D-type D-days

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D-type voices

1953: Interim C/D the ‘light alloy car’ is built, developed, tested: 178mph at Jabbeke in October. Car features D’s bonnet/nose profile minus ‘power bulge’.

1954: Norman Dewis, Tony Rolt and Duncan Hamilton sample first D-type at RAF Gaydon. It’s then tested at Le Mans in early May by Rolt, who beats lap record by 5.2sec. D makes its race debut at Le Mans: two cars retire, but Rolt/Hamilton finish second. Ken Wharton/Peter Whitehead and Rolt/Hamilton score 1-2 in Reims 12 Hours. Season ends with poor showing at Dundrod’s Tourist Trophy.

1955: More power — bigger valves, new cylinder head — and sleeker body: enter the ‘long nose’. Mike Hawthorn joins team and wins Sebring 12 Hours (below right) with Phil Walters. Hawthorn/Ivor Bueb also win tragic Le Mans. But other big prizes elude Jaguar: Reims 12 Hours is cancelled; Astons prevail at Goodwood; heroic singleton entry of Hawthorn/Desmond Titterington battles mighty Mercs at Dundrod until crank breaks when in second place. Private teams — Ecurie Ecosse, Ecurie Francorchamps and Briggs Cunningham — can now buy (or rent) cars. And two ex-works Ds fall into private hands: Hamilton and Jack Broadhead.

1956: Works team uses lighter version of ‘long nose’. Hawthorn/Bueb lead Sebring until brake problems intervene. Disaster at Nürburgring 1000Km: one car crashes in practice, two retire from race. Two of three works cars collide on second lap of Le Mans! But Ecosse saves Jaguar’s day, winning with Ron Flockhart/Ninian Sanderson. Jaguar announces its withdrawal from racing in October.

1957: Ecosse buys three works ‘long nose’ cars — and wins Le Mans again, this time with Flockhart/Bueb in a fuel-injected 3.8-litre car.

1958: Championship introduces 3-litre limit. Hamilton/Bueb (right) run second at Le Mans before Hamilton crashes avoiding a backmarker in the 20th hour. Elsewhere, D-type is now outclassed at an international level.

1959: Ecurie Ecosse retains two cars: Masten Gregory/Innes Ireland run as high as second at Le Mans before blowing up.

1960: In Appendix J form — high windscreen and luggage compartment — Flockhart/Bruce Halford are lying fourth at Le Mans when engine fails on lap 168.