Jaguar returns to Le Mans
Dubai, June 9, 2010
Jaguar, the British luxury car manufacturer, will return to the classic Le Mans 24-hour race on June 12 to mark its 75th anniversary.
It will compete with its stunning Jaguar XKR GT2 sports car alongside the world’s leading endurance racers at the circuit where the marquee claimed seven race wins between 1951 and 1990.
“Motorsport has always been important to Jaguar,” said Mike O’Driscoll, managing director of Jaguar Cars.
“Our domination of Le Mans in the 1950s was a foundation stone in our history and our success in the late ’80s and early ’90s reinforced our reputation as one of the great sports car manufacturers.
“As we look to the future with our new range of high performance ‘R’-branded cars - the XKR and XFR - we aim to make the Jaguar brand synonymous with motorsports once again. It’s good to be back."
The XKR GT2 racer competing at Le Mans is being run by JaguarRSR, and shares many of the basic components and technologies with the road-going XKR.
Jointly developed by Jaguar’s engineering and design groups and the RSR team, the racer features the road car’s lightweight aluminium body structure and a tuned version of its 5.0-litre supercharged AJ133 V8 engine developing in excess of 500 horsepower.
Drivers Marc Goossens, Ryan Dalziel and Paul Gentilozzi will be piloting the car during the punishing 24-hour race, having gained initial experience with the vehicle during the American Le Mans Series events earlier during 2010.
Belgian driver Goossens is vastly experienced in sportscar racing, and has competed at Le Mans on nine previous occasions.
“As a sportscar driver, the Le Mans 24 Hour race provides the greatest challenge, so competing in the American Le Mans Series events has provided valuable training,” said Goossens.
“It is a great honour to be selected as one of the drivers for Jaguar’s return to Le Mans.”
Teammate Dalziel, born in Scotland, will bring extensive experience in single-seaters and sportscars, but will be racing at Le Mans for the first time.
“It has always been my dream to compete at Le Mans, and, as a British driver, to be at the wheel of a Jaguar makes it even more special,” said Dalziel. “It will be without doubt the highlight of my racing career.”
The trio of drivers is completed by the American Paul Gentilozzi, one of the principal partners of the JaguarRSR team, who is making his third appearance at Le Mans in the GT2 class.
“It is great to return to Le Mans after 15 years, and I look forward to the chance to drive there again,” said Gentilozzi.
“The track is like no other in the world. It is a challenge to every driver, but I know I have exceptionally talented team-mates, and we will do the best we can out there in the XKR GT2 with race number 81!” he concluded. – TradeArabia News Service