Broadspeed Jaguar XJ12 5.3C



The Broadspeed team get straight onto the redesign of the standard Jaguar XJ12 5.3 coupe in order to meet homologation requirements for Group 2 International Racing regulations.  A heavier car than its BMW competitor, the XJ12 would need additional pit stops to secure a Jaguar win and so the team strike a design balance whereby the car is able to pull away from the competition affording the time needed for the extra stops.

Among other racing modifications, the standard 1859 kg XJ5.3C was stripped out, removing most of the interior and holes drilled into the panels to reduce weight.  Reinforcement was then added, a roll cage and strengthened front and rear bulkheads.  On the exterior, flared wheel arches were designed to accommodate the 16 inch light Kent alloy wheels, along with a deep front air dam and rear diffuser.  Holes are made in the boot lid to house the twin fuel fillers.

The team optimise the already powerful all-alloy V12 engine, over-bored to the legal limit, utilising special alloy pistons forged by Cosworth Engineering.  Specially designed alloy steel inlet and exhaust valves, brake and engine cooling systems, and clutch assembly are developed; with ignition and high pressure fuel injection systems provided by Lucas.  The con rods custom designed and cam shaft machined from solid by Broadspeed. 

The exhaust was re-designed by Andy Rouse to feature three-into-one pipes which feed pipes emerging on either side of the car behind of the doors.  This system gives the car a distinctive and legendary Jaguar roar which is still enjoyed by so many to this day.


The press launch

In March 1976, at a London hotel, Leyland Cars announced to the press the return of Jaguar to international motor racing in the 1976 European Championship for Touring Cars with two XJ5.3 coupes.  Leyland Cars makes no secret of their motivations to re-enter the racing scene.  Manufacturers such as BMW had earned a great deal of marketing exposure from ETCC successes and Leyland Cars was keen to do the same to help boost sales.

An all British affair, the team would run in patriotic red, white and blue livery, with sponsorship from Jaguar’s parent.  Right from the start, it is made clear that the team is going out to win.  The two XJ12C cars will be raced by Derek Bell/David Hobbs and Andy Rouse/Steve Thompson.  The Jaguar XJ5.3 Coupe international homologation is not effective before 1st April 1976 so the first round of the series, at Monza, would be missed by the Leyland Cars team.


ETCC Calendar 1976

28th March – 24-Hours Monza

17th/18th April – Austrian Trophy – Salzburgring

2nd May – Autodromo Mugello

16th May – Grand Prix Brno

20th June – Autodromo Misano

10th/11th July – Nurburgring 6-Hours – Grand Prix for Touring Cars

22nd – 25th July – 24-Hours Francorchamps

5th September – Autodromo Vallelunga

19th September – Silverstone – Access Tourist Trophy

3rd October – 4-Hours Jarama



While Leyland Car’s PR men boasted to the press about the arrival of the XJ12C onto the touring car circuit, the Broadspeed Team continued to battle with development issues.  Only one prototype car had been completed and testing severely compromised by poor weather and a lack of time.  In several weeks at Goodwood, Rouse had only managed 2 test days in the dry.

A significant amount of work was still left to be done on the car relating to the suspension, brakes and oil feed.  The eight-pot four-caliper brake set-up was abandoned and replaced by a twin caliper system, although the engine is so long that, under braking, the oil surged forward thereby starving the pump.  The team develops a system in the sump through flaps and baffles to trap the oil exactly where it is needed for each circuit using various configurations, and a second oil sump is eventually fitted close to the front of the engine to help combat this surge issue.

Of key concern however were the wheels, which, under cornering loads (the car is still heavy at around 1.5 tons), rock on the standard steel hubs causing stress cracks.  To relieve stress areas on the hubs (a perennial problem that would plague the project), the Broadspeed team would, in time, go on to design and develop new driveshafts, an area where significant modifications are allowed under the regulations.  But Jaguar mandate that these be tested and approved before the car is allowed to race at Mugello in the 1977 ETCC and after testing, this approval did not materialise.


The debut

Following an extended period of development during the summer and, under immense external pressure, the car was to debut in September at the 1976 Silverstone Tourist Trophy on home ground.  Still a prototype machine, the crowds were jubilant when Bell took pole position on qualifying tyres with a time of 1 min 36.72 seconds, almost two seconds ahead of the nearest BMW.

However, after battling with the leading BMW for 14 laps, the car suffered a devastating half shaft failure, which at the time is blamed on a puncture at lap 13.  Coming up to his 14th lap, Bell realised that he has a slow puncture, but by Becketts, the tyre had blown.  He continued slowly round to the pits with one wheel flailing rubber, losing around eight laps.  A new tyre quickly fitted, Bell proceeded to rapidly climb up the order, now up in 15th position, stopping briefly to hand over to Hobbs.

On the 43rd lap, Hobbs felt something amiss with the handling going into Becketts.  Checking through a hole in the floor, caused by the flailing rubber, he realised that a wheel he has just spotted beside him is in fact his.  It is concluded that the driveshaft has been weakened by the rough ride from the earlier puncture of the left rear wheel, and has sheared.

Having landed pole position, led for the first 8 laps and set a Group 2 lap record, the Jaguar was forced to retire on its debut race.

“Fastest lap. Derek Bell (5.3 Jaguar XJ12C), 1m 38.53mph, 107.12 mph.”

The BELJC-001 prototype vehicle, the first of the three built by Broadspeed and the only one to have taken part in the 1976 ETCC, becomes the team’s test and development car for the 1977 race season. 


The 1977 race season

In January 1977 it was announced that there will be a two car team in all ETCC events and a change of drivers.  Andy Rouse/Derek Bell will be joined by John Fitzpatrick/Tim Schenken.  The new XJ12C race cars would be lighter weight and more aerodynamic.

Among other race modifications, the body shells were acid dipped to reduce weight and spoilers re-designed, with a deep wraparound rubber rear spoiler on the boot lid to improve handling.  The deep front air dam was made more angular and a front splitter added to provide a measure of down force.  The 16 inch GKN Kent alloys were replaced with 19 inch Dunlop low profile tyres for split-rim five spoke wheels and the flared wheel arches modified to accommodate. 

During the 1977 season, regulations change allowing the use of a dry sump system and it is implemented on one car although never fully developed.  The second car still runs on a wet sump system, now utilising a reserve tank which fed oil under gas pressure, improving oil supply to the engine under braking.  Brakes were fed by air scoops to help with cooling.


The results

The 1977 race season started positively, with the XJ12C starting in pole position in rounds 1 and 2, (Monza and Salzburgring circuits), but the cars suffered a combination of engine problems, a holed radiator and a driveshaft failure.  They do not run at Mugello, round 3, having failed the driveshaft testing and also do not contend round 4 at Enna.

At Brno, round 5, Jaguar started on pole and Fitzpatrick comfortably led the race when a backmarker’s engine blew up causing him to burst a tyre at 160 mph.  The best result is in round 6 at the Nurburgring, when having started on pole, Bell/Rouse secured second place after driving a cautious race.

A no-finish for both cars in round 7, at Zandvort, followed by a pole position for Bell/Rouse at Silverstone, round 8, but Shenken suffers a front hub failure.  Rouse spins on oil, although Bell/Rouse go on to be classified fourth.  In round 9 at Zolder, Fitzpatrick led until a tyre punctures and the valve spring breaks, while the gearbox seizes on the Bell/Rouse car.  Neither cars finish and do not contend the final rounds.


The project ends

Leyland Cars had poured a fortune into this project and with unsatisfactory race results to show for it, pulled the plug on the 1978 ETCC contention.  Start to finish, the project only lasted 18 months, but in eight races contended, the Jaguar XJ12 had started in pole position an impressive six times.

Broad knew that he had a championship winning race car in the making, however, pressure from Leyland Cars and its PR machine to win from the front, and the consequent lack of time for development and testing had undermined the project’s success from the start.

The company was naive I suppose, they expected too much, too soon.  They had promised success, and it never came.  They could have had all the success they wanted in 1978.  We needed time to develop away some of the problems of the car.  If we had been able to do that, the car would have won every race in the European series.”

“If Leyland had had the foresight to stay in 1978, it would have realised the CSL would no longer have been competitive and the Jaguar would have walked it.
— Andy Rouse
The BMW was a properly developed car. I think Leyland were short-sighted in stopping the development of the Jaguar. They got keyed-up about winning, but just running the car all over Europe was a tremendous fillip to the morale of the dealers and the public loved it...
— Derek Bell

The Jaguar roars again

In 2008, the prototype Broadspeed XJ12 5.3 coupe, BELJC-001, is acquired by the championship winning historic car racer, Chris Scragg.

Prior to this, the car had remained in the ownership of Jaguar Cars at their Coventry Museum, until it was acquired by a German designer, who then subsequently sold it on to JD Classics, from whom Chris Scragg secured the car.

Chris entrusted his newly acquired XJ12C to Mike Wilkinson, of M&C Wilkinson in Everton, South Yorkshire, to prepare it for the Group II Touring Events in the Masters Series and historic car racing calendar.  What followed was a meticulous 18 month re-build by Wilkinson and the team, which included a number of the very original Broadspeed engineers, namely: Andy Rouse, developer and driver; John Westwood, who built the engine in 1976 and Roger King, on front and rear suspension work.

The 1976 prototype is now returned to its correct 1976 Silverstone TT livery and running on 16 inch BBS wheels as used initially in testing (for tyre availability today), although has the same body kit and dry-sump oil system as the 1977 cars.  It also has twin caliper water-cooled brakes and power steering, the latter being homologated but never used in period.

A truly formidable race car, even Rouse concedes the car is better today than it was originally.

Testing takes place in August 2009; the first time that the car had been on a track in 33 years and although some engine problems were identified, Chris, Mike and the team are confident that the car would be ready for the Masters Touring ‘70s race at Mallory Park in October.


The first Broadspeed race win

25th October 2009, Mallory Park, Touring ‘70s.  The last race day of the year and in a way, the most exciting as the Jaguar Broadspeed was getting its first race outing in 34 years since the TT at Silverstone in 1976.

A good qualifying session put Chris Scragg in 4th position behind the Capri of Shaun Lynn and the Escorts of Mark Wright and Mike Wrigley.  From the start these positions were held until around lap 8 when Chris starts to feel more comfortable and moves past the two Escorts into 2nd place.  He then aims to close the gap on the Capri when it suddenly retired leaving Chris in the lead.  Mark Wright then comes back at Chris and managed to overtake him.  Chris stayed in close pursuit for the next five laps and manages to regain the lead back from Mark.  By the time the chequered flag is lowered Chris is a clear 23 seconds ahead of second place and takes the first ever win for the Broadspeed XJ12 5.3 Coupe, making history in the process.

The second race of the Touring 70’s sees Chris again challenging for the lead, however, mechanical problems force him to bring the car in early prior the end of the race.

Qualifying: 4th place in 51.585 (94.21 mph)

Race 1 Result: 1st place in 25.08.807 (90.18 mph)

Best Lap: 51.248

Race 2: DNF


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The second Broadspeed race win

3rd-5th May 2014, Donington Historic Festival.  May bank holiday weekend and Chris’s first race weekend of the year in the Historic Touring Car Challenge. 

Race one and with a rolling start from the off, Chris moves up the field towards the front and with just over half the race elapsed he held second prior to his compulsory pit stop. (A 30 second single driver handicap).   

With the Cologne Capri of Steve Soper and John Young now out of sight and the loss of time in the pits Chris was third overall, 5 seconds behind the MG Metro Turbo of Patrick Watts and Nick Swift in second place. Chris starts to close the gap to the second place car but decided to hold place and settle for third.

Race two, following Chris’s incredible recovery drive in race one (having been unable to qualify) he and the team now felt that they were able to challenge the Cologne Capri for victory. The cars leave the assembly area for the warm up lap prior to the rolling start and just as racing is about to commence the wheels literally fell of the wagon, on firstly the Cologne Capri and then shortly after the TWR XJS of John Young and Gary Pearson. This allowed Chris to take the lead of the race into Redgate and from there he never looked back, setting the fastest lap of the race on lap two and consistently staying within a second of that pace lap after lap.

By the end of the first stint he was thirty seconds clear of second, despite the thirty second compulsory pit stop he faced and in the second half of the race Chris further extended his lead, whilst pacing the car given the enormity of the gap. As the chequered flag falls he is 55 seconds clear of the MG Metro Turbo in second, making him overall winner for the weekend.

This was Chris’s 50th career victory and his second Broadspeed XJ12C victory following his first at Mallory Park in 2009; thus making him for the second time the only man to have won a race in this prestigious marque.

Qualifying: no time recorded

Race 1 Result: 3rd place in 32.21.203 @ 85.94 mph. Best lap 1.18.433.  1st in class.

Race 2 Result: 1st place in 30.07.170 @ 86.66 mph.  Best lap 1.17.505.  Fastest lap of the race.

1st and 3rd positions and overall winner in the Legends series.


Success at Silverstone Classic

25th-27th July 2014, Silverstone Classic.  Qualifying for the ‘Jet Super Touring Car Trophy’ in the afternoon, against a highly strong field of various British and European touring cars of the golden eras.  Chris makes good progress throughout the session and by the end he is second in his class behind Steve Soper in the Cologne Capri.

The M&C Wilkinson team have high hopes of competing at the front after a successful Friday qualifying.  From the start Chris chased the Capri of Steve Soper, but try as he might he was unable to challenge him so he then settled in amongst some of the more modern exotic machinery to take the chequered flag.  A fast and furious race mixing it with younger cars, resulted in a comfortable second in class, and another podium finish.

Qualifying: 2nd place in HTC / 28th overall in 2.20.497 (93.40 mph)

Race Result: 2nd place in HTC / 18th overall in 21.27.830

Best Lap: 2.20.052 @91.34 mph


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