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 (0)1442 832234.
& 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.
Originally 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.”
Other changes 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.
The designer 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.
“To 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 one year.”
Southgate 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
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,
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.
Whereas Jan 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.
And then the engine failed
anyway. Exhausts broke, Porsches broke, Nissans broke, and Jaguars
finished fourth and eighth.
#288 returned 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.
It began 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
#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.
“When 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
“Now 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 of ourselves.
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)
“The 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.
“It was unfortunate
for poor old Salazar…..”
John Nielsen 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
“Just 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.
At 06.52, 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.
Tony Southgate 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 car.
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
10th April Road Atlanta, GA. 60 John Nielsen / John Watson 2nd
24th April West Palm Beach, Fl. 60 Martin Brundle / John Nielsen
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
2nd October Columbus, OH. 66 Martin Brundle / John Nielsen Retired
(Brakes) Classified 31st
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
10/11th June Le Mans, France 3 Derek Daly / Davy Jones / Jeff Kline
13th July Topeka, KA 66T Michel Ferte / Davy Jones ‘T’
3rd September San Antonio, TX. 66T Michel Ferte / Davy Jones ‘T’
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
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 Salazar) 1st.
Just 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.