Wallace won at Le Mans in 1988 driving the XJR9-LM. Designed for the race track and adorned with iconic Silk Cut livery, the XJR9 looks entirely different from the XJR luxury sedan you can buy today. And with a 7.0-liter V12 mounted amidships instead of the modern sedan's 5.0-liter supercharged V8 placed up front, they're mechanically different beasts as well. But it's not the difference in design, powertrain, or performance that Jaguar is highlighting in this video encounter.
Instead, Wallace is impressed by the advancement of the lighting technology from the Le Mans racer he drove in the late 1980s to the sedan sold today. To hear him talk about how they used to use the headlights in the nighttime hours of the famously grueling endurance race is harrowing enough all on its own. Hear his story in the video above.
- Andy Wallace drives new Jaguar XJR and Le Mans-winning XJ-R9 LM at Silverstone
- XJR9-LM – one of one million XJs now built – back on track at night for the first time since it won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1988
- Track session presents benefits of new Jaguar XJ LED headlights in day and night driving conditions
- Wallace discusses new XJR headlight technology, which offers drivers more confidence, safety and performance at night
- New short film captures all the action https://youtu.be/IgMxSkJb058
(Whitley, Coventry - 16 November 2015): Legendary racing driver and 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Andy Wallace relived his 1988 victory by taking to the Silverstone circuit to drive the Jaguar XJR9-LM during day and night back-to-back with the new 550PS, 5.0-litre Supercharged V8 Jaguar XJR. Wallace discusses his experiences in the XJR9-LM and the new XJR in an exciting new film available to view and share at https://youtu.be/IgMxSkJb058
Driving at night on the Silverstone circuit gave Wallace the opportunity to test the new LED headlights on the new XJ, which are a first for Jaguar. "Driving at Le Mans back in 1988, it was so hard to see at night," said Wallace. "We were travelling at around 240mph and it was too fast to see the road ahead. We used the lights more to catch glimpses of landmarks as they whizzed past, so we knew where we were.
"These days, modern road cars have incredible lights. LED technology allows you to see three times the distance we could back then, while active steer and bend also help target the lights to the places you want to see.
"As a driver, whether you're cruising on the road or pushing for performance on track, that level of vision really helps to give you confidence and that improves safety, performance and precision. I would love to have had the modern lights we have now on the XJR9-LM."
Ian Hoban, Vehicle Line Director, XJ said: "The XJ is now more dynamic and distinctive than ever, and taking the high-performance XJR to Silverstone gave an excellent demonstration of how the new LED lighting fitted to the car can benefit the driver.
"But the new LED lights are just one of many impressive new features on our flagship saloon. Delivering even greater levels of luxury and performance, it features our new world-class infotainment system and interior materials and finishes that create an even more bespoke feel."
The 2016 XJ has had a thorough exterior design refresh and the full LED headlights with unique double 'J-Blade signature' daytime running lights are one of the key additions. They are unique in the Jaguar range.
The LED headlights provide a colour temperature closer to that of daylight than the Bi-Xenon lamps they replace, improving visibility and driver comfort and also delivering a significant improvement in energy efficiency.
The most advanced lights ever seen on a Jaguar or Land Rover product, they also accentuate the 'quad lamp' design feature that Jaguar sporting sedans have made their own – a feature that also appeared on the XJR9-LM.