Ralph Broad’s Southam, Warwickshire, based racing team had excelled in touring car competition since the early 1960s, running Ford Anglias, Mini-Coopers and Triumph Dolomites. Ralph Broad believed the competition potential of the Jaguar V12 engine. Leyland subsequently contracted Broadspeed to prepare a Group 2 Jaguar XJ12 to confront BMW and Ford in the European Touring Car Championship.
The XJ12 Coupe was larger and heavier than its German rivals. An heroic development period from October 1975 saw two cars built for the 1976 racing programme, of which this is the second, chassis number ‘BELJC002’.
The newly-constituted Broadspeed Jaguar team missed the first five rounds of the 1976 Championship series for which their big, beautiful XJ12Cs were intended, and the programme did not make its race debut until September that year, in the RAC Tourist Trophy race at Silverstone. There in qualifying, Derek Bell lapped at 1 min 36.72secs, which was nearly two seconds faster than European Champion-elect Pierre Dieudonné in the fastest BMW. Bell led the opening stages of the race until tyre wear became a factor and a puncture interrupted the car’s race. Thereafter the Broadspeed Jaguar XJ12C ran spectacularly until co-driver David Hobbs had a driveshaft break and lost a wheel.
‘The Big Cat’s presence at the TT had been a great spectator attraction, and a full two-car team presence in the 1977 ETC series was then planned. They were driven by John Fitzpatrick, Tim Schenken, Derek Bell and Andy Rouse.
The programme’s swansong followed in the 1977 TT at Silverstone for which the two Broadspeed XJ12Cs filled the front row of the starting grid and Schenken led from Rouse at flagfall. The Rouse/Bell car eventually finished fourth.
Principal racing modifications to the robustly-built Jaguar Coupe included provision of massive AP brakes cooled by special ducts for all four corners and specially cast suspension components to cope with racing loads. The interior, while stripped and now featuring just one bucket seat, actually retained its walnut veneer dash and electric windows, possibly unique features for a racing car!
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This car has been used in 1 sessions.