The launch of Jaguar Heritage Racing means enthusiasts will once more get to see history-making cars in historic competition action at high-profile events all over the world. The programme kicks off in May at the 2012 Mille Miglia Retrospective. It was 60 years ago in 1952 that Stirling Moss came so near to winning the event in the pioneering disc-braked C-type.
Sir Stirling was among a line up of 'Jaguar Family,' including John Coombs and Win Percy, who regaled the audience with fascinating anecdotes at the launch held at the RAC Club on London’s Pall Mall on March 12. It was a date that was chosen carefully, for it marked 60 years to the day that Leslie Johnson put down an amazing production car marker at Montlhery, Paris by covering a 131.83 miles in one hour in a Jaguar XK120.
At the launch, Frank Klaas, Jaguar Land Rover head of global communications, said: 'We recognised that we weren’t doing enough to tell our story. Other companies are purely technology driven. We have that technology too, but we’re also driven by a unique history and emotion and that’s what separates us.'
Jaguar Heritage Racing will be in competitive action at the Nurburgring Oldtimer Grand Prix in August and at the Goodwood Revival the following month. The Jaguar Heritage Racing programme is being operated by premier classic Jaguar specialist JD Classics, which will effectively become Jaguar’s historic works racing department, campaigning C- and D-types, as well as production models including XK120s. The Maldon, Essex-based company, run by Derek Hood, already runs Jaguar’s historic Group C cars. Ken McConomy, Jaguar global PR director, said: 'Derek and JD Classics are the ideal partner for Jaguar. In JD we have a proven and qualified partner.'
As well as high-profile competition events Jaguar will also have a presence at prestige international showcases including the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in auction. The first-year programme includes no less than 20 outings, with non-competition exhibits provided by the Jaguar Heritage collection.
The new impetus is a clear signal that in the Jaguar of today history and heritage is a key part of the brand message. That seems to augur well for Jaguar Heritage and its collection of 150 cars that is looking for a new home with its imminent departure from the Browns Lane, which has been sold. Ken McConomy, Jaguar global PR director, said: 'We have a plan. I can’t reveal what it is yet, but it is ambitious and very exciting. The collection will not be moving far from its spiritual home at Coventry.'
Frank Klaas underlined the backing for Jaguar Heritage, commenting: 'Jaguar Heritage has done a great job with limited resources. I’ve watched the competition and I want to change that and put us ahead of the rest….Heritage is more and more an element of communication of the brand.'