By on March 2, 2018

Image: 1991 Jaguar XJR-15We’re having a Jaguar kick in the Rare Rides series, and by that I mean two cars in a row from the leaping cat.

Though most everyone’s heard of the XJ220, fewer are likely aware of its predecessor: the XJR-15. It’s not slow, it isn’t cheap, and it’s not luxurious.

You want it!

Image: 1991 Jaguar XJR-15The genesis of the XJR-15 started back in the late 1980s, when Jaguar was winning races at Le Mans with the stunning XJR-9. Racing enthusiasts with deep pockets were impressed with the XJR-9’s performance and pushed Jaguar to develop a civilian road-going version. Any car company has a hard time ignoring potential customer requests when said customer is the Sultan of Brunei. Development was well underway by 1988. The intention from the beginning was to create a race car for the road, much like the Jaguar D-Type and Ford’s GT40.

Image: 1991 Jaguar XJR-15
Responsibility for building the new car (like the XJR-S) was handed to Jaguar Sport, with production beginning in late 1990. The XJR-9 was widened, made taller, and broadly altered to comply with British regulations for use as a road car. The XJR-15’s resulting construction was entirely from carbon fiber, making it the world’s first carbon fiber road car.

Image: 1991 Jaguar XJR-15
The naturally aspirated V12 engine used was Jaguar’s 6.0-liter mill, modified to produce 450 horsepower and 420 foot-pounds of torque. Sixty miles an hour arrived in 3.2 seconds, and the top speed was a blistering 191 miles per hour.

Image: 1991 Jaguar XJR-15All this performance was part of the two-fold goal for the XJR-15: In addition to pleasing its owners, it was also intended to compete at a race series. The series in question was the 1991 Jaguar Sport Intercontinental Challenge. It was a single-model three-race event, in support of Formula One Grand Prix races taking place at Monaco, Silverstone, and Spa-Francorchamps.

Image: 1991 Jaguar XJR-15
Sixteen XJR-15’s entered each race, and the majority of owners hired professional drivers to pilot them around the track. Included in the nearly $1 million purchase price was prep and maintenance at the races by the JaguarSport race team. The third race in the series (Spa) carried a $1 million cash prize, which was awarded to racing driver and owner Armin Hane.

Image: 1991 Jaguar XJR-15Production of the XJR-15 continued into 1992, with a total of 53 examples produced. The next racer produced by Jaguar would be it’s last; the XJ220 started production in 1992 and continued through 1994. After the commercial failure of the XJ220, Jaguar withdrew from motorsport racing.

Image: 1991 Jaguar XJR-15But the unfortunate end of Jaguar’s racing was not the end for the XJR-15. Nissan approached Jaguar Sport partner TWR about developing the R390 race car. Ever resourceful, TWR used the middle of the XJR-15 (cockpit and greenhouse) for the R390. The soul of the XJR-15 got to go Le Mans racing after all; all four Nissan R390s placed in the top 10 at Le Mans in 1998.

Image: 1997 Nissan R390Today’s Mauritius Blue beauty is for sale in London; buy at a price that is only available upon request. Safe bet it has six figures.

[Images via dealer, Wikipedia]

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