Paul Gentilozzi and his JaguarRSR team are ready to begin their first full American Le Mans Series (ALMS) presented by Tequila Patron season, as they and their XKR GT machine prepare to make their 12 Hours of Sebring debut.
The team, which debuted in the series at last year's finale will contest the super competitive GT2 class, which also includes factory backed efforts by Porsche, Corvette, Ferrari and BMW in a 13 car field. Gentilozzi, drafted in a third driver in the longest ALMS race of the season will join Scot Ryan Dalziel and Belgian Marc Goossens behind the wheel.
Running in the traditional black and green colours the car will run as no.75, reflecting the 75 years of the Jaguar name, an anniversiary the squad hope to do justice both in America and Europe with their entry into the Le Mans 24 Hours in June.
However, while the team will be making their Sebring bow, both the drivers and Jaguar have a successful past at the Floridian endurance event.
Jaguar have one past overall win in their 75 years, though you have to search back to 1955 and a Jaguar D-Type to find it. Gentilozzi topped the GT2 class more recently, in 1992, driving a Bob Riley designed car en route to sweeping both the drivers' and manufacturers' title that year. JaguarRSR will hope to continue that success, with Riley's eponymous technology company joining the team to help develop the new car.
“The 12 hours of Sebring is part of the world’s culture for sports car racing,” says Gentilozzi. “Each sport has its cornerstone events that define history. In the world of endurance sports car racing we have two of those in our series, the 24 hours of Le Mans and the 12 Hours of Sebring. These races are respected for their technical and competitive challenges as being world class.”
“The [Sebring] track design, historical pavement conditions, fog, campfire smoke and grueling pace make it a special challenge. Having competed there over the last thirty years I have learned that taming it is out of the question, a peaceful co-existence and luck are the requirement for success.”
Gentilozzi's teammates also have experience of the infamously bumpy 3.7mile track.
Goossens has made five starts in the race, his best result coming on his debut when he finished third overall in 2002; Dalziel has only one previous start coming in 2005 in GT1 Corvette. However, the Scot's endurance racing CV also includes an overall win in the other famous Floridian endurance race – the 24 Hours of Daytona.
“I am so excited to get back to Sebring for the 12hour,” he says. “I remember being blown away at the huge crowds and the energy inside the track. Not only for race day, but the whole week leading up to it.”
“Getting to go back to Sebring driving for JaguarRSR is very special and I know that we will have many Jaguar fans there, looking for us to mix it up with the likes of Porsche, BMW, Ferrari and Corvette. Hopefully we give them something to cheer about.”