Jaguar’s return to racing glory

Before we discuss this book, let’s outline the importance of what it covers. Great Britain suffered an immeasurable loss of its dignified swagger when one of Jaguar’s racing D-types was involved in the calamity at Le Mans in 1955. Despite its global dominance, Jaguar largely faded from the racing scene after that, as the garagistas like John Cooper and Colin Chapman came to embody the pinnacle of British racing eminence. It took an ambitious onetime Formula Ford jockey named Tom Walkinshaw to build the team, and the cars, that would return Jaguar to the pinnacle of sports car racing, nearly half a century after the Le Mans disaster. This, in the manageable presentation that typifies a title from Veloce Publishing in the U.K., tells the tale of that amazing turnaround.

For the record, Walkinshaw and his troupe brought Jaguar back all the way and then some: Sweeps of Le Mans and the Rolex 24 at Daytona in both 1988 and 1990, plus title in the World Manufacturers Championship for sports cars in 1987, 1988 and 1991. Walkinshaw started out with a race-prepped XJS coupe in the British touring-car slugfests before teaming up with designer Tony Southgate to create the series of prototypes, starting with the XJR-6 of 1985, combining a carbon-fiber structure with Jaguar’s locomotive-like V-12. Running to 144 pages, this hardcover history, TWR’s Le Mans-winning Jaguars, comes from the keyboard of John Starkey, a Brit turned fellow Floridian who’s famed for crafting authoritative histories on racing sports cars including Lola, the Porsche 935 and the Nissan GTP programs. It’s authoritative, fact-focused and manageable. The book is a well-spent 30 bucks.

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