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Published Date: 22/12/2015

XJR meets XJR-9

When Andy Wallace won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1988 in a Jaguar XJ, he could have done with the headlights on the present XJ.

Since that famous win, Andy's XJR-9 hasn't participated in any day-night racing, so when Andy was reunited with it for a drive at a dark Silverstone it was a true blast from the past for both parties.

XJR meets XJR-9
"Travelling around 240mph at night makes it very hard to see the road ahead of you, in 1988 the lights were only really to spot landmarks to know where we were."

The XJR-9 is one of a million XJ models made over nearly fifty years, though a little different from most. A 7-litre V12 (based on the XJS's 5.3-litre version) is mounted behind the driver and produces the 750hp required to propel the little 900kg bullet down the Mulsanne at 240mph. But it does at least sport the quad headlights that every XJ model has had since 1968.

These headlights were the focus of the reunion, with Andy also sampling the new LED headlights on the current Jaguar XJ saloon.

With room for four passengers and a supercharged 5-litre V8 engine in the nose, the much larger XJ R is a different prospect, but Andy took to the track nonetheless. The new lights - unique to the XJ range - 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. Wallace was suitably impressed!

"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.

I would love to have had the modern lights we have now on the XJR-9LM.”

The full LED headlights with double-J blade signature daytime running lights are part of the 2016 refresh for the Jaguar XJ.

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