This weekend, manufacturer race teams will gather in Le Mans, France to compete in the oldest (running) endurance race on the planet. In the 85 years since the race’s origin, a few select automakers have hoarded victories.
Porsche and Audi have been dominant forces, especially in recent years, but there was a time when Jaguar was unstoppable. To celebrate its seven wins over five decades, Jaguar Land Rover Classic Works – a new facility dedicated to owners and enthusiasts of classic Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles – has revealed tributes to three of the brand’s racing icons: the C-type, D-type, and XJR-9. All three of these cars are part of the Jaguar Heritage Trust’s collection, stored at the British Motor Museum in Gaydon.
“The Le Mans 24-Hours race holds a special place in the hearts of all Jaguar fans – it’s a test of endurance that Jaguar is proud to have won seven times,” said Jaguar Land Rover Classic Director, Tim Hannig. “It’s only right that we celebrate those successes at the opening of Jaguar Land Rover Classic Works, 60 years since the outstanding performances of the D-type cars in 1957.”
Each of these tribute vehicles left a mark on the race. 64 years ago, Duncan Hamilton and Tony Rolt earned Jaguar its second Le Mans win in the works C-Type. This was the first car to win Le Mans with disc brakes. Soon after, Jaguar road cars embraced the same technology.
Four years later, in 1957, Jaguar took every podium spot (along with fourth and sixth places) with its new D-Type race car. In years prior, no other manufacturer had achieved so many top place finishes.
It was 31 years before Jaguar would win Le Mans again, when three incredible drivers (Andy Wallace, Johnny Dumfries and Jan Lammers) piloted the Group C XJR-9 race car to a victory in 1988. Andy Wallace is now Jaguar Land Rover Classic’s Chief Test Driver.
To keep the celebration going this summer, five D-type cars will journey from Classic Works to the Concours d’Elegance at Hampton Court Place. The tour, which will include some of the 1957 Le Mans winning cars, will stop at Silverstone and at the home facility of the Panasonic Jaguar Racing Formula E team.
- McLaren Spent 18 Months Restoring an Ultra-Rare F1 GTR
- The Bugatti Divo is a Heavyweight Hypercar Designed for the Track
- 5 of the Most Expensive Cars Headed to Monterey Car Week 2018
- Become James Bond With Your Very Own 1964 Aston Martin DB5 from ‘Goldfinger’
- 5 Best Cars You Can Modify for $15,000 or Less