Jaguar XJR 12D wins the LM class at 1993 Daytona

Jaguar XJR 12D wins the LM class at 1993 Daytona

Due to the global economic downturn of the early Nineties, Jaguar and its racing partner, TWR, had already pulled out of the World Sportscar Championship at the end of the 1991 season and then the American IMSA series the following year. But with the team contemplating a return to the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1993, three V12-powered XJR 12Ds were entered into the Daytona 24 Hours in late January as a way of gathering race experience with the cars.


FINISHING LINES

The trio qualified strongly in sixth, seventh and eighth places but two soon retired leaving only the number two XJR 12D driven by Davy Jones, Scott Pruett and Scott Goodyear. Thanks to several retirements and mishaps by other teams, the remaining Jaguar was soon dicing for the lead with the Toyota-powered Eagle MkIII of Mark Dismore, PJ Jones and Rocky Moran. The pair kept close company for several hours until 11.30pm when Dismore, trying to catch the Jaguar that was now 30 seconds ahead, pushed too hard and understeered into a straw bale.

“I was stuck there in the mud until some corner workers helped push me out,” said Dismore. “It didn’t really hurt the car, but it did hurt my pride.” The minor damage was eventually repaired, taking five laps for the mechanics to send it back out again.

With the pressure off, the Jaguar kept the lead until just before 10am the next morning when, with Scott Pruett now at the wheel, the car stopped at Turn 1 behind the pits due to a broken gear linkage. Unlike at Le Mans, Daytona’s rules allowed drivers to be given tools on the circuit to fix the car.

And so after speaking to Pruett on the radio and armed with a complete gear linkage assembly, the TWR crew jumped aboard their motorised trolley and soon delivered everything the driver needed to fix his car. To add to the excitement, at around the same time smoke was seen coming from the Eagle MkIII that was still in second place. Diagnosed as a seizing transaxle, two sets of mechanics set to work repairing the car; one lot pulling the back off the race car, the other stripping a fresh transaxle off a spare rear-end assembly behind the pits.

The lone Pruett proved to be quicker with the spanners and within 20 minutes he was back in the Jaguar extending its lead to 30 laps. But a little after 11am and with Jones now driving, he was in the pits complaining the V12 was running rough. With the problem being a suspected broken valve spring, the American was sent back out but only for another 15 minutes. When he stopped again, due to a gaping hole in a cylinder head this time it was for good. “We were really nursing the car on Sunday,” said Jones sadly. “We were short shifting, looking after it, and still this happened.” The Eagle MkIII of Dismore, Jones and Moran eventually took the chequered flag 80 laps later.

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