RSR Jaguar ALMS GT2 gears up for 2010 assault
Debut, test, first race: with those initial milestones out of the way, RSR continues to focus on preparation for 2010, which will see the team field an RSR built Jaguar XKR GT in the 2010 American Le Mans Series (ALMS) championship.
After the RSR Jaguar XKR GT's first event, the 2009 season finale for the ALMS at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California, the team returned to its East Lansing, Michigan-based race shop ready to measure up the results and begin the development process.
"Since the announcement of our partnership with Jaguar at Long Beach we have been focused on putting the RSR Jaguar XKR GT on the track," said Paul Gentilozzi, RSR Team Owner / Driver. "Now we can focus on making it faster and even more reliable. We have the time to improve the performance of the car as we prepare for the grueling 12 Hours of Sebring in March to kick off our 2010 assault."
In the first of several planned trips to the wind tunnel, with the Jaguar XKR GT, RSR's engineering staff got a validating glimpse into the aerodynamic performance predicted by Jaguar Engineers in their CFD planning of the car. RSR engineers needed to get a good estimate of how much drag and downforce the car is making. Now that the Jaguar XKR GT has been to the wind tunnel, RSR can feed those results back to the aero dynamists at Jaguar, where they can interpret that information versus the CFD simulation.
On the engine side, the AJ-133 has had ample time for additional dynamometer development. The ongoing process is important in competition and leads to improving the engine's on-track integration. In an on-track environment, judgments can be made about the tuning and drivability of the engine that can't be observed in the race shop.
RSR is confirmed for a test in Sebring, Florida in late-November with its tire partner Yokohama. Tire testing is essential as the RSR Jaguar GT transfers information about the requirements of Yokohama's tires in both sprint and endurance configurations and analyzes how improvements can be made for 2010 ALMS season. Each day of testing yields not only information about the current status in the development of the tire performance, but it also gives engineers from both RSR and Yokohama new data for the best utilization of Yokohama's current compounds and constructions.
In the midst of all the preparation and testing behind the scenes, the #33 RSR Jaguar XKR GT will have some face time while on display at the LA Auto Show, December 4-12, at the Yokohama display.
"When you are in the race season, it is more about what is going to improve the performance at the next race," Gentilozzi commented. "The offseason is about what is going to improve everything about our operation. It is not just about the car, now is the time that you work on the pit equipment and all those other tasks that you wouldn't normally work on during the race season. The offseason is just as busy as the regular season, however the intensity changes. It requires a different kind of focus and a little more patience. There is no immediate reward for your work in the offseason; you are not going to go to a race and win. You are going to go to a test and improve drivability or take a couple tenths of a second off your average lap time. The work that gets done now pays dividends throughout the entire season."
All of these RSR activities will ultimately lead up to the start of the 2010 American Le Mans Series season. Winter testing for the ALMS will take place at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Florida on February 22 - 23, 2010. For the 11th time, the ALMS series will open its season at America's greatest sports car race - the 58th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida. No race in the world punishes man and machine more than the annual 12-hour classic which attracts thousands and thousands of spectators each year.