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The Jaguar XJR-15 Is the Forgotten Jaguar Supercar

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author photo by Doug DeMuro January 2018

If you asked most car enthusiasts to name a Jaguar supercar from the 1990s, the answer you'd surely get is the XJ220. The Jaguar XJ220 is famous in car enthusiast circles for a lot of reasons -- its poor sales, its sheer absurdity, the fact that it used a V6 engine, the fact that many people suggest it couldn't actually hit the 220-mile per hour top speed in its name.

But the XJ220 wasn't the only supercar to come out of the world of Jaguar in the 1990s. From 1990 to 1992, Jaguar sold a different supercar called the XJR-15, which was made in conjunction with Jaguar's "Jaguar Sport" performance division and a race car manufacturer called Tom Walkinshaw Racing. Unlike the XJ220, the XJR-15 used a 6.0-liter V12, and the chassis was entirely made of carbon fiber and Kevlar -- two materials later used by the McLaren F1.

Maybe more important than anything, however, is the fact that the XJR-15 was effectively a road-going race car, designed in the spirit of the Jaguar D-Type from years earlier. The road car was based on the Jaguar XJR-9 race car, and reports from when the car was new discuss its race car similarities -- including the carbon fiber, the tight bucket seats, the driving position and the screaming mid-mounted V12. Jaguar even created a small race series with the XJR-15, heading to three tracks ahead of Formula One races in 1991.

In the end, Jaguar and TWR only built 53 examples of the XJR-15; production ended in 1992, and production of the XJ220 then began. But while the XJ220 is certainly the better-known 1990s Jaguar supercar, it surely isn't the only one. Just ask any of the few people left who remember the XJR-15.

Doug DeMuro is an automotive journalist who has written for many online and magazine publications. He once owned a Nissan Cube and a Ferrari 360 Modena. At the same time.

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The Jaguar XJR-15 Is the Forgotten Jaguar Supercar - Autotrader