Playing Cat And Mouse: Jaguar XJR-5 Versus Porsche 962

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Here is what it’s like to drive Jaguar’s wild IMSA racer on the banks of Daytona. 

The track banking is so steep you find yourself having to crane your neck upward just to look at the track ahead. Your eyes are fixated on the bright blue rear end of the Porsche ahead. Your goal is to cut the gap between your front bumper and theirs, ideally finding a way to get ahead of them. You’re both in decades old equipment, racing on a track that was opened before either of you were born. Your breathing is heavy and your focus is decidedly deliberate, but you are keeping your cool. He gains an inch here, you gain it back at the next corner. The cars have their own weaknesses, you just have to find a way to exploit theirs and minimize yours. That’s racing.

In this awesome on-board video of a few laps of Daytona, you can see Doug Smith’s efforts to get by the Leyton House Porsche ahead. Unfortunately, he never does make it by, as it was the Porsche which won the class. This is one of the sessions held during the Classic 24 Hours of Daytona held just a few weeks ago. Nevertheless, it’s an interesting look at the inner workings of a car none of us will ever have the privilege of driving, let alone racing wheel-to-wheel.

These cars are both from a different era. When racing cars still required three pedals and a gearshift, manipulated with deft accuracy. There’s an intimidating simplicity to this car, and a huge wide-open cockpit that is seemingly devoid of safety equipment. It moves like no other Jag from the era, and sounds like heaven on earth. We aren’t sure we have the talent to handle this car, but boy howdy we’d give it a good shot.

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