At the third round of CSCS in 2011 I witnessed a pair of British drivers whipping a Jaguar XJ around the road course.
Watching the big cat rip corners I couldn’t help but smile at the fact that you can literally race anything you want provided you are either a) stubborn enough b) smart enough c) crazy enough or d) rich enough or e) all of the above.
Ralph Broad’s Broadspeed Racing Team just happens to be all of the above and in 76 they campaigned the unlikely (and reportedly unreliable) Jaguar XJ12c as a race car.
Previously racing Ford Anglias, Mini Coopers, and Triumph Dolomites, Ralph and co figured Jaguars v12 would be a beast on the track.
According to the Amazo Effect Broadspeed put forth a valiant effort trying to get the Jag to run around the track swiftly despite the car fighting them all the while.
Oil starvation was the biggest problem, followed by half shafts, and tires, on top of the normal eccentricities that come with a 1970′s luxury coupe and keeping the coupe running long enough to finish a race was a herculean effort.
When the car did run it put down lighting fast qualifying times while retaining such luxuries as a wooden dash and power windows.
The car wore significantly altered body work compared to the factory XJ12C and boasted 550hp (a bit higher in the second season) under the hood and in 76 at the RAC Tourist Trophy race at Silversone it put down a qualifying lap of 1 min 36.72 seconds beating the almighty BMW 3.0CSl driven by Pierre Dieudonné by two whole seconds.
The car stuck around until the end of 1977 with occasional bright points (chronicled here) but was never overly successful as a whole as the mechanical problems mounted and the competition got faster.
Never the less this car (to me at least) stands out as one of the more unique looking race cars I’ve come across recently.
Some rich eccentric needs to start campaigning current generation luxury coupes as race cars for the heck of it.
Another year in review post should be early next week, and I’m currently going over an idea in my head for the fan page in the month of January, more on that perhaps soon.
That’s also the first time I came across the Ratso Italiano.