Jaguar D-Type

Long-Nose 1956

  • From its beginnings in 1954, this automobile would become the queen of endurance racing. Its greatest triumphs would be its three consecutive wins at the Le Mans 24 hours.
  • As the successor to the C Type, it would revolutionize the confined the confined world of motor racing as the first two-seater Sport with a monocoque structure.
  • The lines designed by aerodynamics expert Malcom Sayer resembled no other automobile up to then, and were the result of extensive research for functional efficiency at any cost.

After the C-Type’s victories at the 1951 and 1953 Le Mans 24 hours, Jaguar considered the Le Mans circuit as its own private hunting ground. Entangled in a battle for optimum power and performance with its closest rivals, Jaguar assigned its racing department the task of developing the ultimate racing weapon, with victory being the one and only objective.

In the fall of 1953, in light of progress made by its competitors, Jaguar decided to renew its approach. Their work produced the most peculiar C-Type, a model that was secretly road-tested at Silverstone, the MIRA racetrack and in Reims, then sent to break speed records on the Jabbeke motorway stretch during the Spring of 1954. Testing of this mysterious automobile, in fact a transitional prototype built around the basic structure of the C-Type, aimed to prove the capacities of an entirely new bodywork design, notable for its extremely aerodynamic profile and enveloping forms.

For Malcom Sayer, Head of Aerodynamics, it wasn't enough to reduce high speed air resistance with a simple body work design, so he set out to produce an entirely new automobile concept, the D-Type, using the principal of a monocoque casing fitted to a tubular structure. It was also at this time that Dunlop produced its legendary magnesium wheels, which consigned the old and unreliable spoked wheels to the history books.

To be continued...