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  Jaguar XJR-14      

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Country of origin:Great Britain
Produced in:1991
Numbers built:3
Designed by:Ross Brawn for TWR
Predecessor:Jaguar XJR-12
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:December 09, 2015
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Click here to download printer friendly versionIntroduced in 1982, the Group C class proved one of the most popular in sports car racing history. An unprecedented number of major manufacturers participated in the World Sports Car Championship, which had the 24 Hours of Le Mans as its 'blue riband' event. The Formula 1 arm of the sport's governing body was quite jealous of and worried by the level of manufacturer presence in sports car racing. In attempt to lure them (back) to single seater racing drastic rule changes were announced for the 1991 season. Although the older cars were still eligible the new regulations favoured naturally aspirated engine with a displacement limit of 3.5 litres, which just happened to match the Formula 1 rulebook.

One of the leading Group C participants was the TWR Jaguar team, who had been crowned World Champion in 1987 and had taken Le Mans victories in 1988 and 1990. Their fleet of cars consisted of bulky prototypes powered by large displacement V12 or twin-turbo V6 engines. Neither of the existing designs provided a suitable starting point for the next generation Group C car, so TWR's engineers had to start with a clean sheet. The design team was led by Ross Brawn, who had joined Tom Walkinshaw's company after spending a decade at various positions in F1. With the rules calling for what can only be described as a fully clothed F1 car, Brawn's signing was understandable even though he had never designed a sports car before.

Work on the new car, which would be dubbed the XJR-14, already started late in 1989. Through mother company Ford, Jaguar Sport had easy access to Cosworth's latest F1 engine, so that was one less worry. Aerodynamic efficiency dictated every aspect of the chassis design. The carbon fibre tub had a very short nose and it was as narrow as possible to allow for the widest ground-effect tunnels. Some creative packaging was needed at the front to house all the required components. Transverse torsion bars were used at the front and mounted on top of the pedal-box. The rear suspension featured more conventional coil springs, which were also actuated by push-rods. The hydraulic fluid reservoirs for the brake and clutch pedals were fitted on the right behind the front wheel.

The space created by the very short nose was used for a wing that connected to the bottom edges of the fenders. The second of the wing's two elements could be adjusted. Brawn's Formula 1 influences were particularly visible at the rear end of the car, which sported a controversial, two-tier wing. Much of the rivals' protests focused on the lower level of the wing, which was positioned almost flush with the bodywork. This effectively increased the length of the diffuser well beyond the stipulated maximum. Eventually the team was only asked to slightly lower the top element of the wing. The bulk of the downforce was however created by the large ground-effect tunnels that ran on either side of the cockpit and the narrow V8 engine.

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  Article Image gallery (91) Chassis (2) Specifications User Comments (2)