Jaguar XJR-15 (1991)

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The XJR-15 boasts the basic tub and running gear of the Le Mans winning Jaguar XJR-9  

1 of Just 27 Road Cars Built

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The XJR-15 proudly holds the title as the world's first all carbon fibre road car. Developed by Jaguar’s motorsport partner, Tom Walkinshaw Racing (TWR), with the intention of redefining the supercar. Beneath the Peter Stevens penned body is little more than a repurposing of Jaguar's 1988 Le Mans effort, the winning XJR-9 and with small, but profitable demand showing, TWR founded a subsidiary company, JaguarSport.

Originally intending to build the car under the TWR name as the ‘9R’, Jaguar were understood to be none too pleased that their motorsport partner was building a road car. They must have been especially irate at the fact the XJ220 - which was being designed at the same time as the XJR-15 - made significant compromises compared to the concept car they presented 1988, notably in terms of composite construction and of course the loss of a V12 powertrain that Jaguar were adamant would be unfeasible for a production model. Walkinshaw may have circumvented many potential disputes by informing Jaguar that he was merely building a car to run in a one-make race series and they need not worry. He promptly devised the one make series for the car to compete in.

Of course, the introduction of the street legal XJR-15 coincided with that of the ‘JaguarSport Intercontinental Challenge’. Running alongside the Formula 1 calendar, the Intercontinental Challenge supported three rounds in 1991: Monaco, Silverstone, and Spa Francorchamps. The series would offer the winners of the first two rounds a Jaguar XJR-S 6.0 and the winner of the final round would take home $1,000,000!

Featuring an all-alloy, 6-litre, naturally aspirated V12 paired to its carbon fibre body, and carbon fibre tub which tipped the scales at just 1,050 kg. The engine utilised the Group C specification bottom end, complete with forged pistons, crankshaft and conrods, and top end most closely related to that of the TWR Group A XJS touring cars. 450 hp and 429lb ft of torque meant 0-60mph came round in just 3.3 seconds and the top speed was 190mph; with high gearing it would go on to well north of 200mph. In 1991, the XJR-15 cost £600,000, not including the 5-speed all-synchromesh gearbox of the 'street' version at a further £55,000. TWR’s compromises for road usability had come in the form of widening the cockpit by 150mm and raising the roof by 40mm over the race car!

Please note, this vehicle is no longer for sale.

This example was supplied new in Mauritius Blue with the optional all-synchromesh 5-speed gearbox, air-conditioning, and grey leather trim. Originally exported to Germany, this example lead a very sheltered life as part of a collection.

In 2008, the car would change hands, during which time it returned to the UK with just 250 miles on the odometer. The new owner made the decision to send the car to marque experts Don Law Racing, who would carry out a full recommissioning over a rather extended time period, starting off that very same year. Over the course of six years, Law's works would see the car effectively benefit from a 'road-conversion'. In its original form, the XJR-15 was only a lightly modified version of the XJR-9, and whilst this truly meant for a road-going race car experience, it likely played a hefty role in the limited use this car saw in the first 17 years of its life!

Law set about addressing everything from engine-management to clutch and suspension redevelopment; not to detract from its intentions, but to offer a more usable proposition. The engine was removed from the tub, the heads removed and decoked, stripped, rebuilt, and refit with new head gaskets. The engine-management system itself was replaced with a digital Motec system to obviate problems from the obsolete factory fitted analogue Zytec system. Each of the engine ancillaries were individually removed and rebuilt.

To assist cooling, the car was equipped with a large core radiator and high flowing cooling fans making the car usable even in traffic. It wasn’t just the engine to benefit from efficient cooling, but the air conditioning too, seeing improvements to help keep the cockpit cool. Even the steering wheel was lightly modified making it removable for better access to and from the driver’s seat.

The owner at the time had specifically tasked Don Law to ‘go right the way through every aspect, and do whatever is necessary to make it a usable road car’. Adapting to the owners’ taste, the car was repainted to a more striking shade of blue, one that was matched to their AC Cobra 289 MKII and has since seen a few more examples of the XJR-15 follow suit in. Despite these works, the car was once more used exceedingly sparingly, with the mileage rising to just 600 miles by the time it changed hands in 2016.

In 2018, the car was exported to the USA where it has remained since with a prominent collector. In October 2023, a full service has just been completed which also saw an injector overhaul, new fuel pumps and additionally a new upgraded fuel tank in the form of a full omissions spec system (like the McLaren F1) replacing the standard fitment FT3. All parts for these works were supplied by Don Law Racing. Today, this example presents with just 740 miles from new and is available to view by appointment.

1991 Jaguar XJR-15: Britain’s Fervent Feline

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  • Jaguar XJR-15
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  • DK Database ID: #1914

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