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  Jaguar XJR-16
 

  Article Image gallery (28) Chassis (1) Specifications Video (1)  
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Country of origin:Great Britain
Produced in:1991
Numbers built:2
Designed by:TWR
Predecessor:Jaguar XJR-10
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:June 21, 2010
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Click here to download printer friendly versionFor two seasons Jaguar / TWR campaigned modified Group C cars in the hugely competitive IMSA GTP Championship and not without success. The ever increasing performance of the rivalling Nissan and Toyota-Eagle teams nevertheless called for the development of a purpose-built IMSA racer for the 1991 season. In anticipation of the new XJR-16, Jaguar raced the old XJR-10 for the first two short races of the season and even scored at West Palm Beach.

Mechanically, the XJR-16 leaned heavily on its predecessors although there were several major modifications. The aluminium honeycomb reinforced carbon fibre monocoque remained virtually unchanged. The rear half of the car had been subject of most changes. The bell-housing had been lengthened to give the car a longer wheelbase. The suspension was also completely revised and now featured push-rod actuated dampers and springs that were mounted on top of the gearbox. All of the previous TWR Jaguars had featured springs mounted next to the uprights.

Not having to worry about Group C's fuel consumption limitations, the designers of IMSA GTP could just pile on wings and simply stop for fuel more often. This led to ever increasing levels of downforce on these full ground-effects racing cars. TWR's answer was the introduction of a two-tier rear wing, which made its IMSA debut on the XJR-16. While this created incredible levels downforce and very efficiently, it did gave the car a rear aerodynamic bias. This was addressed during the season with some creativity.

In the hands of Davy Jones, the Bud Light liveried XJR-16 made a fantastic debut at the Road Atlanta round of the 1991 championship. He clinched the pole a full second ahead of his team-mate Raul Boesel in an XJR-10 and took a dominating win in the 300-kilometre race. Nissan had also revealed a brand new car at Road Atlanta. It would go on to win the next two races with Jones finishing 2nd at Topeka and 7th at Lime Rock. For the Lime Rock event the second XJR-16 was ready for Boesel. He crossed the line in 6th in his first outing with the car.

At Mid Ohio the cars were equipped with unusual and rather ungainly wings on the nose to improve the balance. Although later tests showed the wings had very little effect, Jones did win the race and Boesel crossed the line in fourth after an early delay. Jones won two more races that year but the writing was on the wall. Dan Gurney's Eagle team had rolled out the Mk III version of their Toyota engined sports racer, which won three of the last four races in 1991. Jones finished third in the driver's championship behind the two Nissan pilots and Jaguar ended the year second in the constructor's championship.

One of the XJR-16s was entered in the 1992 season opening Daytona 24 Hours. It qualified second but was withdrawn from the race due to engine problems. That was the last 'outing' for the XJR-16 as Jaguar North America decided to field the Formula 1 inspired XJR-14 instead. The second chassis was converted to IMSA Lights or FIA Cup specification with a naturally aspirated engine and steel discs, Dubbed the XJR-17, it was intended to race at Le Mans in 1992 but in the end no funding was found. Both cars have survived and are still raced from time to time. With four wins in ten attempts the XJR-16 has the best record of any Jaguar IMSA GTP machine.

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  Article Image gallery (28) Chassis (1) Specifications Video (1)