TWR’s IMSA contender is better value than its Silk Cut siblings
With a rack of sports car success behind it by the end of the 1980s, including two WSCC titles and a loudly cheered victory at Le Mans in ’88, Jaguar was on a roll. But its raucous sports-prototypes didn’t just compete in the European championships; the TWR effort extended over the Atlantic to the IMSA GTP series, where TWR US in Indiana prepared the rapid twin-turbo V6 XJR-10.
In 1990, Jaguar placed second in the IMSA series while the Group C XJR-12 won at Le Mans and Daytona. The Cats were flying, but in the States Nissan and Eagle-Toyota were becoming a threat so TWR decided that to fight back it needed to replace the XJR-10.
That new car was the XJR-16, designed solely for IMSA GTP and powered by a 3-litre V6 that topped 750bhp, gulping air for its twin turbos via upright snorkels on its flanks. Structurally it carried on the same carbon-fibre and honeycomb monocoque but with a longer wheelbase and new pushrod suspension, while a twin-tier rear wing added huge downforce, the lower deck effectively extending the diffuser. Drag was not an issue as fuel was not restricted in IMSA as it was in GpC, although the wing did create a rear downforce bias, countered later with an extra nose wing.
Driven by Davy Jones, the new car – chassis 191, currently for sale at William Loughran – set pole time on its 1991 debut at Road Atlanta, where Jones went on to win. Three more wins came his way in this car that season and, while the title went to Nissan’s Geoff Brabham, 191 took Jones to third in the standings. It had only one more outing in period, qualifying second in the 1992 Daytona 24 Hours with Jones, David Brabham, Scott Goodyear and Scott Pruett.
Since then 191 has had a renewed career in historic Group C, benefiting from extensive development including wiring, ECU and engine development as well as having chassis dynamics optimised.
With victories at Monza, Spa and in Portugal it’s a competitive entry to Peter Auto events and is eligible for the Le Mans Classic, where it has run previously. It has also been seen at Goodwood’s Festival of Speed. Less well-known than its predecessors, but as an investment a good alternative.