Honda website
Honda website

MAY 5, 2001

Jaguar's tin top guru

JAGUAR believes that its fortunes will be enhanced by the arrival of new chief race engineer, Mark Ellis, who comes to the team after a short spell at BAR but is best known for his work in the British Touring Car Championship.

With the Williams team's BTCC program Ellis designed the Renault Laguna that dominated the 1997 season with Alain Menu at the wheel, and then in 2000 he and Menu were together once again at World Rally Championship-winning Prodrive, where Ellis designed the Ford Mondeo that took Menu to the last BTCC championship of the hi-tech Super Touring era.

The Jaguars, habitually strong in Friday's free practice, ended the opening day in Spain in second and fifth places on the timesheets, and Irvine was full of praise for the new man.

"This is the first time that the team has really worked together on optimizing both cars, and I credit our new chief race engineer, Mark Ellis," he said. "He only joined us in San Marino but his presence is certainly being felt for the better. I know that many people suffered at the hands of traction control today, but we had no problems. It seems to be working very well for us, but it will be interesting to see how it manifests itself over a race distance."