JAGUAR'S THE TOP CAT AT LE MANS; Audi supercars are upstaged in event's parade lap honours.A JAGUAR upstaged Audi's hi-tech supercars at this year's Le Mans 24 hour race. The 1956 winning Jaguar D-Type The Jaguar D-type, like its predecessor the C-Type, was a factory-built race car. Although it shared the basic straight-6 XK engine design (uprated to 3.8 litres) with the C-Type, the majority of the car was radically different. stole the glory by being chosen to carry the famous Le Mans trophy in the parade lap, writes Chris Russon.
Although not competing, Jaguar was given the honour in preference to Audi which went on to make motoring history by taking the chequered flag for the first time with a diesel engined car.
Jaguar, in conjunction with Dunlop, brought the D-Type back to Le Mans to mark the 50th anniversary of its victory with Ninian Sanderson and Ian Flockhart behind the wheel.
Despite Audi winning five of the past six Le Mans races, organisers the Automobile Club de l'Ouest The Automobile Club de l'Ouest (Automobile Club of the West - referring to the western region of France), sometimes abbreviated to ACO, is the largest automotive group in France. decided that Jaguar should perform the VIP duties at this year's event.
It led to red faces in the Audi camp when a 1930s Audi arrived to start the parade only to discover Jaguar was carrying the trophy in the 1956 winning D-Type with Jaguar founder Sir William Lyons' grandson Michael Quinn on board.
The Audi, which had been prepared with a special stanchion stanchion
a specially designed headgate to hold an animal in place while allowing feeding and resting. Most commonly used for cattle.
stanchion housing to carry the trophy, dutifully du·ti·ful
1. Careful to fulfill obligations.
2. Expressing or filled with a sense of obligation.
du followed behind during the parade.
"This just shows the esteem in which Jaguar is held at Le Mans," said a Jaguar spokesman. "The honour normally goes to the previous year's winner but on this occasion the organisers decided the Jaguar was the much more important vehicle."
Audi has won at Le Mans six times compared to Jaguar's seven victories.
The 1956 winning D-Type, now owned by American company Cavallino, will be making its next public appearance at the Goodwood Festival of Speed The Goodwood Festival of Speed, commonly abbreviated as FoS and referred within the United Kingdom as the Festival of Speed, is an annual hill climb featuring historic motor racing vehicles that is held in the grounds of Goodwood House, West Sussex, UK. in July.
It was one of five D-Types which Jaguar brought to this year's Le Mans to mark its dominance of the endurance race in the 1950s.
The cars, including the prototype D-Type from 1951, featured in a cavalcade cav·al·cade
1. A procession of riders or horse-drawn carriages.
2. A ceremonial procession or display.
3. A succession or series: starred in a cavalcade of Broadway hits. of historic racers which thrilled the record 235,000 strong crowd for three laps before the start of the event.
Jaguar first won at Le Mans in 1951 with an XK120 and went on to take the honours in 1953, again with an XK120. The D-Types scored victories in 1955, 56 and 57.
After a break of more than 30 years, Jaguar returned to Le Mans' glory in 1988 with the XJR XJR Xghajra (postal locality, Malta) 9 and repeated the performance in 1990 with the XJR 12.
Jaguar's seven victories place the Midland car maker third in the list of Le Mans legends behind Ferrari and Porsche.
The XJR 9, which raced again in 1989, also holds the honour of being clocked at 243mph - the second fastest speed ever recorded during the race. In 1956 the D-Type, entered by Scottish team Ecurie Ecosse, had a top speed in excess of 190mph and completed 300 laps - a distance of 2,521.8 miles at an average speed of 105mph - on its way to victory.
This year's winning Audi R10 completed a new distance record of 380 laps.
Racing driver Gary Pearson, who was at the wheel of the 1956 Jaguar in the parade lap, said: "This is the finest example of a D-Type any where in the world.
"Since its victory it has done very few miles and still feels wonderfully precise and very powerful. It's a joy to drive. As a Le Mans winner it's a very special car indeed."
The car is conservatively valued in excess of pounds 6million.
Dunlop, which made the tyres for the Jaguar Le Mans winners in the glory years, also supplied tyres for this year's race from its Fort Dunlop factory in Birmingham
The company has recently renewed its relationship with Jaguar by developing the tyres for the new XK sports car which is built at Jaguar's nearby Castle Bromwich works.
COOL CAT... The 1956 winning Jaguar back at Le Mans (main picture, top), Michael Quinn and Gary Pearson with the Le Mans trophy (above left, top), the winning Audi R10 (left). Above, pictures of the 1956 race show the D-Type winning (top) and the 1956 D-Type at speed on the Mulsanne straight