Next month's 24 Hours of Le Mans is set to be a battle of the diesels with either Audi or Peugeot celebrating at the top of the podium on Sunday. However, before the race starts on Saturday, Jaguar will be the team doing some celebrating. Two Jaguar D-Types will be on hand in France to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of their famous 1-2-3-4-6 finish.
The cars that finished first and second in 1957 will be back in France together for the first time in fifty years. They'll take three laps of the circuit on Saturday morning and then participate in the trophy presentation that takes place immediately ahead of the start of the race. The D-Type was one of the most beautiful race cars of all time and won Le Mans three years in a row, culminating in the dominating 1957 victory.
JAGUAR D-TYPE RETURNS TO SCENE OF HISTORIC LE MANS VICTORY
Jaguar's iconic D-Type sports racing car is set for an historic return to the scene of its most famous racing victory, in a celebration of the 50th anniversary of an unparalleled 1-2-3-4-6 finish at Le Mans in 1957.
The actual winning and second placed cars from 1957 are scheduled to reappear on the track at the Sarthe circuit in June, with the kind permission of their owners Evert Louwman and Sir Anthony Bamford. It will be the first time they have been reunited at the scene since that epic domination of the world's most challenging race. They will be joined by the similar cars owned by the Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust and Dick Skipworth.
The celebration has been painstakingly planned by Michael Quinn, grandson of Jaguar's founder Sir William Lyons, in conjunction with the Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust.
"The 1957 victory for Jaguar was such a landmark at Le Mans that we were determined that the 50 th anniversary of it should be properly celebrated. It was, after all, a major British triumph and a great achievement for a relatively small manufacturer at the time. The Le Mans victories really helped put Jaguar firmly on the world map," said Michael.
"Now, in 2007, the Automobile Club de l'Ouest has given its permission for the 1957
D-Types to take part in the 24 Hour trophy presentation on the start-finish straight, just before this year's race begins. Additionally they will be driven around the circuit in the Motor Racing Legends Cavalcade on Saturday morning for three victory laps."
Jaguar had officially pulled out of racing in 1957, but were focused on adding to their success at Le Mans and so provided fully-prepared D-Types for legendary Scottish team Ecurie Ecosse, which had won the previous year, to compete on their behalf.
After a tough 24 hours that had taken a high toll on the finishers, it was the partnership of Ron Flockhart and Ivor Bueb that eventually seized victory thereby making Jaguar the most successful marque in the history of the race. It was also Ron's second successive win. Right behind were Ninian Sanderson and John Lawrence, and third place went to Jean Lucas and Jean-Marie Brussin. Belgian journalist Paul Frere and 'Freddy' Rouselle finished fourth, with Mike Hawthorn and Masten Gregory sixth.
Half a century later, 1957 remains one of the most dominant victories in the history of the classic 24-hour endurance race, and crowned a hat-trick of wins at Le Mans for Jaguar and its innovative D-Type. These wins in turn followed on from two earlier successes with the
C-Type, winning in 1951 and 1953.
It was also significant as a fitting tribute to Jaguar's tireless efforts to bring success and motor racing glory back to Britain in the 1950s, a golden era of motor sport. The Midlands-based manufacturer would not win there again until the late 1980s, the Silk Cut Jaguar
XJR-9LM taking first and fourth in 1988.
The 2007 Le Mans 24 Hour race takes place on the 8.45 miles French circuit of La Sarthe during June 16 and 17.