This Stunning Jaguar Le Mans Racer Has Never Actually Been To Le Mans

Classic Cars / 30 Comments

Thankfully, that's all going to change very soon.

Motor racing in the 1960s was, in quite a few ways, defined by its displays of dominance. The early Can-Am seasons, for instance, were essentially McLaren's to lose, and the tiny Matra team managed to secure the Formula One World Championship in only its second ever season in the sport. Perhaps the most impressive displays, though, were from Ford and Ferrari in sports car racing of the time. And, had things panned out differently, Jaguar might have joined the fray with the gorgeous XJ13.

It may be a mechanical masterpiece, but underneath the aerodynamically-honed bodywork lies the underpinnings of a potentially ferocious racing car that paired all the lessons learned from the C-Type and D-Type programs with a brand new, 500-hp 5.0-liter V12 engine. Sadly, Jaguar never was able to enter the car into proper races, as its then-new owners at the British Motor Corporation didn't see the relevance in spending all that money on a racing program - even though development on the XJ13 was pretty much finished by this time. As a result, the Jaguar XJ13 is likely the only completed sports car developed for Le Mans racing that's never actually turned a wheel in anger at Le Mans.

That is, it will be prior to this year's Le Mans Classic. 50 years after the project was originally cancelled, Jaguar will be bringing the XJ13 to the Le Mans track, as the lead vehicle of the Le Mans Classic's opening parade lap. Due to the one-off car's monetary and historical value, the XJ13 sadly won't be entered into any actual races, but it'll still be incredible to see such a stunning vehicle finally being driven for the first time around the very track it was designed to give Ford and Ferrari a damn good thrashing at. Hopefully it's not too late to make travel arrangements and book tickets for the Le Mans Classic 2016.

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