Group 44 Jag snags

Browse pages
Current page

1

Current page

2

Current page

3

Current page

4

Current page

5

Current page

6

Current page

7

Current page

8

Current page

9

Current page

10

Current page

11

Current page

12

Current page

13

Current page

14

Current page

15

Current page

16

Current page

17

Current page

18

Current page

19

Current page

20

Current page

21

Current page

22

Current page

23

Current page

24

Current page

25

Current page

26

Current page

27

Current page

28

Current page

29

Current page

30

Current page

31

Current page

32

Current page

33

Current page

34

Current page

35

Current page

36

Current page

37

Current page

38

Current page

39

Current page

40

Current page

41

Current page

42

Current page

43

Current page

44

Current page

45

Current page

46

Current page

47

Current page

48

Current page

49

Current page

50

Current page

51

Current page

52

Current page

53

Current page

54

Current page

55

Current page

56

Current page

57

Current page

58

Current page

59

Current page

60

Current page

61

Current page

62

Current page

63

Current page

64

Current page

65

Current page

66

Current page

67

Current page

68

Current page

69

Current page

70

Current page

71

Current page

72

Current page

73

Current page

74

Current page

75

Current page

76

Current page

77

Current page

78

Current page

79

Current page

80

Current page

81

Current page

82

Current page

83

Current page

84

Current page

85

Current page

86

Current page

87

Current page

88

Current page

89

Current page

90

Current page

91

Current page

92

Current page

93

Current page

94

Current page

95

Current page

96

Current page

97

Current page

98

Current page

99

Current page

100

Current page

101

Current page

102

Current page

103

Current page

104

Current page

105

Current page

106

Current page

107

Current page

108

Current page

109

Current page

110

Current page

111

Current page

112

Current page

113

Current page

114

Current page

115

Current page

116

Current page

117

Current page

118

Current page

119

Current page

120

Current page

121

Current page

122

Current page

123

Current page

124

Sir,

As a Group 44 employee in the XJR-5/7 years I appreciated your story about our Le Mans efforts, but would take issue with the implication that XJR-5 was outclassed at Le Mans. In fact, the programme was better than its results indicate.

The 1984 results were looking quite good until 6am, which is when Tony Adamowicz crashed No40 while lying eighth. No44 was even better placed, in fifth at 7am, and on pace to finish on the podium, when it went out with a gearbox failure like that suffered by the Lancias, which used the same VGC ‘box. In terms of speeds, 44’s best lap was only 5sec off the winner’s fastest, and its top speed on the Mulsanne was third-best at 216mph.

In ’85, the chassis was considerably developed, utilising the new underbody and rear suspension from XJR-7 and not, as the author implies, the same old car with even less hope. Whereas in ’84 the emphasis had been on reliability, the plan in ’85 was to take a more aggressive approach, tuning the engine for more power, which included higher compression. Unfortunately, low-octane gas in the central pit fuel system caused both cars to suffer failed pistons in the first practice session. This debacle put the team behind and any chance of a good race result was lost.

The race results were nevertheless disappointing: No40 broke a CV joint and was stranded on course, while No44 finished 13th after a long delay.

No-one on the team felt the potential had been fulfilled, but proof of performance came in North America where XJR-5, and then XJR-7, both built by Group 44, posted wins in 1987 against some strong IMSA-spec Porsche 962s.

Ultimately, Tom Walkinshaw’s cars succeeded at Le Mans and in the world championship, but only after a considerable increase in funding over the Group 44 programme. Of the ‘what if’ Bob Tullius alludes to, we’ll never know. With additional funding and focus it would have been interesting to have seen Group 44’s results with the XJR-5/7 and its stillborn successor at La Sarthe.

I am, yours etc, Eric Kent, Winchester, Virginia, USA