Matt Kimberley profile picture Matt Kimberley 2 years ago 21

Jaguar’s First Mid-Engined Racer Is Reborn – And It’s Road Legal

The XJ13, originally a Jaguar-built prototype designed to crush the competition at Le Mans, has been reborn in the hands of the very company that wanted to race it in the late 1960s

Remind me later
Jaguar’s First Mid-Engined Racer Is Reborn – And It’s Road Legal - News

A tiny Scottish racing team has brought the spirit of the legendary Jaguar XJ13 back to life after 50 years in a new, ultra-exclusive and V12-powered racer you can drive on the road.

The Ecurie Ecosse LM69 is an all-new, all-modern remake of a car that could have taken the late 1960s Le Mans racing war to new heights – but sadly didn’t. Jaguar’s first mid-engined car was ultimately shelved and forgotten about despite vast potential in the hands of the small Scottish racing team that had piloted Jaguar D-types to two Le Mans victories in the 1950s.

But now the car that never was is finally here, revived by Ecurie Ecosse as a 5.0-litre V12-powered, composite-bodied recreation that channels all of the aggression and speed that the planned 1969 Jaguar XJ13 would have brought to the endurance racing fight with Ford, Ferrari and Porsche.

Built exclusively with design details and technologies that entered motorsport no later than 1969, albeit with the benefit of 50 years’ worth of extra development behind them, the LM69 is lighter than the original XJ13 prototype that Ecurie Ecosse was so captivated by during a visit to Jaguar’s Browns Lane factory in 1967. There are no driver aids – not even traction control – so the LM69 can effectively mimic the howling experience of the car that should have arrived 50 years ago.

Jaguar’s First Mid-Engined Racer Is Reborn – And It’s Road Legal - News

It sits on wider wheels and tyres than the original but uses a staggeringly beautiful quad-cam V12 that’s visible through a transparent engine cover. If the sight of the 12 stunningly polished carburettors rising from the huge engine block doesn’t make you a little bit excited, you’re on the wrong page.

More tunable modern fuel injection will be an option if owners choose it, but either way the LM69’s track bias doesn’t stop it being fully road legal. Imagine turning up at the supermarket in this…

Jaguar’s First Mid-Engined Racer Is Reborn – And It’s Road Legal - News

Although we don’t yet have full details, Edinburgh-based Ecurie Ecosse says the new normally-aspirated engine will be offered in standard 1966 spec displacing between 5.0 and 5.3 litres, but also as an even wilder 7.3-litre version based on the same block but bored and stroked for more power and torque. We’ll keep an eye out for performance figures, but the single XJ13 prototype’s 5.0-litre unit reportedly had 502bhp. The LM69 could have a lot more.

Jaguar’s First Mid-Engined Racer Is Reborn – And It’s Road Legal - News

Ecurie Ecosse has updated the LM69’s styling versus the XJ13, which was eventually restored and put on permanent display at the British Motor Museum. There’s a fixed roof and a large rear wing spanning the upper edges of its vast, aerodynamic rear haunches.

Just 25 will be built, all potentially slightly different and all by hand at Ecurie Ecosse’s facility in Redditch, in the English West Midlands. The price is a case of ‘if you have to ask then you probably can’t afford it,’ with a public unveiling scheduled for 6 September at London’s exclusive Concours of Elegance at Hampton Court palace.