LANSING, Mich. -- Two-time Trans-Am champion Paul Gentilozzi will again campaign a Jaguar XKR in the 2001 Trans-Am Series. Gentilozzi debuted the XKR last season in Trans-Am competition, his third new marque in as many seasons. In 1999,...
LANSING, Mich. -- Two-time Trans-Am champion Paul Gentilozzi will again campaign a Jaguar XKR in the 2001 Trans-Am Series. Gentilozzi debuted the XKR last season in Trans-Am competition, his third new marque in as many seasons. In 1999, Gentilozzi won the Drivers' Championship driving a Ford Mustang. Gentilozzi's 1998 title came behind the wheel of a Chevrolet Corvette.
Prior to the 2000 season, a Jaguar product last raced in the Trans-Am Series in 1981. Jaguar captured the Trans-Am Manufacturers' Championship in 1978 while Bob Tullius won the Drivers' title in 1977 and 1978 in a Jaguar XJS.
"The level of competition is too close now to start over in a whole new development cycle," said Gentilozzi, who scored three consecutive wins in 2000. "You can only afford to change if you've overcome your competition.
"We'll refine our performance standards rather than redefine them as we have in previous seasons," Gentilozzi continued, who ranks first in all-time Trans-Am top-five finishes and "Fast Five" qualifying efforts. "Our chassis is an on-going development process. We've done a lot of analysis and we're making both structural and geometry changes.
"Besides, according to the fans and media, the Jaguar is the most beautiful car on the Trans-Am circuit," revealed Gentilozzi, who has 17 Trans-Am wins to his credit. "From the car company's perspective, it properly represents its image.
"We've got a tradition here of winning championships," Gentilozzi said, who finished second in the points standings in 2000. "We didn't want to change marques until we've accomplished our mission -- to deliver a championship to Jaguar."
Rocketsports will build three completely new chassis for the 2001 Trans-Am season. Teammate Johnny Miller will compete in a Jaguar XKR and the third chassis will be a back-up car.
No decision has yet been made on which actual body style will be used. "We' re still studying the 2001 body work issue," concluded Gentilozzi.