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Jaguar & Rover Racing: Insider Tech Tales

unique experience, reviewing three major hardback technical books simultaneously, all written by Kiwi Allan Scott. Allan, a leading race Engine Division manager for 15 intense years, tells insider technical tales behind the frequently controversial racing record of Tom Walkinshaw Racing (TWR).


That means Allan’s experience covered rotary engine Mazda RX-7s, Rover V8 SD1s, Jaguar’s aluminium V12s and GM Australia’s Holden V8s. We had witnessed 24-hour race wins as far apart as Daytona Beach and Spa-Francorchamps, so the fascination lay in Jaguar’s classic V12 motor as deployed in the European Touring Car Championship XJS—and a line of XJR prototype sports racers that seized World Championships and won at Le Mans with V12 power.

Published from 2012 to 2018, these titles are the first proper examination of TWR’s winning ways. Tragically, founder/top driver Tom Walkinshaw died fighting cancer in 2010 and it is unlikely that anyone could recount a more accurate account than Scott now. The quietly spoken, but direct, New Zealander tackles the dark sides of TWR’s achievements—including the High Court actions over Rover’s V8 rocker gear—as well as the considerable success achieved across multiple racing derivatives.

You would not buy these glossy books for their photographic content, which harks back to the bad old days of UK motoring media. Yet technical drawings and outstanding in-depth of knowledge are apparent over page lengths from 320 to 400 in a generously large and legible format.

The reviewer’s priority was the Jaguar XJS (we are aware Jaguar used XJ-S, but this is how Scott has it) title, as it covers both the failed 1976-77 Broadspeed XJ Coupé, as well as the development of TWR’s XJS challenge to BMW and more from 1982 onward. Initiated as a non-factory project with Motul Oils sponsorship, the TWR’s approach to redeveloping a Jag V12 for competition centred on lower weight and reliability through less complex systems than Broadspeed utilised in the bulky XJ Coupé.

 As a pedigree engine man you’d expect Allan to concentrate on motor data, but in all three titles he details the myriad modifications needed to reach the ideal of racing’s  ‘Unfair Advantage.’ Rulebook legal, TWR’s resourcefully ingenious rule interpretation frequently attracted rival protests, occasionally race disqualifications and that British High Court action.

Nowhere was this more evident than the 1982-85 XJS racers, low-line coupés that met neither Group A’s 5000 per annum production targets, nor the cabin measurements intended by the regulations. TWR had already won a British saloon car title and Spa 24-Hours with a Mazda RX7 (under oddball Group 1½ regulations). They duly squeezed the XJS past compliant regulators, who needed Jaguar’s presence to lift the status of the FIA European Touring Car Championship above that of a BMW benefit.

The XJS came to the 1982 season with 390 of the intended 400+ horsepower. During 1983 it went from 420 to 430 bhp and could safely rev to 7250 rpm rather than the earlier 6500.Substantial further modifications including camshaft profiling from Cosworth allowed 485-490 bhp by an astonishing 8000 rpm in 1984. By then TWR were looking at 6-litre, and eventually 7-litre, V12s to enter Group C prototype World Championship racing.

XJS harboured a host of racing-only features including deleting inboard braking for outboard rear discs. Plus some tricks with the mandatory bag fuel tank systems to obtain maximum race runs between pit stops, centre lock wheels slashing pit lane periods. XJS raced on a stripped weight closing on the permitted 1400 kg, nearly 400 kg less than a showroom XJS. By 1983, with some production dietary tweaks, Scott reported 1435 kg.

The 1984 season saw TWR and Jaguar achieve a trio of record book results, winning Spa 24 hours and both driver and manufacturer titles of the European Touring Car Championship. The XJS continued racing in Australia (go to YouTube, watch Walkinshaw’s heroic Bathurst qualifying lap) and New Zealand.

The Rover title will interest British enthusiasts, although the V8s were raced extensively, and successfully, in Europe (winning the French Championship) and beyond. They were also spectacular rally cars in the hands of Austin Rover factory hands such as Tony Pond and Mark Duez. Author Scott is again properly thorough, taking the tale from the unreliable first sorties in the British Championship for DPR (David Price Racing) to outright winners from 1983-86 to represent Austin Rover.

The Scott trio of books inevitably contain overlaps of information in setting the scene. Yet the most recent Jaguar V12 story also has unique detail asides to the XJ220 and XJR one-make V12 series. Metro-derived V6 turbo motors and the Cosworth HB V8s used in the later stages of the 1985-1993 TWR Jaguar programmes are also investigated.

TWR-Jaguar contested both World Championship and American IMSA titles with varying power units and radically different race cars wrapped around those motors, but the heartland is how Scott —and an initially tiny engine build staff and facility—redeveloped the V12 into a world class race unit capable of defeating Germany’s Porsche and Mercedes. A task that looked impossible when Porsche dominated much of the 1980s with their 956 and 962 turbo warriors.

Some 6.2 litres and 675 bhp saw TWR working through many capacities and the adoption of mandatory 98-octane petrol. They also explored 24 and 48-valve cylinder heads for Jaguar’s V12. By 1991 a reliable 100 bhp per litre was released, meaning 740 bhp at 7000 rpm for TWR’s 7.4 litre.

Scott relays enough detail that you know what went into all those motors down the last shim.

Jeremy Walton



BUYING DETAILSSales are handled by Chaters Booksellers: prices quoted correct @ January 2019 TWR and Jaguar’s XJS:Inside Tom Walkinshaw’s Group A racing team.ISBN: 978098766550, published 2012 @ £44.99, now £29.99. TWR and Jaguar’s V12 prototype sports cars:Inside TWR’s World Championship Winning TeamISBN:9780473442552, published 2018 £ 49.99 TWR and Rover’s SD1: Inside Tom Walkinshaw’s Rover racing teamISBN: 9780473281281. Published 2014 @ £49.99