Apex Motorsport News

Apex extend learning curve with the Jaguar XKR GT3 1st October 2007

The Jaguar XKR GT3 made its British GT debut in the final round of the 2007 Championship at Rockingham Speedway this weekend as part of the continuing development programme set out by Apex Motorsport prior to the car’s full-time entry into international competition next year. Two one-hour races were completed, with a 15th place finish being the best result of the weekend for Chris Ryan and Neil Cunningham.

Two examples of the beautiful, gun-metal grey car were entered for the weekend, enabling the team to gather ever more data and feedback from drivers about the relatively new-to-market car.

In race one on Saturday afternoon, the cars struggled with a few handling issues which hampered their progress through the field, although Phil Keen rose as high as 8th before the mandatory pit stop. He and Northern Irishman, Steven Kane, finished in 17th place, while the CBT-sponsored no. 47 car ended up in 20th place after Chris Ryan had suffered contact from behind due to an over-ambitious overtaking manoeuvre by a competitor.

In Sunday’s second one-hour race, Ryan and Cunningham took the chequered flag in 15th place but were unfortunately the only Jaguar XKR drivers to do so after car 46, supported by Kenmore Homes and QPC Ceramics, retired 12 laps into the race. This followed damage after contact.

We have to view this as an extension of our testing and the more laps you do, the more you learn. It was important that we got to witness the strength of the competition first hand and we’ve achieved that. We know what we’ve got to do to improve the product, and we’ll be focussing on that in the coming months prior to a full season of racing next year.

Richard Lloyd, Apex Motorsport Team Principal

Apex Jaguar XKR GT3 makes a 24 hour debut 11th September 2007

GT3-JaguarIt wasn’t planned that a 24-hour race should be the Jaguar XKR GT3’s first racing appearance of 2007, but that is indeed what happened this past weekend and the car proved itself to be a consistent and worthwhile competitor. It completed 2,226 kilometres of running, and was a regular feature in the top 20 during the first half of the race before a precautionary gearbox change dropped it a little further back in the final classification. It eventually finished 34th overall and 6th in the GT3 class.

After a late decision to enter the Britcar 24 race at Silverstone by Apex Motorsport’s key supporter and first XKR GT3 owner, Stuart Scott, plans and preparations were hastily put in hand. The car was one of 60 entries in the EERC-organised event, with a total of 234 drivers being registered.

A driving team of Scott, his regular team mate Chris Ryan, 2001 Volkswagen Racing Cup Champion Mike Neuhoff and Motorsport magazine editor/Sunday Times journalist, Andrew Frankel was assembled and all performed extremely well amongst the crowded and competitive grid.

We approached this weekend very much as an extended test session. That the car did so well, and finished the race is a real testament to Stuart’s determination and the hard work put in by everyone involved.

Before this weekend’s race, the car had only ever run for an hour continuously. We’d done a great deal of mileage in testing but, by its very nature, test days are very much stop-start affairs in the pursuit of technical progress and development. This was the first time the car has run beyond a full tank of fuel and all the drivers did an excellent job.

We had a few small technical issues, including a noise/exhaust issue which is easily fixed after the event, a couple of punctures and a suspected gearbox problem. We changed the box, entering a bit of uncharted territory, and I’m very happy that we were able to then continue to the end without any major problems.

Richard Lloyd, Apex Team Principal

It was great fun. Before this weekend, I’m sure there were people out there who either didn’t think the car existed, or that it could only run for a short time so it was great to compete and to finish, no matter how many laps behind we were. I felt honoured to be part of the whole Apex team, seeing how they work together and bond over a race period. Chris and I had plenty of time behind the wheel, and Andrew and Mike were both great, the whole thing was absolutely fantastic. It’s a proper race car now; it’s got some battle scars! We had a great weekend and it gave us a lot of optimism for the future. We proved so much, where else could you get that amount of time in the car?

Stuart Scott, XKR GT3 owner 

Apex Jaguar XKR GT3 to make race debut in Britain 19th June 2007

Apex Motorsport’s new GT3 programme has in recent weeks taken significant and major steps forward in the testing and development of the stunning-looking Jaguar XKR GT3, and it has now been decided that the car’s race debut will be made in Britain during the month of July.

Despite the original plan being to enter all five rounds of the FIA GT3 European Championship, delays in the technical development of the car, and in particular the adaptation of the engine for racing purposes, have meant that the car will not now been seen in this Championship until Brno in the Czech Republic in September.

In the interim it is planned that selected British and other GT races will be entered, including the Brands Hatch round of the British GT Championship on 14/15th July, to give both the car and the team an opportunity to gain valuable race miles. The car will also be seen at the Goodwood Festival of Speed over the weekend of 22-24th June when Stuart Scott will be demonstrating the prowess of the car up the famous hill within the Goodwood estate in Sussex.

It is obviously very disappointing that we will not be at Monza in June, but we don’t believe that would be in the best interests of anyone involved in the programme.

At the beginning of the project we started down a road on engine preparation that didn’t turn out to be the correct one for us. We’ve since made a lot of engineering progress, with the help of both AER and Mountune Limited – a division of Roush Technologies – who will now be responsible for all our GT3 engine preparation in the future.

Mountune are specialists in the adaptation of road engines for racing purposes. They, with excellent help and technical input from Jaguar Cars’ own engine department, have taken over the development and build of our engines. They’ve made huge progress since they got involved, but unfortunately there hasn’t been enough time for them to assemble enough parts, build and dyno test the engines.

We are enormously grateful to everyone involved in the programme, and particularly to Stuart Scott, CBT and our other partners, for their continued and unwavering support. We are convinced that when the time comes for the Jaguar XKR GT3 to take to the track it will not only be reliable but also competitive. If that takes time, then time is what we shall give it.

Richard Lloyd, Team Principal of Apex Motorsport

Apex Jaguars denied entry to Silverstone race 4th May 2007

It is with great disappointment that Apex Motorsport has to confirm it will be unable to compete at the opening round of the FIA GT3 European Championship. Entry has been denied the team by the FIA Stewards, as the homologation papers for the Jaguar XKR GT3 were not fully completed within the prescribed time limit.

It is obviously desperately disappointing as we’ve worked 24/7 to be here this weekend. The development process has been tough and relatively short, and parts to be used on the car were being changed until the last minute. In our view, there was little point in homologating parts that we knew would change.

Harry Handkammer of Apex Motorsport

Over 110 pages were submitted to the FIA but the team admitted that there were some small parts still incomplete due to the ever-changing specification of the car.

The cars look fabulous and I’m pleased to say they both passed safety scrutineering with flying colours this morning. I feel desperately disappointed for the fans who now won’t be able to see the Jaguars race on their home soil and for our guys who have worked several ‘all-nighters’ during the past week.

Richard Lloyd, Team Principal