New Jaguar engine unleashed

MIAMI -- Rocketsports team owner and Motorock Trans-Am Tour for the BFGoodrich Tires Cup principal Paul Gentilozzi, along with two-time Tour champion Scott Pruett, tested Jaguar's new 32-valve, overhead cam, fuel-injected 4.5-liter AJ-V8, at a ...

MIAMI -- Rocketsports team owner and Motorock Trans-Am Tour for the BFGoodrich Tires Cup principal Paul Gentilozzi, along with two-time Tour champion Scott Pruett, tested Jaguar's new 32-valve, overhead cam, fuel-injected 4.5-liter AJ-V8, at a special ceremony held yesterday at Putnam Park Road Course in Brownsburg, Ind. The car took several laps around the permanent circuit there as part of an event held by Jaguar in conjunction with the U.S. Grand Prix Formula One race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Although the engine was tested successfully at Putnam Park, it will not race in Sunday's Motorock Miami 100. However, it is expected to run in race trim at the season finale, Oct. 26 at the Puerto Rico Grand Prix, under the hood of Pruett's No. 7 Jaguar XKR.

The engine uses the stock aluminum block and alloy heads from the Jaguar XKR road car. In fact, other than the connecting rods, crankshaft, pistons, injector hat, and ignition system, the engine is completely stock. The engine's stroke has been shortened, and its bore was widened, raising the stock displacement from 4.2 liters to 4.5 liters for the race engine. The engine weighs approximately 100 pounds less than the current corporate pushrod V8 used in the Jaguar XKR and uses an all-new ignition system developed by Rocketsports and Bosch. It will rev to 9,000 rpms, up from 8,200 in the current engine. It also uses a dry-sump oil system.

"This is the future of the Trans-Am Tour," said Gentilozzi, a three-time Drivers' Champion himself. "To be able to make this engine viable, it has to competitive. This is not an exercise in engineering. We know that the current 311-cubic-inch spec will not work in the future. We're the only racing series that uses it, and it really isn't what the car companies are developing. No production car is made with a carburetor any more. This engine uses a stock block and heads, and parts are readily available. Plus, Jaguar has a huge history that gets lost a little bit with the current corporate pushrod V8.

"Other manufacturers are interested in this program and that's really what we're doing here, looking for manufacturer support," added Gentilozzi. "This is being done to get more manufacturer involvement. That's what we're trying to do here. If you can get two or more competing marques, then you have something."

"It ran really smooth, had a flat torque curve and wasn't peaky," said Pruett, who turned laps yesterday at Putnam Park. "It really was pretty impressive considering this was its first outing, and we were being very conservative. As we put more time and more miles on this engine, it will get more and more competitive. We all remember the late 1980s and early 1990s, when the manufacturer involvement in the Trans-Am Tour was strong, and we had huge car counts. This engine is the start of the Series opening back up, and will bring back the manufacturers. This really is the future of where the Trans-Am Tour needs to be."

Qualifying is scheduled for tomorrow at 11:30 a.m. The Motorock Miami 100 is scheduled to start at approximately 4 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 28. The race will air on a tape-delayed basis on SPEED on Friday, Oct. 10 at 9 p.m. Eastern Time.

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About this article
Series Trans-Am
Drivers Scott Pruett , Paul Gentilozzi