(from Ford Press Release) The most
powerful road-going Jaguar convertible ever – the 550 horsepower XK-RS
concept car – was unleashed at the 2004 Chicago Auto Show today.
Developed by Michigan-based Rocketsports Racing in cooperation with
Jaguar North America, the XK-RS concept demonstrates how Jaguar’s luxury
GT road car can be transformed into a thundering 200-mph supercar.
"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 liters to 5.0 liters.
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
To make the car more involving for the sports car enthusiast, the
standard six-speed ZF automatic transmission was replaced with a
five-speed manual transaxle. Re-positioning the driveline weight to the
rear of the car also results in a perfect 50:50 weight balance for
Rocketsports also used the team’s considerable expertise in high-speed
aerodynamics with its Jaguar XKR Trans-Am race cars, modifying the
production XKR’s body to ensure ground-hugging stability at very high
Special underbody air tunnels running the length of the car were
created, along with deeper front and rear spoilers, wider wheel arches
and aero-style sill sections similar to those featured on the
specially-developed XKR that starred in last year’s James Bond
adventure, ‘Die Another Day’.
When tested in the wind tunnel, the changes are expected to result in a
100 percent increase in aerodynamic downforce at top speed compared to
the standard car.
The production XKR’s suspension was also modified to ensure supercar
handling. The changes include the addition of coil-over high-performance
Penske shocks. To give the concept the kind of stopping power that
matches its anticipated grip, R-Performance Brembo calipers with drilled
rotors (13-inch front/12-inch rear) were added.
And no 200 mph supercar would be complete without a dramatic wheel and
tire combination. The XK-RS comes fitted with three-piece wheels -
center-lock 'Machiavelli Gotti' – 20-inch x 10-inch at the front,
20-inch x 11-inch at the rear – shod with high-performance Michelin
Inside, the XK-RS features body-hugging Johnson Controls "Leap" seats
clad in black leather with medium grey inserts.
To complete the bold appearance, the concept is painted in rich black
lacquer. Along each side, Pearl Black Jaguar ‘leaper’ graphics echo
those used on Rocketsports Racing’s XKR race cars.
"The XK-RS concept is one more example of our strong relationship with
Paul Gentilozzi and Rocketsports Racing," said George Ayres, vice
president of Marketing for Jaguar North America. "The XK-RS uses
Rocketsports’ considerable race car expertise to create this dramatic,
one-off concept car."
The XK-RS is Rocketsports' second Jaguar project car. In 2002,
Rocketsports created the purposeful ‘Racing Concept’ version of Jaguar’s
all-wheel drive X-TYPE. The dramatic-looking concept race car was
developed to test the potential of Jaguar’s X-TYPE as a project car for
the enthusiast market.