Jaguar XJR-5 GTP Race Car

After 20 years of building and racing English cars to 13 SCCA national titles and 3 Trans Am Championships, in 1980 Bob Tullius’ Group 44 Inc. racing team was facing a grim future. The team’s TR8 racer was no longer useful to its corporate sponsor Triumph, which was ceasing production, and no other patron was on the horizon. That is when Jaguar Managing Director John Egan summoned Tullius and Jaguar North America’s VP of Sales and Marketing Mike Dale to Coventry to discuss his strategy to revitalize Jaguar’s performance image. Beginning with a North American racing program, the plan was centered on building a prototype to meet both IMSA GTP and FIA World Endurance Manufacturer’s Championship rule books. The result was this car, the 1982 XJR-5 Serial Number 001.

Designer Lee Dykstra designed the XJR-5’s chassis and aerodynamics, creating a smoothly contoured and aggressive shape and taking full advantage of the long and narrow Jaguar V-12 engine to accommodate large ground effects tunnels for downforce. The XJR-5 was otherwise quite conventional; an aluminum tub, Kevlar composite body panels, coilover A-arm suspension with Lockheed disc brakes and the V-12 powerplant topped not with sophisticated fuel injection, turbos or engine controls (those would come later) but a half-dozen good old-fashioned dual-throat Weber 48 carburetors.

Sleek, powerful and easy to drive, the XJR-5 co-driven by Tullius and Bill Adams showed its potential immediately with a 3rd place overall and 1st in GTP at Road America in August 1982 and then a 1st overall at Road Atlanta and 2nd at Laguna Seca in 1983. Successive XJR-5 racers were built, competing in both the IMSA and FIA series including the 24 Hours of Le Mans. XJR-5 001 remained in Tullius’ ownership and the two were reunited on the track at the 2000 Goodwood Festival of Speed.

The car was purchased by the current owner direct from Group 44, effectively making it a one-owner vehicle. Period race driver and innovative engineer Jim Busby, having recently restored Jaguar XJR-5 010, was contracted to restore 001 to full event readiness for the current owner. The work was done without regard for expense, and the results are evident in the smallest detail. Every system was subjected to a thorough overhaul, and the engine was rebuilt by marque specialist Ed Pink to a dyno-tested 625 HP. The car was successfully track tested at Willow Springs by veteran driver Rick Knoop, who pronounced it “incredibly easy to drive.” It presents in spectacular fashion thanks to Busby’s characteristically thorough preparation.

Jaguar XJR-5 001 represents Jaguar’s re-entry into international motorsports after a two-decade absence, and with a GTP win by endurance racing legends Tullius and Bill Adams to its credit, is a historically significant piece of Jaguar’s prototype competition history, a status that is sure to make it a popular attraction at vintage events the world over.

This Jaguar will be sold by Mecum Auctions in Monterey, California in August 2013.

Source: Mecum Auctions

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