Jaguar's US-conquering Supercat
During the 1960’s and 70’s American privateer Bob Tullius and his Group 44 team were loyal supporters of British Leyland, having raced Austin Healeys, MGs and Triumphs before switching to the Jaguar E-Type in 1974. The most successful Group 44 Jaguar was the XJ-S campaigned during the 1978 season. It had big shoes to fill as Tullius had won the 1977 title of the Trans-Am championship from a Porsche 911.
The sport's governing body weren’t too happy with two European cars dominating their championship so for 1978 the regulations were changed to suit the domestic Chevrolet Corvette. Group 44 set to work on a new car, the XJ-S, with power coming from the latest development of the Jaguar V12 which was modified to achieve around 580 bhp. The car was then finished in Group 44's familiar Quaker State colours.
At the first round of the Trans-Am championship's at Sears Point, Tullius' placed a disappointing ninth but bounced back with a second at Westwood and a third at Portland. The XJ-S then scored a breakthrough victory at St. Jovite, which was just the start. He then went on to win the next six races taking the driver’s and manufacturer’s title at the end of the season.
The Group 44 XJ-S remains as one of the most successful Jaguar racing cars, scoring more outright victories in a single season than any other chassis in the British manufacturer's long and rich competition history. This stunning example is available from Woodham Mortimer. For more information on this and other cars available, click on the link below. Photos ©Woodham Mortimer.