The Jaguar XJ 220C - A true "Supercar"

Episode IV - A New Hope

Back when the words "McLaren F1" meant Ayrton Senna to even the most diehard sportscar fan, Jaguar burst onto the GT1-Supercar scene. 1993 was considered one of the darkest years in sportscar history. The overblown Group C championship was rightly put out of its misery in 1992, with Peugeot hanging on to sweep Le Mans, practically uncontested. So for 1993, there was no world (European) sportscar championship. There was only a few national cups and the Porsche and Venturi one-make series.

The Italian GT Cup was one of the stronger regional championships, and it boasted Ferrari F40's, the ususal Porsches, and yes, a Jaguar. This Jag was developed by Tom Wakinshaw's TWR racing team from the notoriously unreliable street version.

These "GT" Jaguars fit not only the rules, but the spirit of the Supercar concept. The car shown here is from the "Top Run" team driven by Paulo Cutrera, and went on to win two rounds of this championship. More importantly, this type of car was the "missing link" between the Group C and BPR eras.

In 1993, two of these Jaguars were entered at LeMans. One of the TWR XJ220C's (#51) was the first retirement, on lap 6, with a blown head gasket.

Here is the story on #50, listed as the 15th finisher overall, but disqualified. Janos Wimpfenn writes:

"Sir Jack Brabham went away a proud father (David was a co-driver with the Jag) with both of his sons being winners, only to encounter an unfortunate epilogue several weeks later. The TWR Jaguar had decided to enter their car as being prepared to IMSA's GT specifications. This allowed them to use wider rims. But the team failed to notice that it also required them to install a catalytic converter. Having failed to do this, the Larbre team protested and were awarded the GT class victory."

 

Yes, there is even 1:43 scale carpet fuzz

A decent job on the V-6 engine bay


The LeMans loss was actually the highlight of the Car's history, but it still is relevant because it tried to be the McLaren F1 two years earlier. If Tom Wakinshaw wasn't so wrapped up in his duties as Benneton's team manager, and launching the career of a certain Michael Schumacher, things could have been different.


This model by the now-defunct "Detail Cars" brand is actually pretty good. Since it doesn't come from a certain company in Aachen Germany, I got it for a song on eBay. The doors open, which when done wrong can really be a annoying. They did a fair job of having them look aligned when closed. The interior detail is interesting, and you can't say they weren't trying. The engine bay is a fair representation of how this V-6 was put together.

The wheels are disappointing, considering how much went into the interior. The paint and decals are adequate, but show how far this industry has come in five years.

Minichamps also put out a version of this car in its 1995 "silver box" era. The quality is similar, albiet with better wheels and less interior detail.

 


Detail Cars Jaguar XJ220, Itailian GT Cup 1993
Category Rating (out of five)
Detail
Paint and Decals
Wheels
Historical Relevance