Jaguar is returning to the starting grid at Le Mans on the 12th of June with their XKR GT2 race car. This comes as the British brand celebrates its 75th anniversary of building and racing cars. Jaguar has sweet memories of Le Mans with a total of seven wins between 1951 and 1990. It is the most successful British car maker in the history of the race.

The XKR GT2 is being run by JaguarRSR, and shares many of the basic components and technologies with the road-going car. Jointly developed by Jaguar and the RSR team, the racer features the road car’s lightweight aluminium body structure but with a lower drag coefficient and extensive downforce. The monocoque structure is further reinforced with RSR steel safety structures. It’s powered by a tuned version of the 5.0-litre supercharged AJ133 V8 engine developing in excess of 500 horsepower.

Power is translated to the road by a 6-speed Hewland CST transverse sequential transaxle gearbox while the car sits on BBS 18″ race wheels. The whole car weighs in at about 1245kg thus power to weight ratio would be somewhere in the region of 285 bhp per tonne. The XKR GT2 also gets Ohlins DR4 suspensions and Brembo brakes (6-piston front calipers on 380mm discs, 4-piston rear calipers on 350mm discs).

The men charged to drive the car at Le Mans event are Marc Goossens (Belgium), Ryan Dalziel (Scotland) and American Paul Gentilozzi. The latter, who has a long standing relationship with Jaguar, is the founder of RSR and will be appearing for the third time in the GT2 category in Le Mans.

Jaguar’s Le Mans history include winning in 1951 with the C-type, which went on to win the 1953 race as well. The D-type on the other hand won the famous race in 1955, 1956 and 1957. In 1988 Jaguar won the event again with the V12-powered XJR-9LM Group C car and again in 1990 with the XJR-12 featuring drivers like Johnny Dumfries and now F1 presenter Martin Brundle.

Gallery after the jump.

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