Another milestone for the JaguarRSR XKR GT as it completed its first endurance run at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca during the six-hour American Le Mans Series Monterey Presented by Patron race.
Taking the green flag on Saturday afternoon with Marc Goossens behind the wheel, the #75 JaguarRSR XKR GT ran reasonable times and made gains in track position. On Lap 54, two hours into of the race, Goossens came in after making his way to the ninth spot in the GT class to end his first stint. With a quick driver change, efficient pit work by the JaguarRSR crew, things were looking good to continue a solid top-ten run.
But as Dalziel went to restart the car, it failed to power up. An alternator belt failure, which caused the battery power to be lower than normal prevented the car from starting. The crew had to work diligently to change the unresponsive battery costing valuable time. It was the end to a very positive run, but not the end of the day.
“The #75 JaguarRSR XKR GT had pretty good balance but we still seem to be struggling with finding overall grip,” said Goossens. “Towards the end of the race, the track got better and our times were faster. I think it was good for us doing consistent runs and learning as much as we can about the car during this weekend. Unfortunately with the battery going early on we lost quite a few laps which took away a bit of the challenge away. But it is good that it happened now so we can start looking into it and find the issues for Le Mans, and that is what we are doing this for.”
The XKR GT would complete a total of 191 laps around the 2.238-mile permanent road course, taking the checkered flag to finish 29th overall, 13th in GT class. Goossens posted the XKR GT’s best lap of the race and the weekend with a time of 1:26.079. The Belgian drove the car from laps 1-54, Dalziel ran a long stint in the middle from laps 55 – 133, with Goossens climbing back in to take the checkered flag. By completing 70% of the class winners’ race distance, the JaguarRSR team has earned its first points in the 2010 ALMS season.
Dalziel added, “Overall it was very good; we finished the race – that was the goal. The #75 JaguarRSR showed great pace at times during the race. We seem a bit closer in race trim and definitely closer in cooler conditions. Going forward to Le Mans we finished six hours and that is the first hurdle jump. I had a great, steady car that was easy to drive. Marc (Goossens) did a great job; the whole team did a great job today.”
There have been its fair share of ups and downs for the team, but leaving this weekend having the car take the green and checkered flag in yet and another event, an endurance event for that matter, one couldn’t help but understand Gentilozzi’s smile and the crew’s contentment.
“It wasn’t pretty, but again the thing that kept us from developing the car was finishing days, tests and events,” said Gentilozzi. “We had a great 500 mile test and now we have gone six hours. Had it not been for the alternator belt failure, we would have finished much better. And now we know that our margin is really less than 2%, we are 98% of the guys in the lead and we will keep ticking away at that until we get to the top.”
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