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  Article Image gallery (15) 78-44 Specifications  
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Country of origin:Great Britain
Produced in:1978
Numbers built:1
Predecessor:Jaguar XJ-S Trans-Am
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:July 11, 2013
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Click here to download printer friendly versionAmerican privateer Bob Tullius and his Group 44 organisation was a loyal proponent of British Leyland, having already raced Austin Healeys, MGs and Triumphs before switching to a Jaguar E-Type in 1974. He convinced Jaguar to create a competition version of the company's new V12 engine, which he continued to use well into the 1980s, bringing Jaguar back to Le Mans in the process.

Among the most successful Group 44 Jaguars was the XJ-S campaigned during the 1978 season. It had big shoes to fill as Tullius had won the 1977 Category 1 title of the Trans-Am championship from a Porsche 911. The sport's governing body were not too happy with two European cars dominating their championship and for 1978 the regulations were changed to suit the domestic Chevrolet Corvette.

Jaguar did their part by supplying a brand new XJ-S body-shell, which had been acid dipped to make it as light as possible. Upon arrival in the Group 44 workshop, the shell was turned into a rolling chassis by Brian Fuerstenau and Lawton Foushee. Following the regulations, they equipped the car with stock suspension adapted to suit the massive Goodyear tyres that were fitted on all four corners.

Power came from the latest development of the SOHC Jaguar V12, which was run with carburettors as the fuel injection fitted on the road cars was unsuitable for use on the track. Between the 1977 and 1978 seasons, the camshafts and heads were modified to bring the power of the 5.3 litre up to a startling 580 bhp at 8,000 rpm from the 525 bhp previously available. The car was liveried in Group 44's familiar Quaker State colours.

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  Article Image gallery (15) 78-44 Specifications