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  Jaguar XJR-5

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Country of origin:Great Britain
Produced from:1982 - 1985
Numbers built:12 (2 never raced)
Designed by:Lee Dykstra for Group 44
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:June 26, 2009
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Click here to download printer friendly versionIn TransAm spec, the V12 engine was fed by six Weber Carburettors, this setup was carried through on the GTP car. In the first full season of racing the Webers were still used, but as a Le Mans entry came closer work was started on a computer controlled Fuel Injection system. Fuel efficiency was vital at Le Mans, where the quantity of fuel available was restricted. First tested in December 1983, the Lucas Micos system provided both a better throttle response and a higher mileage.

Teaming up with co-driver Bill Adam, Tullius debuted the XJR-5 in the 1982 Road America round of the GTP championship. The result was better than anyone could have hoped for, with a third place overall and a win in the GTP class. Small problems in the next few races prevented the XJR-5s to copy the Road America performance. Jaguar scored the first victory in the 1983 Road Atlanta 500km race, with Tullius and Adam at the wheel. In the next couple of seasons, more victories were scored, but the team was never a contender for the championship against the much more powerful Turbo-charged Porsches, Nissans and Toyotas.

Impressed by Group 44's performance in 1983, Jaguar was growing more comfortable in supporting a Le Mans return, especially now that the V12s were equipped with the Micos system. After a series of successful long distance tests in the first months of 1984, Jaguar was convinced and agreed to back Group 44's Le Mans entry. The XJR-5 was the first Jaguar to compete at Le Mans in 22 years and the first factory backed Jaguar to enter since the glory days of the 1950s. Although no match on speed for the Turbocharged Lancias and Porsches, the two entered XJR-5s were running in sixth and seventh when they retired around the 14th hour of the race. The XJR-5 returned to Le Mans once more and claimed 13th overall and a win in the GTP class.

Although successful, Group 44 lost their factory backing to Tom Walkinshaw's TWR. Late in 1985, Tullius nevertheless launched the XJR-7. This featured a Kevlar reinforced chassis and more refined aerodynamics. It debuted at the Daytona 3 Hours late in 1985 but the XJR-7 did not win until the same race a year later. In 1987 two more victories were scored at Riverside and Palm Beach. The Group 44 Jaguar was last raced in the 1988 Daytona 24 Hours. The American team did not return to Le Mans after 1985 where Jaguar was now represented by TWR with outright victories in 1988 and 1990 as a result. It should however never be forgotten that it was Bob Tullius and his Group 44 team that brought Jaguar back to the legendary endurance race.

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  Article Image gallery (41) Chassis (5) Specifications User Comments (4)