1990 Jaguar XJR-12 Pilots: M. Brundle, P. Cobb, J. Nielsen Team: Silk Cut Jaguar Race: 1st overall (C1 class) at Le Mans in 1990 Ixo - LM 1990 (diecast)
From 1955 to 1957 Jaguar was the reigning force at Le Mans, but for the next 35 years the brand didn’t have a works car in the race. In the early 80’s, stimulated especially by Tom Walkinshaw, Jaguar decided to get back to La Sarthe. For 1984 Group 44 Jaguar USA had two XJR-5 running in Le Mans. However, both cars abandoned the race in the first 30 laps. The next year the XJR-5 disappointed again, and had to abandon with just three hours to go. However, the project persisted, and in 1988, with the XJR-9, Jaguar earned its first victory at La Sarthe after the 50’s. The following year the XJR-9 was no match for Sauber’s C9, so a new car was necessary. So for 1990 Jaguar debuted a new car, the XJR-12.
Heavily based on the XJR-9, the XJR-12 weighed only 900 kg and used a 6995 cm³ V12 with SOHC. With the engine delivering 730 hp, connected to a 5-speed TWR manual gearbox it could reach 368 km/h. The chassis was a carbon fiber monocoque, covered by carbon fiber composite panels. And the new car worked, coming in first place in the 24 Heures du Mans of 1990. During the race, the XJR-12 #3 covered 4882.4 km at an average speed of 204.036 km/h, with a maximum speed of 353 km/h. And that was with the two new chicanes built in the Les Hunaudières.
In scale, Ixo did a quite good job in replicating the car. The model is definitively not as crisp as Ixo’s more recent efforts, but very nice nonetheless. This is the second time I buy this car, since the first time I was fooled and got a stinking pw. But after over two years looking for one I finally got a nice version of the XJR-12 #3.