As the 1980s rolled into the 1990s, the TWR Jaguar team was among the leading Group C participants, winning the World Championship in 1987 and taking victory at Le Mans in 1988 and 1990. But when drastic rule changes were announced for the 1991 season, their large displacement V12 and twin-turbo V6 engines fell out of favour.
The next generation of cars were to be powered by naturally-aspirated engines with a displacement limit of 3.5-litres, which was coincidentally the same as for Formula 1. So, the TWR team took on Ross Brawn, and Cosworth's latest F1 engine (thanks to its mother company Ford) and created the Jaguar XJR-14, on which work began in late 1989. Aerodynamic efficiency dictated the car’s design, resulting in what has been described as a ‘fully clothed F1 car’.
Of the XJR-14, 1988 World Sports Car champion Martin Brundle once said: “The XJR-14 stuck to the ground, gave you confidence, did everything it was supposed to do and was an absolute pleasure to drive. I used to challenge myself in it, because you’d go through a corner with so much speed and think, ‘I can’t believe I just did that. Right, see if you can do this, then…’”
This little video is evidence enough that the Jaguar XJR-14 has one of the most beautiful engine notes around. Shared by Iconic Racing, that 3.5-litre V8 absolutely screams, and with Gerard Lopez muscling it around Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari – also known as Imola – in the wet it’s clear to see those brilliantly grippy characteristics.