RE: XKR in Trans Am

RE: XKR in Trans Am

Monday 24th February 2003

XKR in Trans Am

650bhp Jaguar engined, XKR bodied racer prepared for 2003 season


Jaguar are getting involved with Trans-Am racing again this summer thanks to a 650-horsepower Jaguar AJ-V8 engine, developed by Michigan-based Rocketsports Racing.

The 4.5 litre version of Jaguarโ€™s lightweight dual overhead-cam V8 will power one of the teamโ€™s Jaguar XKR-bodied race cars in the 2003 Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich Tires Cup, and will be driven by two-time Trans-Am champion Scott Pruett.

"The last time a Jaguar engine competed in Trans-Am was back in 1981. Its return is long overdue," said Rocketsports Racing team owner, Paul Gentilozzi.

Gentilozzi re-introduced Jaguar to Trans-Am competition during the 2000 season. The following year he drove the Rocketsports Racing XKR to his third Trans-Am title and delivered the coveted Manufacturersโ€™ Championship title to Jaguar.

Earlier this year, Gentilozzi approached Jaguar Cars North America with a proposal to switch from Ford pushrod power to the Jaguar AJ-V8. He was given an enthusiastic reception โ€“ together with a new engine.

Work has already started on developing the racing Jaguar V8 at Rocketsportsโ€™ workshops in Lansing, Michigan. The engine itself is based on the same all-aluminium V8 that powers the XK8 and supercharged XKR sports cars. Rocketsportsโ€™ engineers plan to increase the V8โ€™s capacity from 4.2 to 4.5 litres and to more than double the power output, which is nice.

While the production AJ-V8โ€™s alloy cylinder block and heads will be retained, a new heavy-duty crankshaft will be fitted along with lightweight racing pistons and connecting rods. Modifications will also include custom-made headers and a race fuel injection system.

With its race-tuned AJ-V8 revving to over 9000 rpm, the carbon fibre and Kevlar-bodied racing XKR is going to be quick. The team expects standstill to 60mph sprinting in 3.2 seconds, with quarter-mile acceleration in 10.8 seconds at 135mph, and a top speed of 180mph.

Rocketsports Racing is also building a new XKR race car to wrap around the Jaguar engine. It will feature modified bodywork, including a new DTM-inspired nose, and a dedicated Jaguar livery.

Driver Scott Pruett is no newcomer to Jaguar. He co-drove with Gentilozzi, Brian Simo and Michael Lauer to win the GTS class in the 2002 Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona in a Rocketsports Racing XKR. A decade earlier, he won the same race in a Jaguar XJR12 for the TWR team.

The last Trans-Am involvement for Jaguar was with Bob Tulliusโ€™ Group 44 team in 1981 with its V12-engined XJS race cars. The Trans-Am high point for Jaguar was when Tullius took the Manufacturersโ€™ title in 1978.

Jaguar will have a strong presence in the series this year with at least six XKR-bodied cars racing.

Author
Discussion

sneakybastard

Original Poster:

16 posts

223 months

Monday 24th February 2003
quotequote all
Hopefully they do better than they have in F1

johnnystorm

168 posts

242 months

Thursday 27th February 2003
quotequote all
Me too SneakyB! Then again Jaguar has some (distant) link with kind of racing at least! Even a Jag engine cool!