Never Mind The XJ220, We’d Rather Have This Jaguar XJR-11 Group C Racer | Feature
The XJ220 is the most famous of the two supercars Jaguar has built to date, with 275 units being delivered; the even more exotic XJR-15, by comparison, had a run of just 53 cars. But, if we could afford it, we’d rather have the Jag featured in those images than any of the other two – and we’ll tell you why.
What we have here is a 1990 Jaguar XJR-11, one of only three prepared for Group C competition. It’s a certified race winner, progenitor of the XJ220 that would follow two years later, and fully prepared for track duty and historic racing.
Like the XJ220 road car, the XJR-11 racer embodied a switch from V12 power (used in the XJR-9) to a smaller, lighter, twin-turbocharged V6 – the better for tighter circuits. It was derived from the Cosworth engine used in the MG Metro Group B rally car, and was later further adapted for – you guessed it – the XJ220. Two versions were prepared: a 3.0-liter for the IMSA series in the US (where the same car was dubbed the XJR-10), and one with 3.5 liters for the international Group C (used in this XJR-11) where it produced 750 horsepower.
Thanks to its smaller form than the old V12 and its aluminum construction, the engine weighed just 143 kg (315 pounds), helping JaguarSport (a joint venture between Jaguar and Tom Walkinshaw Racing) to better challenge the Sauber-Mercedes C11s. And challenge it did, winning the race at Silverstone, where this very example lead a one-two finish for JaguarSport.
Unfortunately it proved unreliable and retired from numerous races that year, leaving Sauber’s “Silver Arrows” to win every other round on the calendar. But it’s now been comprehensively restored by the specialists at JD Classics, and it’s coming up for auction, complete with its iconic Silk Cut/Castrol purple and white livery.
Bonhams expects it to fetch £1.2-1.5 million (about $1.5-2m) when the gavel drops this weekend at the Goodwood Revival. If we were so fortunate as to have the cash on hand, we’d be there bidding – especially if we had an XJ220 to drive on the way to the track.