Jaguar Displayed This Filthy, Daytona-Winning XJR-12D at the 1990 Chicago Auto Show
Walkinshaw Jag wore 24 hours of race grime on the show floor.
This clip only lasts 35 seconds, but it captures one of our favorite traditions of the Chicago Auto Show: dirty race cars. That might sound strange, but the show in Chicago typically comes just days after the 24 Hours of Daytona. Most years, one or more Daytona competitors turn up at McCormick Place in Chicago. Instead of the finely buffed sheen of most show cars, these wear the dirt, grime, tire remains, and dead bugs from 24 hours of hard racing. And this 1990 Jaguar XJR-12D wears it well.
This very car had just won the 24 Hours of Daytona mere days before the Auto Show in 1990. Davy Jones, Jan Lammers, and Andy Wallace had logged four more laps than their teammates’ XJR-12D, which had given Jaguar a 1-2 finish on Daytona’s road course. This very chassis, prepared by Tom Walkinshaw Racing (TWR), raced one last time at the 12 Hours of Sebring, scoring a third-place finish.
TWR would reuse the teammate car and build three more XJR-12s for the 1990 24 Hours of Le Mans. All four cars wore the unforgettable purple-and-yellow Silk Cut cigarettes livery. The trio who had finished second at Daytona (Price Cobb, Martin Brundle, and John Nielsen) would take that car to victory at Le Mans, making the rare sweep of Daytona and Le Mans in one year.
The Jaguar XJR-12D came around arguably at the height of the Group C era. Under the streamlined rear bodywork lurked a 7.0-liter V12 that made about 730 horsepower, which propelled the XJR-12D to 219 miles per hour at Le Mans. It likely could have gone faster, but Le Mans organizers introduced the chicanes on the Mulsanne Straight in 1990.
Three XJR-12Ds entered Le Mans in 1991, when they finished 2nd, 3rd, and 4th behind the Mazda 787B. Regulations changes effectively neutered Group C soon thereafter and Jaguar quit sports car racing as a factory effort by 1992.