KLAUS GRAF STRONG IN TRANS-AM DEBUT LANSING, Mich. (May 10, 2005) Having never driven one of the 630 horse powered Trans-Am racecars before, Klaus Graf jumped at the opportunity to drive the Rocketsports No. 7 Jaguar R Performance XKR powered by...
KLAUS GRAF STRONG IN TRANS-AM DEBUT
LANSING, Mich. (May 10, 2005) Having never driven one of the 630 horse powered Trans-Am racecars before, Klaus Graf jumped at the opportunity to drive the Rocketsports No. 7 Jaguar R Performance XKR powered by the Jaguar production based AJ-V8 race engine. The 33 year old German Native's resume includes two International drivers' championships, NASCAR, American Le Mans Series, and two starts in the Le Mans 24 Hour race.
In preparation for his debut on the streets of Long Beach, Graf and the Rocketsports team headed to Firebird Raceway in Phoenix, Arizona for a two-day test. Showing his ability to adapt to his new environment, the German Formula Ford champion matched the speed of the four-time Trans-Am champion and team boss, Paul Gentilozzi.
After familiarizing himself to the 1.968-mile street course of Long Beach, Graf topped the speed charts in third round practice setting a lap time of 1:22.780. Starting the Cytomax Challenge from seventh, Graf drove up through the field passing veteran drivers Greg Pickett, Randy Ruhlman, Boris Said, and teammate Tomy Drissi before setting his sights on the 2004 race winner, Gentilozzi. In his debut, Graf set the fastest lap time of the race and led laps in North America's longest running road racing series.
Graf enjoyed the power and performance of the four-valve, fuel injected production based Jaguar engine. "I really enjoyed my first race weekend with the Jaguar AJ-V8 in Long Beach," said Graf. "The power and the drivability of the engine are quite impressive and it's great to be able to change engine mappings and fine tune the engine at the racetrack."
The Rocketsports team will head back west to Portland, Oregon where Graf's learning curve will be shorter. Graf competed on the Portland road course in 2001 driving in ALMS. In 2004, Jaguar swept the podium after Gentilozzi won the Albertson 100, followed by teammate Tomy Drissi and Jorge Diaz in his Rocketsports built Jaguar.
Celebrating their 40th Anniversary in 2005, the Trans-Am series will take to the 1.969-mile Portland International Raceway road course June 18th as part of the G.I Joe's Presents the Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland weekend.