Jaguar D-type - created for Le Mans

Jaguar D-type was created as a model for Le Mans races. It was a completely new type with new construction. It was built on a monocoque made of magnesium alloy with tubular frame in the front part of the car. The car’s innovative aerodynamic bodywork was designed by M. Sayer, who used many features from aviation industry. The first XKC401 prototype (later D-type) was much quicker than the C-type, although its maximum speed did not increase considerably. Due to a dry sump of the engine used in this model, its bodywork and front bulkhead could be lowered, what changed the car’s aerodynamics and lowered the centre of the car. The model’s engine was almost identical with the preceding C-type, but it was equipped with three Weber carburettors. It was tuned to 245 hp and its maximum speed was 280 km/h. A fin was mounted behind the driver for stability for more than 240 km/p. Jaguar Cars also experimented with fuel injection of fuel, but the first engine with this system was used in 1956. The model used a four-speed gearbox which was synchronized from second gear.

The model used new Dunlop stabila tyres which were developed by Dunlop specifically for Jaguar D-type. Perforated wheel rims made of light alloys were used to cool its disc brakes.

Jaguar D-type made its debut in the 1954 24 Hours of Le Mans where it broke the lap record held by Ferrari by 5 seconds. Unfortunately, D-type ended less than a lap, or 105 seconds, behind the winning Ferrari. The car had problems with fuel and it lacked necessary output. In 1954 race in Reims racing Jaguars reached first positions the race.


Jaguar D-type was adjusted in 1955 when its front hood was elongated in order to reach higher speed – this type of hood was called “long nose”. Its cylinder head was equipped with bigger suction and exhaust valves. Jaguar D-type cars were also transported airborne in 1955 and the winning D-type was driven by Bueb/Hawthorn.

In 1956 regulations for racing cars became stricter. Racing cars had to use full-width windscreens and its fuel tank capacity was limited to 127 litres. Two “long nose” D-types took part in the race, one of them equipped with Lucas fuel injection. The race was won by Flockhart/Sanderson from Scottish Ecurie Ecosse team. Two cars had an accident and the winning team from previous year was sixth.

Jaguar Cars focussed mostly on passenger cars and the company decided to withdraw from motorsport in on 13th October 1956. Remaining three racing D-types were sold to Ecurie Ecosse.

This decision did not mean that Jaguars disappeared from racing circuits. A tuned Jaguar D-type with 3.8 litre engine debuted at Sebring. This model also reached the speed 297 km/h at Boneville, what was officially the highest speed performed by Jaguar D-type.

Ecurie Ecosse won in 1957 with two Jaguars D-type. Flockart and Webb with D-type with 3.8 litre engine (XKF606) was fist, third position reached a private team Equipe Los Amigos from France with D-type and fourth position was reached by yet another D-type from Belgian national team.

Jaguar Cars also gained great reputation for their engines what meant that these were used by other constructors of racing cars. A Cooper racing car with Jaguar engine took part in Le Mans in 1956. A Jaguar engine was also used by Brian Lister and John Tojeir and a racing car Lister-Jaguar and S. Moss won in Silverstone in 1958.


Complete specification of Jaguar D-type and Jaguar XKSS year after year

Jaguar D-type Le Mans
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