RCL Exclusive

A Prototype That Helped Lead Jaguar to Le Mans Win Is Roaring Back

Ride Jaguar’s XJR-6 World Endurance Championship Group C Racing Coupe.

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On the road of life, sometimes there are sprints.

And other times there are marathons.

Meant to handle either with grace, poise, and a large V12 engine providing the power, this Jaguar XJR-6 World Endurance Championship Group C Racing Coupe was introduced for the 1985 endurance racing season.

The 1985 Jaguar XJR-6 which will cross the block at the Bonhams Bond Street Sale. (Bonhams)
The 1985 Jaguar XJR-6 which will cross the block at the Bonhams Bond Street Sale. (Bonhams)

Designed to meet the fuel and power requirements of three-hour sprints and daylong endurance races alike, this Jaguar XJR6 Group C prototype — chassis No. 285 — was built as part of a batch of three race cars.

The work of the legendary Tony Southgate, chassis No. 285 made its track debut with Tom Walkinshaw Racing at the end of the 1985 World Endurance Championship season and took third in the Budweiser GT at Mosport Park in Canada.

Following the respectable finish in its first outing, chassis No. 285 entered the remaining four World Endurance Championship races of 1985, but failed to achieve a similar result due to either mechanical issues, ineffectiveness, weather problems, or a combination of those factors.

The 1985 Jaguar XJR-6 which will cross the block at the Bonhams Bond Street Sale. (Bonhams)
The 1985 Jaguar XJR-6 which will cross the block at the Bonhams Bond Street Sale. (Bonhams)

Originally outfitted with a 6.2-liter V12, the rare XJR-6 racing coupe was upgraded to a 6.5-liter naturally aspirated engine for the 1985 season.

The upgraded engine came hand in hand with improvements like adding cooling louvers into the side panels of the vehicle’s gullwing doors and installing roof-mounted engine air intake scoops.

Despite those improvements, chassis No. 285 never really matched the success it had during its initial race in Canada and was eventually retired as Tom Walkinshaw Racing switched over to the 7-liter XJR-8.

The 1985 Jaguar XJR-6 which will cross the block at the Bonhams Bond Street Sale. (Bonhams)
The 1985 Jaguar XJR-6 which will cross the block at the Bonhams Bond Street Sale. (Bonhams)

Raced by Martin Brundle, Hans Heyer, Jean-Louis Schlesser, Jan Lammers, Steve Sop, and Mike Thackwell over the course of its career, the XJR-6 was an important step for Jaguar despite its relatively disappointing track record. It did help the marque push the design of its endurance racers forward.

That evolution paid off in Jaguar’s overall win at Le Mans win 1990.

The 1985 Jaguar XJR-6 which will cross the block at the Bonhams Bond Street Sale. (Bonhams)
The 1985 Jaguar XJR-6 which will cross the block at the Bonhams Bond Street Sale. (Bonhams)

First owned by marque collector Campbell McLaren after being put out to pasture, chassis No. 285 was sold at the 1999 Goodwood Festival of Speed to David Coplowe.

The vehicle’s new owner then presented it across Europe multiple times over the next three years before finally arriving at the 2007 Silverstone Classic in time to celebrate Group C racing’s 25th anniversary.

The car is now owned by a Group C enthusiast – but not for long.

The 1985 Jaguar XJR-6 which will cross the block at the Bonhams Bond Street Sale. (Bonhams)
The 1985 Jaguar XJR-6 which will cross the block at the Bonhams Bond Street Sale. (Bonhams)

Crossing the block at the Bonhams Bond Street Sale on December 1, the car is expected to fetch anywhere from $2,800,000 to $3,600,000.

The sale of the lot comes complete with Tom Walkinshaw Racing documentation including team paperwork with original set-up notes, race and test data.