Don't think I am that rude if I tell you that it's cat food...................
“We will win Le Mans at our third attempt” Tom Walkinshaw promised Jaguar
chairman John Egan in 1995. “New cars rarely win at Le Mans, the second year is
difficult, but after three years I think we can win.” The Scotsman, Walkinshaw, kept
his promise. Jan Lammers, Andy Wallace and the Earl of Dumfries, just known as
“Johnny” in racing, narrowly beat no fewer than three Shell-Dunlop sponsored
Porsche 962s in 1988.
Jaguar had won Le Mans five times in the 1950s with the C-types and D-types,
and Egan, appointed chairman in 1980, understood that the marque needed to
return to the world's most famous endurance race, and win, to restore Jaguar's
In America, Bob Tullius was racing the XJR-5 since 1982 in the IMSA GTP
championship, so he had a three year start on Walkinshaw. He, too, wanted to go
to Le Mans, partly for his own satisfaction and partly to prove to Jaguar Cars that
he could do well in the race, even though the XJR-5 would have to be adapted to
Group C regulations, in particular to run economically on fuel.
How, and why, did John Egan eventually place his trust in Tom Walkinshaw? He
and Tullius were so alike! Very determined, strong characters, both prepared to
make promises and be able to fulful them, both dedicated to representing Jaguar
at the top level. By 1984 it would be true to say that they were two bulls in a field --
only one would survive!
Tullius was a former Kodak salesman who raced Triumph TR3 and TR4 sports
cars successfully in the SCCA E-production class, right through the 1960s. His
regular race number was 44, and when he put his team on a professional basis
he named it Group 44 Inc. Tullius' cars were sponsored by Quaker State oil and
were always beautifully presented in shining white, with dual-tone green
Group 44's cars looked superb, and raced at the top level, and Tullius was the
clear choice when Jaguar Cars North American Inc. executives Graham
Whitehead and Michael Dale wanted Jaguars to be seen on the track, especially
the V12s. Group 44 was first contracted in 1974 to prepared Jaguars for racing,
first the E-type V12 in which Lee Muller scored three victories in 1974, and while in
1975 Tullius himself won four races to become the SCCA divisional champion.
The E-type went out of production in 1975 and was replaced by the XJ-S, which
was a different sort of car, less sporting, but which needed to be given a sporting
While Jaguar Cars in Coventry studiously avoided all sporting activities in 1976,
the North American company gave full support to Tullius and his Group 44
company which prepared the XJ-S for the SCCA's Trans-Am championship,
running in the Category 1 for near standard sports cars like the Porsche 911S and
Chevrolet Monzas. Group 44 changed the V12 engine to dry sump lubrication,
installed six Weber carburettors and saw 475 bhp on the dynomometer.
The XJ-S program was hugely successful in America, the Group 44 Jaguar team
winning Trans-Am championships convincingly in 1977 and in 1978, and the
racing victories continued right through to 1982 in SCCA and IMSA racing.
Eventually, though, Tullius wanted to move on, and when IMSA announced the
Camel GT programme (for prototypes) in 1982 that became his goal.
I'M Soaked Again
Lee Dykstra designed a monocoque car with a honeycomb aluminium floor,
steel bulkheads and clothed in semi-monocoque glass-fibre bodywork. For the
first time, the Jaguar V12 engine was positioned behind the driver, still with dry
sump lubrication and six Weber carburettors, but now developing 525 bhp.
Work had started on the XJR-5 in 1981, and the main difference between IMSA
rules and the FIA's new Group C regulations were that the Americans controlled
power by inlet air restrictors, the FIA controlled power by rationing the amount of
fuel that could be used, at first to 620 litres for each 1,000 kilometres.
The XJR-5, when it first appeared at Road America in August 1982, was an
immediate success. Tullius and the Canadian, Bill Adam, had a faultless race to
finish the 500 mile race in third position, behind two Porsche 935s and ahead of
Lola and March racing cars. The next few races had some unlucky incidents, so
the Group 44 team prepared thoroughly for the 1983 season, still with Tullius and
Adam driving the single-car entry.
They won the fourth round of the Camel GT series at Road Atlanta and again at
Lime Rock, and then in June 1983 an event of some significance took place. The
Group 44 Jaguar XJR-5 was flown to England for closer examination by John
Egan; engineering director Jim Randle and Tom Walkinshaw were present.
Derek Bell, one of Porsche's top drivers, was persuaded to drive the XJR-5 at
Silverstone, having great experience of the ground effect Porsche 956, and while
he had reservations about the Jaguar's handling (it was a flat bottom
construction) he described the engine as “fantastic”.
There was one more victory for the Group 44 Jaguar XJR-5 at Mosport and after
that came a surprising announcement that Group 44 would not finish the season.
One car would be used for further development, for the 1984 season, and another
would be taken to Britain and based at Tom Walkinshaw Racing, where it would
“provide the basis for a Le Mans effort next year.”
Goat tending the Cabbage Patch
Walkinshaw, though, had no intention of racing the Group 44 Jaguar at Le Mans,
or anywhere else! He agreed to accept the car to keep Egan happy, but his
evaluation would be on the basis of assessing the best and worst features, and
making use of the knowledge.
To complete the Tullius story in 1983, there was a change of plan and he did
race once more at Pocono, where he and Doc Bundy won. This enabled Tullius to
finish second, to Al Holbert, in the 1983 IMSA championship, a fine result from the
first season of racing with the XJR-5.
Nae Grip, Nae Grunt
Where did Tom Walkinshaw come from? The Scotsman had a good racing
record, but he was always ambitious to work with manufacturers.
BMW, Ford, Mazda, Rover and Jaguar were all his clients and partners in a short
space of time, between 1975 and 1984, indeed Tom Walkinshaw Racing
managed both Rover and Jaguar in the European Touring Car Championships in
'82 and '83 competing against each other, something that few observers could
Jaguar's return to racing with Ralph Broad's Broadspeed team in 1976-77 was a
complete disaster, and it would take years for the Coventry firm to regain its
confidence. The two-door XJ12, powered by the Jaguar V12 engine, was simply
too heavy and too thirsty to compete with the lightweight BMW CSLs with
dominated the European Touring Car Championship.
They were none too reliable (at a time when Jaguar was striving to overcome a
reputation for making unreliable products!) and even if they drew out a small lead
over the German cars, which they sometimes did, the advantage was always
thrown away with an extra fuel stop. When engineer Bob Knight was appointed
managing director of Jaguar late in 1977 he stopped the race program
Two years later Egan was appointed managing director of Jaguar, and he could
see the need for a racing program, which had to be successful. A bad program
was no use at all.
Walkinshaw approached Egan in 1981, and by this time the Scotsman's
success record, with a number of manufacturers, was very good. All his goals had
been achieved, and his reputation was such that if he made a promise, it would
Egan and Walkinshaw immediately struck up a good relationship, and
agreement was reached that Tom Walkinshaw Racing would prepare and
campaign the XJ-S 12-cylinder cars in the European Touring Car Championship.
Walkinshaw was the British agent for the French oil company, Motul, so naturally
Motul sponsored the two-car team.
The cars were reduced to the minimum (for their engine capacity) 1,400 kg, and
the V12 engine delivered 460 bhp, an increase of 50 per cent on the standard
300 bhp, which was very good under the restrictive Group A regulations.
Walkinshaw and Charles “Chuck” Nicholson won four ETCC rounds in 1982,
and in 1983 the Jaguars achieved five ETCC victories, the one at Zeltweg, Austria,
driven by Walkinshaw and Martin Brundle.
The third and final season, in 1984, was the best. The TWR Jaguar team won
the Spa 24-Hour race, the biggest event for touring cars, with Walkinshaw, Win
Percy and Hans Heyer driving. There were six more victories, resulting in Jaguar
winning the manufacturers trophy and Walkinshaw becoming the European
Touring Car Champion driver.
Southgate on Board
He immediately retired from racing, and later told me that he never so much as
sat in an XJR racing car. Even before the 1984 season ended, Walkinshaw hired
Tony Southgate to design the Jaguar XJR-6 racing car for Group C, and this was
four months before Jaguar's board agreed that the program should proceed.
Egan had given Walkinshaw a green light for the project even before putting the
matter to his fellow directors, feeling confident that there would be no problems.
Southgate designed the most advanced Group C car yet made, more modern
than the winning Porsche 956 and 962 in having a carbon composite chassis
with big ground effect venturi (the V12 made it possible to have better venturi than
Porsche's flat-six). From the outset the TWR prepared V12 produced 650 bhp
from a capacity of 6,222 cc, and by the time the Le Mans winning XJR-9 was
produced in 1988 the engine was enlarged to 6,995 cc and developed 750 bhp.
Tullius' Group 44 Jaguar team made two appearances at Le Mans in 1984 and
in 1985, but Walkinshaw had no part to play. With Jaguar's support, Group 44 took
two XJR-5s to the French race in June 1984, one for Tullius with Brian Redman
and “Doc” Bundy, the other for John Watson, Claude Ballot-Lena and Tony
The Jaguars raced in the IMSA class at 950 kg, heavier than the 900 kg
minimum for Group C but despite this, they were able to match the times of the
privately entered Porsche 956s. They were reliable at half distance, sixth and
seventh overall at four o'clock in the morning, but then the effort was thwarted.
Adamowicz crashed at Tertre Rouge when a tyre deflated, and Tullius' car
stripped a gear, lost nearly an hour, then retired when the gearbox started to
A year later the Group 44 Jaguar team returned to Le Mans, although by this time
Walkinshaw's XJR-6 was undergoing tests and would soon make its race debut,
at Mosport two months later.
Two Jaguar XJR-5s were prepared for the 24-Hours, one for Tullius with Chip
Robinson and Claude Ballot-Lena, the other for Redman with Hurley Haywood
and Jim Adams.
Again, the white Jaguars performed well on Saturday afternoon and evening, but
Jim Adams was unable to leave the pit-lane after a stop. A driveshaft broke as he
was leaving the pits, stranding him on the exit road, and he did not rejoin the race.
Tullius' car had a valve failure on Sunday morning, and spent a long time in the
pits. The cylinder was disabled and eventually the American continued to the
finish on 11 cylinders, being classified in 13th place to loud cheers from the
Deals on Wheels
Later, Egan announced the decision that in 1986 Tullius and his Group 44 team
would be retained to represent Jaguar in the United States while Walkinshaw and
his TWR operation would represent Jaguar in the FIA Group C World Endurance
There is little doubt that Walkinshaw was closer to Egan than was Tullius, both
geographically (TWR's base at Kidlington is no more than 80 kilometres from
Jaguar's Coventry factory) and personally. Although Group 44 continued to
campaign the XJR-6 very successfully in the IMSA Camel GT Championship in
1985, and its successor the XJR-7 in 1986 and 1987, Tullius had not produced a
result at Le Mans.
TWR on Top
Egan was, in my opinion, almost in awe of Walkinshaw, who had the stronger
personality. Walkinshaw did all that he promised: World Championship titles for
Jaguar in 1987, 1988 and in 1991, Le Mans and Daytona victories in 1988 and in
Somehow, Walkinshaw's contract allowed him to retain ownership of all the
racing cars produced, and when he got control of the XJ220 project he soon
removed the Jaguar V12, the heart of the car in the opinion of most onlookers, and
replaced it with the 3.5 litre, twin turbo V6 which originated in the Rover Metro!
Then, the V12 engine was installed in the beautiful Jaguar XJR-15, styled by Peter
Stevens, which was used for the Inter-Continental Challenge in 1991. This was
purely a TWR product, with little reference to Jaguar.
In the States, Tullius retained Hurley Haywood to drive his XJR-7 in 1987 but the
programme was on the wane, and Tullius effectively went into retirement that year,
bitter than Jaguar's support had diminished the point where he felt unable to
It was no surprise that Walkinshaw should open a race shop in Indiana, under
the direction of Tony Dowe, to run an IMSA program starting in the best possible
way, winning the Daytona 24-Hours on its debut in January 1988. The drivers
were Martin Brundle, John Nielsen and Raul Boesel, and the victory with the IMSA
specification XJR-9 nicely previewed the big victory at Le Mans in June.