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Jaguar XJ220

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

XJ220
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Wikipedia: Jaguar XJ220

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A supercar produced by Jaguar from 1992-1994. 275 were produced in joint venture with Tom Walkinshaw Racing.

History

The following section is an excerpt from Wikipedia's Jaguar XJ220 page on 2 October 2017, text available via the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

The Jaguar XJ220 is a two-seat supercar produced by British luxury car manufacturer Jaguar from 1992 until 1994, in collaboration with the specialist automotive and race engineering company Tom Walkinshaw Racing. The XJ220 officially recorded a top speed of 212.3 mph (341.7 km/h) during testing by Jaguar. This made it the fastest production car from 1992 to 1993. According to Jaguar an XJ220 prototype managed a Nürburgring lap time of 7:46:36 in 1991 which was lower than any production car lap time before it.

The XJ220 was developed from a V12-engined 4-wheel drive concept car designed by an informal group of Jaguar employees working in their spare time. The group wished to create a modern version of the successful Jaguar 24 Hours of Le Mans racing cars of the 1950s and '60s that could be entered into FIA Group B competitions. The XJ220 made use of engineering work undertaken for Jaguar's then current racing car family.

The initial XJ220 concept car was unveiled to the public at the 1988 British International Motor Show, held in Birmingham, England. Its positive reception prompted Jaguar to put the car into production; some 1500 deposits of £50,000 each were taken, and deliveries were planned for 1992.

Engineering requirements resulted in significant changes to the specification of the XJ220, most notably replacement of the Jaguar V12 engine by a turbocharged V6 engine. The changes to the specification and a collapse in the price of collectible cars brought about by the early 1990s recession resulted in many buyers choosing not to exercise their purchase options. A total of just 275 cars were produced by the time production ended, each with a retail price of £470,000 in 1992 making it their most expensive car during its debut.

Conception

Jaguar were approached by racing team owner Tom Walkinshaw and encouraged to enter the Jaguar XJS into the 1981 European Touring Car Championship; they succeeded in winning the competition in 1984. Jaguar had started to provide factory support to racing team Group 44 Racing, who were using the Jaguar-engined XJR-5 in the IMSA GT Championship, supplying V12 engines from 1983 onwards and supporting a Le Mans entry in 1984. Tom Walkinshaw and Jaguar agreed to entering the FIA Group C World Sportscar Championship and developed the XJR-6, which was powered by the Jaguar V12 engine; the car was launched during the 1985 season.

TWR took over the IMSA GT Championship operation in 1988 and one model – Jaguar XJR-9 – was launched to compete in both series. The XJR-9, which retained the Jaguar V12 engine, went on to win the 1988 24 Hours of Le Mans and World Sportscar Championship in the same year. The poor fuel consumption of the Jaguar V12 combined with new rules restricting refueling during races forced the replacement of the V12 engine in the XJR-9s successors, the XJR-10 and XJR-11. The normally-aspirated Austin Rover V64V engine, designed for the MG Metro 6R4 had recently been made redundant thanks to the Group B rally ban in 1987, and the design rights were for sale. The compact, lightweight and fuel efficient nature of the small-displacement, turbocharged engine was investigated by TWR, who considered it an ideal basis for a new engine to power the XJR-10 and purchased the design rights from Austin Rover Group.

Jaguar and their Director of Engineering, Jim Randle, felt these racing cars were too far removed from the product available to the general public, especially with the rule changes that mandated the replacement of the Jaguar V12 engine in the forthcoming XJR-10 and XJR-11 racing cars. Therefore, a project was initiated to design and build a car capable of winning Le Mans "in house", just as the Jaguar C-Type and D-Type had done. The groundwork for the project was undertaken by Randle over Christmas 1987, when he produced a 1:4 scale cardboard model of a potential Group B racing car.

The cardboard model was taken into the Jaguar styling studio and two mock-ups were produced. One was said to be reminiscent of the Porsche 956, the other took elements of the then current Jaguar XJ41 project and Malcolm Sayer's work on the stillborn Jaguar XJ13 racing car. The second design, by Keith Helfet, was chosen as it was "more obviously Jaguar in its look".

The project still had no official support, leaving Randle no option but to put together a team of volunteers to work evenings and weekends in their own time. The team came to be known as "The Saturday Club", and consisted of twelve volunteers. To justify the resources consumed by the project, the XJ220 needed to provide meaningful data to the engineers on handling, aerodynamics – particularly at high speeds – and aluminium structures. These requirements, together with FIA racing regulations and various government regulations governing car design and safety influenced the overall design and engineering direction of the car.


Article Index

DateArticleAuthor/Source
27 August 2013Jaguar XJ220 being hooned and rallied. Yup it's Tax the Rich again Matt Hubbard, Speedmonkey


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