Winner at the Algarve Classic Festival, Portimao, 2016
Right from the moment deliveries commenced in 1961, the E-Type began to find its way on to the world's racetracks.
In the Grand Touring class for production sports cars the E-Type proved competitive right from the start, Graham Hill celebrating the model's racing debut by winning at Oulton Park on 3rd April 1961.
The elevation of the GT class to Manufacturers' Championship status for 1963 prompted Jaguar to develop a small batch of very special lightweight cars to challenge Ferrari. The FIA's regulations for the Gran Turismo category stipulated that a minimum of 100 cars had to be built, but permitted coachwork modifications, thus enabling Jaguar to claim that its lightweights were standard E-types fitted with altered bodywork. (This is the same loophole exploited by Ferrari to get the limited edition 250 GTO homologated, by claiming that they were re-bodied 250 GTs).
In fact, all 12 lightweight E-Types constructed in period were built from scratch with aluminium bodies, though they were invoiced as a new standard road car with additional modifications and numbered in the normal production sequence, albeit with an 'S' chassis number prefix.
To create the 1963 lightweight version, the E-Type's steel monocoque tub and outer body panels were remanufactured in aluminium and the engine dry-sumped and fitted with an alloy cylinder black, 'wide-angle' head and Lucas mechanical fuel injection, producing in excess of 300bhp.
The production four-speed gearbox was used initially before a ZF five-speed unit was adopted towards the end of 1963. '4 WPD', the works development E-Type racer campaigned by John Coombs and driven by Graham Hill, was converted to lightweight specification and served as the prototype.
The 12 cars built by the factory were intended for the use of competition orientated Jaguar dealers or specially selected private entrants. Two of them, campaigned by Peter Lindner (Jaguar's Frankfurt distributor) and Peter Lumsden, were fitted with a revised, low-drag tail section devised by aerodynamicist Malcolm Sayer, the man responsible for the standard production E-Type. This move to a more aerodynamic design had been prompted by the fact that although the GTOs had proved beatable on British short circuits, on faster tracks and in events of longer duration they decisively held the upper hand.
As is so often the case with exotic, limited-edition competition cars, the Lightweight's desirability and rarity has led to the creation of numerous replicas, there being many more such E-Types in existence today than there ever were in period. Finished in British Racing Green with black interior, this example boasts JD Classics' latest-generation 'High-Torque' alloy-block 3.8-litre competition engine, with wide-angle 35/40-degree cylinder head and triple Weber carburettors, which drives via a four-speed all-synchromesh race gearbox.
This Lightweight has been completely restored to current FIA competition specification and features an alloy monocoque; alloy body panels; lightweight peg-drive wheels; fire system; and the latest JD Sport single adjustable dampers, etc. Used by Jaguar Heritage Historic Racing in selected races during the 2012 season, it won at the Algarve Classic Festival, Portimao in 2016.
Delivered new in France in 1964, our coupe has been known on the HCV circuit for several decades. Prepared at the end of the 70s, it is with the enthusiasm of historic races that we will find it in.....