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:
Year Model Race no Drivers Result Notes (distance and average speeds rounded off to nearest whole figure)
1951 C-type 20 Peter Walker, Peter Whitehead 1st First Jaguar win; 2244 miles, 93 mph
1953 C-type 18 Tony Rolt, Duncan Hamilton 1st Second Jaguar win; 2540 miles, 106 mph
1955 D-type 6 Mike Hawthorn, Ivor Bueb 1st Third Jaguar win; 2570 miles, 107 mph
1956 D-type 4 Ron Flockhart, Ninian Sanderson 1st Ecurie Ecosse entry; fourth Jaguar win; 2507 miles, 104 mph
1957 D-type 3 Ron Flockhart, Ivor Bueb 1st Ecurie Ecosse entry; fifth Jaguar win; 2732 miles, 114 mph
1988 XJR-9LM 2 Jan Lammers, Johnny Dumfries, Andy Wallace 1st TWR Jaguar Sport entry; sixth Jaguar win; 394 laps, 3313 miles, 138 mph
1990 XJR-12 3 John Nielsen, Price Cobb, Martin Brundle 1st TWR Jaguar Sport entry; seventh Jaguar win; 359 laps, 3034 miles, 127 mph
From its beginning as a manufacturer of motorcycle sidecars in 1922, Jaguar Cars has grown to become one of the world’s premier manufacturers of luxury sedans and sports cars and with that, one of the most recognized commercial brands. The company's vision is simple: To produce beautiful fast cars that are desired the world over. The company operates two manufacturing plants in the United Kingdom and is fully engaged in environmental programs, community work and brand awareness exercises such as motorsports.