June 27, 2015

This car Killed Group C: 20 Minutes of Epic Jaguar XJR-14 Onboard from Monza.

In 1990 the FIA decided to change the Group C regulations from free engine displacement and type with a limited amount of fuel to  a specific displacement but with unlimited fuel.    The new engines would be 3.5 liter normally aspirated, essentially Formula 1 units.

With the advent of Group C, sport car racing  had reached a peak of popularity by the end of the decade that rivaled Formula 1.   Porsche, Mercedes, Ford, Toyota, Nissan, Mazda, Aston Martin, Lancia and Jaguar were all involved as were a healthy amount of privateer teams.

The  new regulations effectively eliminated the privateers by making the older cars )mostly Porsche 962)  uncompetitive and pricing them out of the series.   By holding shorter races to compete with Formula 1, the series alienated fans of endurance,  nobody really cared for two seater F1 cars.

Despite manufacturer involvement from Peugeot, Jaguar, Mazda, Nissan and Toyota, by '93 it was all over:  Races had to be cancelled for lack of entries.  Endurance racing globally was a giant mess that has only recently begun to make a real comeback.

Emanuele Fossen/Flickr
Still, those 3.5 prototypes were amazing machines.  The 1991 Jaguar XJR-14 was designed by Ross Brawn and built by TWR.  It used the same Ford V8 engine the Benetton F1 car, albeit rebadged as  Jaguar.  Aluminum honeycomb and carbon fiber monocoque, pushrod suspension, carbon brakes and very advanced aero which gave it a huge edge over rivals,  a couple of seconds a lap.   Other teams eventually copied Jaguar's detached rear wing and ground effect chassis.

This XJR-14,  originally raced by Derek Warkick and Martin Brundle, was driven at Monza recently by Belgian Christophe d'Assenbourg in the Coppa Intereuropa, part of the FIA Masters Historic racing series.

Turn it up and enjoy.
(hat tip Sean Cleary!)


  1. What's that thing he's grabbing with the left hand?

  2. Lots of problems on downshift ... still that Merc Sauber will kick Jag ass in the straight

  3. That is the gear lever .

  4. @00:30, did you notice the pace car disappear?


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