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SRT Gearheads Ready for 'One Lap' Endurance Challenge

Posted: Thu May 03, 2012 9:32 pm
by scottm

SRT Gearheads Ready for 'One Lap' Endurance Challenge
It’s been called “the ultimate gearhead road trip,” and SRT’s talented designers, engineers and drivers are making last-minute preparations to take part in the granddaddy of all endurance challenges, the Tire Rack One Lap of America.

SRT Vehicle Dynamics Engineer Marco Diniz and John “Hammer” Palazzolo will co-drive a specially prepared 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 beginning this weekend. The pair will traverse the upper Midwest and Central parts of the country in the 470-horsepower Grand Cherokee SRT8 - one of the fastest and most comfortable SUVs in the world - as it sprints from 0-60 in just under five seconds and can top out at 160 mph.

Tire Rack One Lap of America is a charitable street-legal road rally race started by the legendary auto writer Brock Yates 29 years ago. This year’s challenge begins May 5 at Tire Rack's 11.7-acre test facility in South Bend, Indiana, and returns there for a final test on May 12. During that week, drivers will race at tracks like the Autobahn Country Club in Illinois; the High Plains Raceway in Colorado; the road course and drag strip in Brainerd, Minnesota; and two days at the world-famous Road America in Wisconsin. This year, more than 80 entrants will be covering more than 3,500 miles during the eight-day competition.

The SRT team is in final prep mode by submitting their vehicles to countless simulations and tests in order to remain on the cutting-edge of technology and performance. While results from these tests are priceless, there is nothing quite like the enduring Tire Rack One Lap of America pushing man and machine to the limit over the course of thousands of miles on America’s scenic roads.

"All of our SRT vehicles are tailor made for the lunacy of an event like One Lap," says Diniz. “What we want to do is finish all our individual races with no incidents, and win our truck and SUV class. That would place SRT high up in the standings, and maybe even secure us a victory.”

And, with the start of the race fast approaching, does Diniz have any apprehensions about taking part in such a demanding competition?

“No, not really,” he says. “We took part in a shakedown test Sunday in Waterford Hills (Mich.). The Grand Cherokee SRT8 is prepped and pretty much bullet-proof.”

SRT enthusiasts can get an up-close glimpse of Tire Rack One Lap of America and stay up-to-date with the progress of the SRT team via in-car videos that will be posted on the SRT’s Facebook and Twitter pages, as well as status updates on Follow John on Twitter @HammerSRT to keep up with all the happenings on the road and at the track.

You also can look at the complete Tire Rack One Lap of America schedule.

The SRT team is participating in One Lap for the seventh time since 2002.