We love our history here. XJR designer Tony Southgate helped
in putting together this feature about the 1990 Le Mans
History – XJR-12
Chassis 1090 (formerly 288)
A Double 24 Hour Winner
Thanks to www.wyles-hardy.com,
we have access to the race histories of a number of the Tony
Southgate-penned XJR Jaguars – the ones currently for
sale by private treaty. For more information call 44
Wyles Hardy & Co.
is particularly pleased to handle the sale of this car, a double
24 hour winner – at both Daytona and Le Mans. Truly,
a remarkable car with a remarkable history. It played a significant
role in all thee of its 24 hour races too. We’d originally
planned to bring the story of #287 next (after #185), but this
one fits in perfectly with the approach of Le Mans week (2003)
- so its linked from the Le Mans Preview Index too.
numbered Chassis 288, this was one of the three cars built
for the XJRs’ IMSA debut, at Daytona in 1988. It first
ran at Donington Park on October 17, 1987, shaken down by John
Watson. Designer Tony Southgate explains that “from the ’88
cars onwards, all the XJRs had the same monocoque. We were
allowed 120 litre fuel tanks in America – 100 in Europe – so
I had to redesign the tub to fit in the larger tank. That was
the main change for 1988, but we were developing the cars all
the time, particularly the aerodynamic details.”
for all the ’88 cars included a revised gearbox (same
internals but a TWR casing, which was stronger), while there
were differences between the North American and the European
cars – although IMSA cars came to Europe and were changed
to European spec., then sent back to TWR Inc. to be switched
back to IMSA specification. American cars ran the six litre
engines, not the sevens – “Externally the six litre
was identical, but Scotty (Alan Scott) had higher octane fuel
to use in the States, so it revved better, and fuel economy
was better,” explains Southgate.
explains the other fundamental difference between IMSA cars
and European ones: “American tracks were more point and
squirt, and bumpier, than we had over here, and with shorter
straights, you’d build in more downforce, which would
come with more drag. The gearing was also lower of course.
It was just a different approach. When we ran the turbos, we
used to just pile on the downforce in America, the more the
better. The only real exception in Europe was Brands Hatch – that
circuit always needs maximum downforce.
find the extra downforce, we used add-on bibs and deflectors.
It was one to one: a pound of downforce cost you a pound of
drag. Daytona, the first race for the XJR-9s, was the exception
in America: you did need top speed there. The most we had from
the Jaguars was about 200 mph, and the most I saw from one
of my designs there was about 203, from one of the 333 Ferraris
explains why TWR raced at Daytona, and in the rest of the North
American events: “We saw them as warm-ups for Le Mans,
simple as that. Having taken three cars to Daytona, we didn’t
need to carry out 24 hour tests, as they all seem to do now.
We’d done our endurance tests – in the Rolex 24.
was the important year: we had to win Le Mans. The programme
started at Talladega in late ’87….although I didn’t
go to that test. At an endurance test, you just have to cover
the miles, you don’t need the designer there. All you
have to do is make a note of what fails or drops off, fix it
if you can, and carry on running.”
oddly to those of us who like to remember every race we’ve
been to), Tony Southgate wasn’t sure if he actually went
to Daytona in 1988. His cars definitely did, three of them.
One went out with overheating (?) after 512 laps, one finished
third, and XJR-9 288 won - Brundle, Boesel and Nielsen finishing
just one lap clear of Mauro Baldi, Bob Wollek and Brian Redman.
The Lancastrian lost time after hitting the non-finishing Jaguar,
which was limping round on 11 cylinders anyway. John Nielsen
was at the wheel of #60 as it eased ahead of the battered Jim
Busby Porsche, and it was the V12 powered car that finished
as strongly as it had started. This was almost the perfect
warm up for Le Mans.
in North America throughout 1988, surprisingly not winning
a race again that year, but scoring five second places (it
retired at Sebring, above).
So the Le
Mans victory in June ’88, which we’ve covered already
anyway, doesn’t feature in this story.
in North America for most of 1989 – but not all. An undistinguished
set of results during February to April was followed by a ‘return
home’ for its maiden race in Europe, the 1989 Le Mans
24 Hours. Having won it with a similar chassis in ’88,
and with the Mulsanne Straight remaining untouched for the
last time, there were only detail tweaks to be made to the ’89
Le Mans cars.
Lammers had the chassis that wouldn’t go slowly in ’88,
Davy Jones started the ’89 race with that year’s
flier - #288. The Mercedes dropped back, one of the Nissans
hit the John Nielsen Jaguar, and Jones was gone – away
up the road and out of sight of all challengers. This could
have been a repeat win – could. Derek Daly took over
from Jones, but was soon stuck on the Mulsanne, with gearbox
troubles. He received instructions to jam it in any gear, because
the torque would get him back to the pits – but he was
unlucky enough to jam it in reverse. Try again, DD.
the engine failed anyway. Exhausts broke, Porsches broke, Nissans
broke, and Jaguars finished fourth and eighth.
to North America – and having not won a race since the
start of 1988, it then won the last race of 1989, at Tampa,
in the hands of Price Cobb. This car did have an unusual career.
1990 with a second place at Daytona (Brundle / Cobb / Nielsen),
which was #288’s penultimate race as #288. March saw
it retire at Sebring (Cobb and Nielsen), then it was returned
to the UK in April, rebuilt with minor changes as XJR-12 #1090,
and was all set for its last race. The turbocharged Jaguars
had long since taken over in Europe as the sprint cars, but
the V12s had one more Le Mans left in them….well actually
two, because they appeared in 1991 too, in the mainly mauve
Not ‘our’ #1090
though. Not only did this chassis finish its Jaguar racing
career at Le Mans, so did Tony Southgate. “It was complicated:
my contract actually finished at Le Mans in 1990. I was heading
for Aston Martin, to design the successor to the AMR-1. Remember
that car?….one or two good results, but Aston Martin
were going the three and half litre route, because Bernie wanted
sportscar manufacturers to build F1 engines…so they’d
go into F1. Only Peugeot did of course.
we heard that Ford had bought Jaguar, I said to the Aston Martin
guys that effectively, we had a big problem looming – why
would Ford want sportscar programmes with both companies? They
didn’t of course.
the reason I was leaving TWR was that it was difficult to ‘massage’ money
out of Tom. He did pay me well, but others in sportscars were
getting a lot more than me. Tom wasn’t going to pay me
a lot more money, so I had to move. Straight to a company that
was about to stop racing! But Tom made me wait: there was a
termination clause, and he didn’t want me going to another
company sooner than I had to. I worked on the XJ220, the XJR-15
road car, anything that was going really – and then Ross
Brawn and the Arrows lot arrived to design the XJR-14, and
Tom didn’t want me involved with that…..anyway,
Le Mans 1990 was my last race with TWR.”
ended up working for Yamaha for a few months, before settling
down with Toyota to design their three and a half litre car.
The Wallace and Lammers connection eventually went with him
to the Japanese manfacturer…but we’re getting ahead
XJR-12 was basically the ’89 car, but with aero changes
to cope with the reduction in top speed thanks to the introduction
of the Mulsanne Chicanes. It was an intermediate set up, with
more wing than at Le Mans the previous year, but not as much
as in sprint configuration." (compare the '89 and
'90 rear wings)
Sunday at Le Mans was my last day with TWR. I didn’t
have a specific job, but instead I’d look at the wider
picture. When you’re not looking after a specific car,
you’ve got time to see what the other teams are doing.
I’d keep Alistair (McQueen) up to date with what else
was going on.
was unfortunate for poor old Salazar…..”
recently explained that the Chilean had made a mistake in Qualifying
and damaged a gearbox, and as the ‘Captain’ of
the #3 entry, he and Price Cobb (in association with Tom Walkinshaw)
had hatched a plan. The Dane and the American would drive double
and triple stints, and await developments. They kept that up
for hour after hour.
look at who drove the night stints in the Jaguars: they were
the long distance men,” explains Southgate. “John
Nielsen loved it, he’d go round and round for hours.
We introduced the triple stints with John, and each stint was
a bit longer then. Most drivers were capable of triples, but
some just loved it.”
after a double stint each, Nielsen began triples at 8pm (actually
more like two and a half stints initially, for both he and
Cobb), then full triples at 23.15….two of them for Nielsen,
split by a double for Cobb. Big John drove from 23.15 to 05.37,
with a break of just 98 minutes in the middle. This is the
stuff of legends.
Brundle’s #1 car was retired, and with a driver allowed
to drive more than one car (as long as each car didn’t
have more than three drivers), he was switched to the #3. “Salazar
was all kitted up ready to get in the car! Tom didn’t
even look at him, just said ‘Brundle in,’ and Salazar
was left standing there, with nowhere to go.”
A mid morning
calliper change was the only handicap for chassis #1090, and
with poor Jesus Pareja retiring the Brun Porsche 15 minutes
before the end, Jan Lammers finished second in #2 – with
#3’s Captain bringing 1090 home to its retirement victory.
could move on after securing a second win at Le Mans, and #1090
was retired. It only ever won three races, but two of those
were its first and last – Daytona and Le Mans. What a
30/31st January Daytona, FL. 60 Raul Boesel / Martin Brundle / Jan Lammers
/ John Nielsen 1st
28th February Miami, Fl. 60 Martin Brundle / John Nielsen 2nd
19th March Sebring, FL. 60 Raul Boesel / Martin Brundle / John Nielsen Retired
10th April Road Atlanta, GA. 60 John Nielsen / John Watson 2nd
24th April West Palm Beach, Fl. 60 Martin Brundle / John Nielsen Retired (Transmission)
30th May Lime Rock, CT. 60 Martin Brundle / John Nielsen 2nd
5th June Mid Ohio, OH. 60 Martin Brundle / John Nielsen 2nd
3rd July Watkins Glen, NY. 60 Martin Brundle / John Nielsen Retired(Engine)
17th July Road America, WI. 60 Martin Brundle / John Nielsen 4th
31st July Portland, OR. 60 Martin Brundle / John Nielsen 3rd
14th August Sears Point, CA. 60 Martin Brundle / John Nielsen 2nd
4th September San Antonio, TX. 66 John Nielsen / Andy Wallace 10th Not Running
2nd October Columbus, OH. 66 Martin Brundle / John Nielsen Retired (Brakes)
23rd October Del mar, CA. 60 Crashed in practice
Returned to UK for repair.
4/5th February Daytona, FL. 60 Raul Boesel / Davy Jones / Jan Lammers Retired
(Engine) Classified 43rd
5th March Miami, FL. 60 Davy Jones / Jan Lammers Retired (Accident)
18th March Sebring, FL. 60 Davy Jones / Jan Lammers 14th
2nd April Road Atlanta, GA 60 Davy Jones / Jan Lammers 16thNot running.
23rd April West Palm Beach, FL. 60 Davy Jones / Jan Lammers Retired (Transmission)
10/11th June Le Mans, France 3 Derek Daly / Davy Jones / Jeff Kline Retired
13th July Topeka, KA 66T Michel Ferte / Davy Jones ‘T’ Car only
3rd September San Antonio, TX. 66T Michel Ferte / Davy Jones ‘T’ Car
10th September Sears Point, CA. 60 Davy Jones / John Nielsen 3rd
1st October Tampa, FL. 60 Price Cobb 1st
3/4th February Daytona, FL. 60 Martin Brundle / Price Cobb / John Nielsen 2nd
17th March Sebring, FL. 60 Price Cobb / John Nielsen Retired (Engine)
Returned to the UK and prepared for Le Mans as a Silk Cut team car. Upgraded
to XJR-12LM and re-numbered with chassis number (1090).
16/17th June Le Mans, France 3 Martin Brundle / Price Cobb / John Nielsen (Eliseo
look at some of the names featuring here. John Nielsen, Andy
Wallace, Jan Lammers and Michel Ferte are all competing in
the 71st (2003) Le Mans 24 Hours, Alistair McQueen is engineering
one of the Bentleys, Eddie Hinckley and Rod Benoist (both heavily
involved as race engineers with Jaguar) are with Veloqx-Prodrive
at Le Mans...and there are bound to be others involved this
year too. They just can't keep away, can they?
to Tony Southgate, and to Jeremy Jackson and Dave Kutz for
the use of the images. The non-credited ones are Jeremy's too.