Featuring an array of both vintage racing cars and revolutionary 2012 models, Jaguar brought an undeniable excitement to the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion this past August. Held at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca from August 19 to 21, the Reunion marked the 50th anniversary of the Jaguar E-Type as well as the highly anticipated launch of the all-new Jaguar XKR-S coupe.
Among the 550 historic racing cars on display were some of the automaker’s most legendary vehicles. Also in attendance were many famous figures who drove the cars to glory. Group 44's major domo, Bob Tullius and TWR team stalwart and Le Mans winner, Martin Brundle participated in a host of events at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, including an informative and funny "Q&A" session and on track demonstration drives.
In the weeks leading up to the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, Jaguar North America, Brand Vice President, David Pryor promised that the event would be momentous for collectors and enthusiasts alike: “It will be a thrill to witness hundreds of amazing automobiles including some of the finest Jaguar vintage race cars in the world and the new super high-performance Jaguar XKR-S, tear up this track and fly down its infamous corkscrew.”
The weekend did not disappoint. Visitors to the Jaguar Heritage Display were treated to an in-depth look at the timeline of Jaguar’s illustrious motorsports legacy. From the SS100 of the 1930s to the cars that sealed Jaguar's reputation by winning Le mans in the 1950s and 1980s.
In among the 65 historic Jaguar race cars in attendance were multiple Jaguar C-Type and D-Type cars which were responsible for the marque's first five victories at "le circuit de la Sarthe". The Jaguar Heritage display also boasted the Jaguar XK120, driven by America’s first World Driving Champion, Phil Hill. Hill began racing while working as an apprentice for Jaguar in the United Kingdom, and went on to become one of the world’s most respected drivers and vintage car restorers.
Visitors also got to see American Briggs Cunningham’s 1955 D-Type and 1962 E-Type coupe, which had the highest placement of any E-Type at Le Mans with a fourth place finish. The Group 44 Racing team was well represented with the legendary National Champion Series III V-12 E-Type, the Trans-Am winning Jaguar XJS and an XJR-5, the car that ended Porsche's domination of the IMSA GTP series and took jaguar back to Le Mans for the first time in nearly 30 years in the early 1980s.
The display would not have been complete without the TWR racing XJR-9 and XJR-12 that won Le Mans in 1988 and 1990 respectively.
The Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion also offered ride-and-drive opportunities of 2012 Jaguar vehicles. Consumers were able to test drive the 2012 XF, XK, XJ and 550 hp XKR-S models at two different locations.
Perhaps even more impressive than each individual Jaguar car on display were the overarching elements and themes that united the entire collection. As Pryor explains, “I believe that every Jaguar we build today has the same bloodlines, the same DNA, as the champions both on the track and in the paddock. There are few automotive brands that possess the ability to understand and appreciate their history and actually use that foundation to build the cars of today, and more importantly, the cars of tomorrow.”
View photos from the 2011 Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion at www.mazdaraceway.com. You can also find the latest Jaguar models to hit the road at www.JaguarUSA.com.