Mighty Jaguar XJR-5 to return after refurb

| 22 Feb 2012

The ex-Bob Tullius 1983 Jaguar XJR-5 is set to light up a series of classic events this year as an extensive refurb to return it to a drivable state nears an end.

Campaigned by the Group 44 equipe in the US IMSA Championship, the XJR-5 was designed by Lee Dykstra incorporating early ground effects technology.

The sports racer has a sheet aluminum monocoque chassis with honeycomb floor section and tubular-reinforced steel bulkheads. Long underfloor aerodynamic venturi tunnels extended from behind the flat-bottomed cockpit area alongside the fully-stressed V12 engine block, curving inwards towards the rear to exit beneath the full-width rear wing.

The bodywork was fashioned from carbon fibre and Kevlar composite and the first 5.3-litre V12-engined prototype was tested at Summit Point in June 1982.

It made its racing debut at Road America, Atlanta in late-August, where Tullius and Bill Adam co-drove to a third-place finish.

The refurbishment of the Jaguar Heritage XJR-5 has involved a complete engine rebuild carried out by Jaguar's powertrain experts at the Whitley Engineering Centre as well as a lot of detailed mechanical work to return the car to a driveable condition. The work has been led by Richard Mason, one of Jaguar Heritage’s Senior Technicians.

As a fascinating juxtapoisition to the high-powered sports-racer, another job that has been taking place alongside the XJR-5 restoration has been some work on the oldest vehicle in the Jaguar Heritage collection – the 1897 Daimler Grafton Phaeton.

Believed to be the oldest Daimler still running, the car needed attention to its hot tube ignition system and general servicing to get it through its MoT in readiness for a starring role in a forthcoming TV series. The work was undertaken by Senior Technician Dave Withers with assistance from some of the Jaguar Heritage Volunteers.