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Le Mans 1988

There was great excitement in the 1970s and 1980s when Jaguar re-entered international motorsport. It started with support of Bob Tullius’s Group 44 outfit in the States followed by Tom Walkinshaw’s TWR team originally in the European Touring Car Championship with the XJ-S and later Group C endurance racing. But thanks to its five victories in the Fifties, for Jaguar the most important race had always been the 24 Hours of Le Mans. By 1987 and with TWR starting to become genuinely competitive in the World Sports Car Championship we knew there was a real possibility of us winning for the first time since 1957.

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Jaguar’s final Le Mans finish for over 20 years, 1963

Despite ruling Le Mans throughout the Fifties with five overall victories plus three second, two third and four fourth places, Jaguar’s dominance of the famous 24 Hours race came to an end in the early Sixties with a disappointing ninth place. When motorsport’s governing body, the FIA, introduced a new GT class for endurance racing from 1962 onwards, many privateers chose the new E-Type. The homologated version initially showed great promise with two examples finishing a strong fourth and fifth at 24 Heures du Mans in 1962 with the outfits of Briggs Cunningham and Peter Sargent.

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1972 Matra-Simca MS670

How a French car won Le Mans for the first time since 1950, helped by Graham Hill.

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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.

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Jaguar retires from Le Mans 24 Hours race, June 14-15 1952

Due to Jaguar’s dominant victory of the 1951 Le Mans 24 Hours race with the C-type, success the following year seemed a certainty

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The only 1983 Porsche 928 S to compete at Le Mans

Raymond Boutinaud recently restored the one and only 928 to contest the 24 Hours of Le Mans. We take a trip to his workshop and check out this legendary ‘land shark’ for ourselves

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Jaguar XK140 disqualified from Le Mans, 28-29 June 1956

The C-Type and D-type may have owned the LeMans 24 Hours during the Fifties, with five victories between them, but they weren’t the only Jaguar sports cars to take part in the famed endurance race at this time.

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