As sister company Land Rover celebrates the 40th anniversary of the Range Rover nameplate, Jaguar has reached a milestone of its own – marking its 75th anniversary by announcing a return to the classic Le Mans 24-hour race.
Jaguar will compete with its stunning Jaguar XKR GT2 sports car at the circuit where the marquee claimed seven race wins between 1951 and 1990.
The Jaguar XKR GT2 racer shares most of its basic components with its road-going Jaguar XKR sibling, including the lightweight aluminium body structure and a tuned version of its 5.0-litre supercharged AJ133 V8 engine developing more than 370kW.
Mike O’Driscoll, Managing Director of Jaguar Cars said, “As we look to the future with our new range of high performance ‘R’-branded cars – the XKR and XFR – we aim to make the Jaguar brand synonymous with motorsports once again. It’s good to be back”
The car has been entered into the event by JaguarRSR, a company founded in 2009 by Paul Gentilozzi and his sons, Tony and John, in partnership with Jaguar Cars to build and race the Jaguar XKR in the American Le Mans Series GT2 class.
JaguarRSR has an impressive legacy to honour with Jaguar claiming the title of the single most successful British car maker in the history of the Le Mans 24-hour race.
“It is great to return to Le Mans after 15 years, and I look forward to the chance to drive there again,” said Gentilozzi. “The track is like no other in the world. It is a challenge to every driver, but I know I have exceptionally talented team-mates, and we will do the best we can out there in the XKR GT2 with race number 81!”
Jaguar last claimed victory in the event more than a decade ago with the V12-powered Jaguar XJR-12 in 1990.