Jaguar Makes Return to Le Mans

Jaguar is celebrating its 75th year in the carmaking business, and what better way is there to celebrate that long history than by entering one of the most famed races of all-time, the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

This is the first Le Mans entry from Jaguar since the XK200 raced there 15 years ago. Despite recent financial troubles, Jaguar and endurance racing fans alike will no doubt be watching the brand’s return to this legendary race – a race which Jaguar has won seven times, most recently in 1990 with the XJR-12.

The new RSR Jaguar XKR GT2 racer made its debut at the Petit Le Mans race last fall and it seems well positioned to reclaim former glory. The majority of the brand’s wins came during the 1950s, and helped transform Jaguar’s image.

Jaguar’s new owner, Indian automaker Tata, will surely be watching the race closely. Tata has previously stated that other future Le Mans projects are possible, but due to the increasing costs associated with motorsports, they will need to see that the race will be worth the investment.

While Jaguar may no longer be one of the most prominent brands in motorsports, MA Jaguar dealers are happy to see the brand is focusing on racing once again.

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Press Release

Jaguar RSR XKR GT2 confirmed for 24 hours of Le Mans in 2010 – the 75th year of Jaguar

MAHWAH, N.J., Feb. 4 /PRNewswire/ — The year 2010 marks 75 years of the Jaguar name on both road and race cars. As a continuation of this great heritage, Jaguar will return to the famed 24 Hours of Le Mans sports car endurance race. With seven wins between 1951 and 1990, Jaguar is the single most successful British make in the French race’s history. Jaguar will return to Le Mans this year lining up on the starting grid on June 12th, 2010 with an XKR GT2 run by JaguarRSR.

Paul Gentilozzi, Principal Partner, JaguarRSR commented, “We are delighted the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) has granted us entry in the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans. This race is held dearly in the hearts of motorsport fans across the world and for Jaguar to be racing at Le Mans again is something special.”

“We are fortunate to bring an international line-up of the world’s finest driving talent including Scott Pruett and Marc Goossens for this race.”

Gentilozzi, who will drive the JaguarRSR XKR GT2 in the 2010 American Le Mans Series (ALMS) added, “Spirits will be high around Jaguar’s return to Le Mans but we must remember the incredibly high level of competition; a podium finish will not fall into our hands. That said, I can guarantee 100 percent commitment from JaguarRSR and urge fans of Jaguar and Britain’s racing heritage to support the team whole heartedly.”

C.J. O’Donnell, Global Marketing Director of Jaguar Cars said, “Motorsport has always been important to the Jaguar brand. Our domination of Le Mans in the 1950s was a foundation on which the company was developed. It was twenty years ago that Jaguar last won Le Mans with a TWR Jaguar Sport entry driven by John Nielsen, Price Cobb and Martin Brundle. Returning to Le Mans will reignite excitement for the marque across the globe, all the more poignant in our 75th year.

“With the introduction of the new XK, XF and XJ, the Jaguar brand has advanced cutting-edge technology, stunning design, plus our ‘R’ performance driving experience.  We now return to motorsport to demonstrate this achievement and the prowess of the Jaguar XKR sports car.”

In 1951, the C-type won Le Mans in its first attempt, with a further victory in 1953.  The D-type took Le Mans wins in 1955, 1956 and 1957. This racing success was followed in 1988 with the Jaguar XJR-9LM, a V12-powered Group C car. Another outright victory would follow in 1990 with the Jaguar XJR-12.

Details of Jaguar’s wins at the 24 Hours of Le Mans:

                                                          Notes (distance and
                                                             average speeds
                                                             rounded off to
                    Race                                     nearest whole
    Year  Model      no          Drivers          Result         figure)
    ----  -----     ----         -------          ------  -------------------
                           Peter Walker, Peter            First Jaguar win;
    1951 C-type       20   Whitehead              1st     2244 miles, 93 mph
    ---- ------      ---  --------------------    ---     ------------------
                           Tony Rolt, Duncan              Second Jaguar win;
    1953 C-type       18   Hamilton               1st     2540 miles, 106 mph
    ---- ------      ---  ------------------      ---     -------------------
                           Mike Hawthorn, Ivor            Third Jaguar win;
    1955 D-type        6   Bueb                   1st     2570 miles, 107 mph
    ---- ------      ---  --------------------    ---     -------------------
                                                          Ecurie Ecosse entry;
                           Ron Flockhart, Ninian          fourth Jaguar win;
    1956 D-type        4   Sanderson              1st     2507 miles, 104 mph
    ---- ------      ---   ---------------------  ---     -------------------
                                                          Ecurie Ecosse entry;
                           Ron Flockhart, Ivor            fifth Jaguar win;
    1957 D-type        3   Bueb                   1st     2732 miles, 114 mph
    ---- ------      ---   --------------------   ---     -------------------
                                                          TWR Jaguar Sport
                           Jan Lammers, Johnny            entry; sixth Jaguar
                           Dumfries, Andy                 win; 394 laps, 3313
    1988 XJR-9LM       2   Wallace                1st     miles, 138 mph
    ---- -------     ---   --------------------   ---     -------------------
                                                          TWR Jaguar Sport
                                                          entry; seventh
                                                          Jaguar win; 359
                           John Nielsen, Price            laps, 3034 miles,
    1990 XJR-12        3   Cobb, Martin Brundle   1st     127 mph
    ---- ------      ---   --------------------   ---     -----------------

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