Emil Frey Jaguar Racing celebrated a successful weekend with the GT3 Jaguar at the season opener of the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup at the Italian track of Monza. Following a string of bad luck in recent years, the #54 GT3 Jaguar with the drivers Alex Fontana, Mikael Grenier and Adrian Zaugg achieved its goal by winning the Silver Cup and securing a phenomenal fifth place overall when crossing the finishing line.
The competitiveness for the first shakedown of the 2018 Endurance Cup was intense with a total of 54 GT3 cars. But the GT3 Jaguar shown already with a great performance in Free Practice on Saturday with third overall and P1 in the Silver Cup ranking. The Jaguar team underlined these lap times around the 5.793-km-long track with a fantastic second place in qualifying on Sunday morning, following excellent laps by all three drivers.
The Swiss Alex Fontana took to the task of starting the Emil Frey GT3 Jaguar from the front row for the very first time. Despite a huge starting grid, the run up to the first chicane went without any issues and Fontana remained in second place for the next 50 minutes, until he had to let the #4 Mercedes-AMG GT3 pass after the re-start following a Full-Course-Yellow.
After the first pitstop and driver change on lap 32, team-mate Adrian Zaugg re-joined the race in third behind the leading #72 Ferrari and the #4 Mercedes-AMG GT3. After a solid stint, Zaugg had briefly taken the lead before pitting on lap 65 for the final driver change. Mikael Grenier took over the wheel for the final stint and was running in fifth place overall and leading the Silver Cup.
The team of the #54 GT3 Jaguar did not let go of the Silver Cup win and the outstanding fifth overall position until the finishing line. Emil Frey Jaguar Racing finally ended its bad luck at Monza with this great result, saying goodbye to the Italian race track with an extraordinary race.
The next race for the Jaguar team will take place on home turf: the next Endurance Cup of the Blancpain GT Series is taking place from 18 until 20 May 2018 at the “Home of British Motorsport” in Silverstone (England).
Team Quotes Emil Frey Jaguar Racing
Lorenz Frey, Team Principal Emil Frey Racing
„We were pleased with the progress of the GT3 Jaguar following the winter testing and we set our goal to have a satisfying race with our GT3 Jaguar here at Monza. We succeeded impressively! The whole team worked very well together and the drivers did a great job, too. With this strong performance we are now heading even more motivated to our home race at the next Endurance Cup at Silverstone.“
Jürg Flach, Technical Director Emil Frey Racing
„We lost a lot of time during the test session on Friday due to a technical issue. However, we worked more on the Setup, the braking stability and the understeering on Saturday and improved further. I never expected to make such a big jump from yesterday to P2 in qualifying. There was only one issue with the radio during the FCY, otherwise the result would have been even better. The team did an outstanding job and P1 in the Silver Cup and fifth overall is well-deserved after many years of hard work!“
Driver Quotes Emil Frey Jaguar Racing #54
Alex Fontana (CH)
“It´s not only that we did not make any mistakes, we continuously improved in every session. We already had good lap times on Saturday and we brought everything together for qualifying, especially our strategy since I was alone on the track for two laps. The GT3 Jaguar is a fantastic car to drive, in fact it is one of the best GT3 cars I have ever driven around Monza. I almost took the lead at the start of the race, but I did not want to risk anything. We had a good pace in the race and I am very happy about the result.”
Mikael Grenier (CAN)
“We were really happy with second place in qualifying and this position proofed that all our hard work over the winter had paid off. We have a very strong team with highly qualified engineers and the whole team did a great job over the whole weekend. Prior to the weekend it was our goal to win the Silver Cup, and we managed to do so which is just great.”
Adrian Zaugg (SGP)
“Compared to last year we are driving on different tyres and that plays into our hands. The team has also made a great step forward over the winter, especially when it comes to the basis work of the Setup, which has improved immensely. I tried to push as hard as I could during the race not to lose a positon. It is a great result for the whole Jaguar team.”
Source. Emil Frey Jaguar Racing