Jaguar has been named as the official car of Sebring International Raceway. The track, in Florida, hosts the opening round of the 2010 American Le Mans Series on the 20th March, the 58th running of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh of Florida.
One of the best known names in Motorsport, Jaguar has had a very successful history in Sports Car Racing, Jaguar won the 1951 Le Mans 24 hours race with the C-Class, a car making its debut, as well as another 4 wins during the 1950's, and then in 1988 and 1990. The company's first North American victory came at Sebring, in the 1955 running of the 12 hours of Sebring.
Tres Stephenson, Sebring Raceway President and General Manager of the circuit said: “Two of the most storied names in motor racing have joined together to form an ideal marketing partnership, we look forward to working with Jaguar to forge a solid long-term relationship.”
Richard Beattie, the Jaguar North American Executive Vice President for Marketing and Sales added: “Jaguar is excited to enter the very competitive ALMS and return to Sebring, where we have a great history, With a competition record in the U.S. reaching back to 1938, it is important that we compete at the highest levels of motorsport.”
The pit tower at the track will be renamed Jaguar Tower as part of the agreement, which honours the marquee's heritage at Sebring. The 1950's and 1960's saw the Race Control tower of the original pit structure named “Jaguar Tower”.
Stephenson then added: “We are pleased to bring back this legendary landmark, The Jaguar name adds even more prestige and tradition to our historic facility.”
The new RSR Jaguar XKR GT will make its Sebring debut in March. The car took the green flag on its ALMS debut in the season finale in October, and is now set for a full campaign in 2010.
The principle partner of Jaguar RSR, Paul Gentilozzi, has a stellar record at Sebring, with a class victory in 1992 and the overall pole position in 1994.
The Managing Director of Jaguar Cars, Mike O'Driscoll said: “Our designers and engineers have taken the best of our standard road-going XKR. With Paul Gentilozzi’s motorsport expertise, we’ve created a first-class competition car.”
“Motorsport has always been important to the Jaguar brand. Our domination of Le Mans in the 1950s was a foundation on which the company was developed,” notes O’Driscoll. “As we look to the future with our new range of high-performance ‘R’ branded cars, we aim to make the Jaguar brand synonymous with motorsports once again.”
Sebring is the oldest road racing circuit in America, established in 1950, and the 12 Hour classic, which has been running since 1952. The 12 hour classic draws in the best sports car teams.
The 2010 running of the race starts at 10.30am on the 20th March, and the gates open at 6am on the 17th March, and will be open 24 hours a day through Saturday.