Total Production: 50
After four years of trying with previous evolutions, Jaguar was successful at capturing victory with the JXR-9 at the 1988 edition of the 24 Hours of LeMans. Another Jaguar finished fourth, with Porsche filling the rest of the top ten places with their mighty 962C. In recognition of this effort, Jaguar Sport and TWR (Tom Walkinshaw Racing) developed a road-going version. The new road racer was derived from the XJR-9 and XJR-12 race cars and was called the XJR-15.
This was not Jaguar's only supercar being developed during this era. They were also working on the XJ220, which was produced from 1992 through 1994 with 282 examples built. Also developed with TWR, the XJ220 was powered by a 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V6 engine developing 542 horsepower. To help distinguish the XJ220 from the XJR-15, Jaguar Sport created a one-make racing series for the XJR-15 in 1991. Open to all owners of the XJR-15, races were run as a support for Formula 1 races, and the series was known as the Jaguar Sport International Challenge.
The carbon-fiber composite monocoque and running gear were nearly identical to the XJR-9's. Power was from a 6-liter V12 engine that offered approximately 450 horsepower. It was mated to a TWR six-speed gearbox that had been developed for LeMans racing but never used. A five-speed, all-synchromesh gearbox was optional. The bodywork and chassis were composed of carbon fibre and Kevlar composites. Although it was a road-going car, it was built to comply with 1990 Group C regulations, with a length of 480 cm, a width of 190cm, and a height of 110 cm. The bottom of the car was completely flat, in keeping with Group C practice.
The suspension was fully independent, with non-adjustable Bilstein shock absorbers on all four corners. The front setup was comprised of wide-based wishbones, working push-rods to spring damper units mounted horizontally across the center of the car. In the back were vertical coil springs mounted in units with uprights within the rear wheels.
The idea had been conceived by Tom Walkinshaw and Peter Stevens had been enlisted to develop the car. Originally designated the R-9R, it was meant to be an alternative to the XJ220. Built as a road-going car, it complied with British construction and use regulations and could be registered by the owner for road use in the United Kingdom. With such a limited production run, the car was never type-approved.
The performance was exceptional with zero-to-sixty mph taking 3.9 seconds and top speed achieved at 191 mph.
Jaguar planned on producing 50 examples with a price of $1 million. This would possibly satisfy homologation requirements for a proposed GT class. Customers who intended on racing the cars were retained by Jaguar, prepared by Jaguar Sport, and brought to the races for the customers.
Approximately 50 examples were built, but it is not known if that 50 figure was achieved. A further five examples were built for the Japanese market and fitted with seven-liter engines.
The XJR-15 raced at Monaco where Derek Warwick finished in first position, followed by David Brabham and then Davy Jones. Juan Manuel Fangio II came in fourth. At Silverstone, Juan Manuel Fangio II was in first, followed by Bob Wollek and Ian flux. At Spa Francorchamps, Armin Hahne came in first, then Cor Euser, followed by Win Percy. Armin Hahne would finish the season with the $1 million championship trophy.
In a similar fashion to the Jaguar XJ220, the JXR-15 failed to be a commercial success.
By Daniel Vaughan | Sep 2019