February 6, 2004
Chicago auto show
Jaguar unveils hot XKR concept
Chicago, Illinois – Jaguar revealed the most powerful road-going Jaguar convertible ever produced – the 550 horsepower XK-RS concept car. The car was developed by Michigan-based Rocketsports Racing in cooperation with Jaguar North America.
“At Rocketsports, we’re very familiar with Jaguar’s XKR sports car, having won the Trans-Am Manufacturers’ Championship two times with this beautiful, fast car,” said Rocketsports Racing owner, Paul Gentilozzi. “We think the XKR makes a great foundation for high-performance tuning. The XK-RS concept is just one dramatic interpretation of the many directions in which the car can be taken,” he added.
Engineers at Rocketsports’ Lansing, Michigan workshop took the already-potent Jaguar AJ-V8 Trans-Am race engine and increased its displacement by stroking it out from 4.5 litres to 5.0 litres. To ensure drivability, the engineers reinstalled an Eaton supercharger to deliver an estimated 550 bhp and 500 lb. ft. of torque, giving the car the power to accelerate from standstill to 60 mph in under four seconds, and take it to a top speed of 200 mph.
“Many of the lessons we learned in developing the 650 bhp normally aspirated Jaguar AJ-V8 race engine for the R-Performance XKR Trans-Am race car were incorporated in the engine for the XK-RS,” explained Gentilozzi.
To make the car more involving for the sports car enthusiast, the standard six-speed ZF automatic transmission was replaced with a six-speed manual transaxle. Re-positioning the driveline weight to the rear of the car also results in a perfect 50:50 weight balance for improved handling.
Rocketsports also used the team’s considerable expertise in high-speed aerodynamics with its Jaguar XKR Trans-Am racecars, modifying the production XKR’s body to ensure ground-hugging stability at very high speeds.