formula Atlantics.
As a team owner, Gentilozzi has recorded five poles totaling eight front row starts (back-to-back poles from 2001 - 2004, followed by a 2nd in qualifying in 2005 in a Jaguar XKR), five victories (two in a Jaguar XKR), nine podiums (six in a Jaguar XKR) in 13 years of competition in the Trans-Am Series at Long Beach. Some of the crew members from those days are still with Gentilozzi, in addition to engineers and mechanics that complete the JaguarRSR team with various backgrounds from the Champ Car, Trans-Am, and ALMS series - all of which have had Long Beach on their schedule throughout the years.
Of all the events on the 2010 American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patron, Round 2 has the shortest duration; not only the race, but the event weekend in general. There is limited track time before the race takes the green flag on Saturday afternoon. There will be two practice sessions totaling in two hours and 30 minutes before the #75 JaguarRSR XKR GT will qualify on Friday afternoon. The one hour and 40 minute Tequila Patron American Le Mans Series at Long Beach will see the green flag at 4:40 p.m. PDT Saturday, April 17.
Ryan Dalziel, co-Driver of the #75 JaguarRSR XKR GT
"I think that Sebring was very disappointing for everyone at JaguarRSR so the guys in East Lansing, Michigan have worked some very long days since then to make improvements to our on track performance. I know we will be taking a huge step forward, and going into a slightly shorter race will benefit us. I just can't wait to get on that plane to LA.
I am so excited about going back to Long Beach to race the Jaguar RSR XKR GT2. I remember like it was yesterday, my first race in America was there back in 2002, driving in Formula Atlantics. I was blown away by how they transformed city streets into a race track as awesome as that. I have been fortunate to race there 5 times, 2002-2004 in Formula Atlantics (winning from Pole in 2004), 2006 in Grand American Rolex Series and lastly 2007 in the Champ Car World Series. 2004 was very special for me; winning the race from Pole and leading every lap to victory. 2007 was also pretty special because coming to America in 2002 my ambition was to pursue a Champ Car career, and racing at Long Beach in a Champ Car for sure fulfilled my goals. Every car I have driven there has been an amazing experience and its one of those events that I have a huge smile on my face when I think about going. It's a very unique event and probably one of the more glamorous off track events we have in America. It's a beautiful city and I very much enjoy being there and enjoying the event every bit as much as driving it."
Paul Gentilozzi, co-Driver of the #75 JaguarRSR XKR GT
"The guys have been working very hard to resolve any issues we discovered in Sebring and move forward getting the #75 JaguarRSR XKR GT ready for the streets of Long Beach. We are going to have to take advantage of every on-track second we have, because there is not a lot of that available this weekend before the race. But we will focus every effort into getting the car setup ready so we can have a good race on Saturday.
Twenty two years ago the Long Beach Grand Prix became my first professional victory and a race track I could always count on for a great performance. I have made fourteen Long Beach appearances with five victories and eight front-row starts and ten top-ten finishes, since that eventful Trans Am victory. A victory that changed my racing life forever."
LAP AROUND THE STREET CIRCUIT AT LONG BEACH by Paul Gentilozzi
Long Beach track map The track has gone through some changes as the city has grown around the major streets of Ocean Blvd., Pine Street and Shoreline. The areas once blighted by urban change are again full of high rise life, restaurants and people enjoying the view of one of the world's largest seaports.
What has not changed is the front straight that arcs along Shoreline and that has been exciting Southern California race fans for more than thirty years.
While Shoreline represents one of the longest street tracks front straights you can only take advantage of it if you get a great head start. That straight begins with the last corner of the famous track referred by most as the "hairpin". It is there I have chosen to start my lap description.
On a qualifying lap the right technique for the Shoreline straight is to actually miss the proper hairpin line and go deep into the corner rotating the car to give yourself a longer run and better acceleration to the start line, the lap actually starts before you trip the timer. With this straight you need to be fast all the way down not pinching the turn radius to scrub off speed, as you can see the Pine street sign you have to release the steering wheel allowing the car to free up any chassis restriction on your acceleration.
Turn one is looming and every experienced driver here has his own brake points, the key element as you cross the Pine St. bump is to stay on the grip portion of the track and not induce any lateral motion. Turn one is a 2nd gear left-hander that allows you to carry more speed than newcomers appreciate. The downside is the outside wall doesn't move an inch if impacted. As soon as you feel good lateral grip it is important to feed throttle for the run to the "fountain". Braking into the fountain turn is something many over estimate, the surface is uneven and crowned, if you carry too much speed in you will miss this 270 degree rotation and cost a lot of lap time.
Getting the right front wheel on the inside curbing is essential for proper rotation and to avoid push, when done properly you come an inch from the left side wall and the car has a short burst of throttle before a lift and light brake for the turn four right hander. This turn also allows momentum and leads to a good straight with acceleration. The right hander at turn five is likely the place where experience gives advantage. The turn covers five lanes of street with two crowns a dirty outer edge and another immovable wall, when done right it feels seamless and fast.
Going back the opposite direction on Shoreline you accelerate through three gears for turn six, it is very similar to five with many pavement and camber changes. With the years of experience you can deduce your own markers and fence breaks for acceleration down the hill on Pine. The turn seven brake zone is high on the list of accidents and braking mistakes, the natural off camber is affected by pavement changes and a downhill entry that causes over zealous behavior. Couple wide lanes with aggressive competitors and you get a crash zone much like turn one. The key to all of this is forget the entry speed to get exit speed, this corner is the beginning of the back straight and is critical to lap times.
Turn nine is a matter of personal preference, if you go outside it is bumpy and slippery, if you go inside there is more grip but harder to rotate the car, you see every strategy here. The key is allowing yourself an acceleration zone on the way to the sweeping radius called turn ten, many are afraid of acceleration here as a mistake ends up in the outside wall, trust comes with experience and that makes lap times. This sweeping right takes us to our point of the beginning, the hairpin.
Many complain and say it is too this or that, for me it is a classic challenge that can determine your ability to hold the lead, rub fenders with a car trying to pass or just not make a mistake and bang the wall. You will see again many techniques for this turn, we all think we are doing it right; the run to the finish line is the only true judge.
FOLLOW THE RACE
The Tequila Patron American Le Mans Series at Long Beach is the second round of the 2010 American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patron. The race, set at the historic Long Beach street circuit, is scheduled for 4:40 p.m. PT on Saturday, April 17 with coverage on SPEED set for 8 to 10 p.m. ET. Live radio coverage will be available on American Le Mans Radio - a production of Radio Show Limited - as well as Sirius Channel 127 and XM Channel 245. Visit the Series' schedule page for ticket and accommodation information. Live Timing and Scoring, track schedule, entry list and much, much more will be available on Racehub at americanlemans.com.
International coverage: Watch highlights of the Long Beach GP on Motors TV (Sky Channel 413, Virgin Media 545) on Sunday 25 April at 6pm (BST).