Well, almost new! Having spent the winter rebuilding the XJR6 race car for the JEC Toyo Tires/Watchdogapp.com Saloon & GT Championship we were nearly ready to race in March, then the world turned on its head and got a bit crazy! So, we decided to go a bit further with the car than we ever intended. As well the necessary engine rebuild with complete new internals, a new ECU has been installed which via a large amount of sensors newly fitted to car allows us to see what’s happening to the engine during the race and also log the data. Air to air charge cooling has replaced the previous water cooled set up, this now provides us with consistent lower intake temperatures throughout the race. The car now looks very different as well sporting a lovely new paint and graphics job, it also carries our sponsors logos who have all been so helpful in getting the car ready for the 2020 season. (see bottom of this article)
After a shake down at Castle Combe on 13th July with no major hitches and a late-night scramble to finally prep the car the evening prior, we headed to Thruxton in Hampshire for the first races of the season on 25th July behind closed doors. Thruxton has been our happiest hunting ground in the previous two seasons including our maiden victory last year. It was fair to say that we were optimistic.
Qualifying was a bit mixed with the intake pipe coming off twice and loosing boost pressure we still qualified 3rd on the grid on a dry track. Some better jubilee clips sourced the intake pipe problem was quickly rectified.
The lunch break was greeted with fine drizzle making the surface of the track greasy. Lunch over the Jags joined the CSCC Open series for a 42-car grid and a whole new experience. The Jags took the lights 20 seconds ahead of the Open cars. Second on the grid at Thruxton tends to give you a better line into Allards (turn one) than pole and so it was when James Ramm launched off from P2 into a quick lead. Tom had to fend off veteran racer Derek Pearce in the XK8 to settle into third behind pole sitter Colin Philpott’s XJS. Tom was close on the back of Philpott going into Church corner for the first time, but he didn’t have to wait long before using the superior power of the XJR6 to pass Philpott on lap two and to set up a nip and tuck battle that has become a feature of JEC races in the last couple of seasons. Tom was able to keep the Taplow man at bay until lap ten when an Open series car got into the mix and opened the door for Philpott to sneak through. Unfortunately for Tom before he could respond a red flag incident brought out the chequered flag early and he had to settle for third overall and second in Class D, with Ramm taking the victory.
By the time race two had arrived Thruxton had been treated to a torrential downpour and although the rain had eased right off by the time the Jags were back out on track the surface was extremely slippery with oil spills adding to the wet surface.
Once again Ramm was quickest off the line, Guy Connew also made a great start from row three in his newly built Bob Tulis, Quaker State V12 XJS tribute followed by Pearce in the XK8, Tom struggled for grip on the inside lighting up the wheels before cleverly switching to the outside to drive around Pearce, Connew and finally Philpott in a smart move. With Tom now getting used to the ‘new’ car he was able to establish an advantage over Philpott and could set about trying to close the gap to Ramm. The Essex man however is a master in the wet and despite Tom’s best efforts he couldn’t make significant inroads into Ramm’s lead. Tom settled for a well-earned second, Philpott unfortunately span on oil on the final lap handing third place to Michael Holt in the X300.
It was really satisfying to be back out on track and the ‘new’ car was certainly impressive with Tom equally delighted with 3rd & 2nd overall and two 2nds in Class D along with a healthy points tally.
With a few more upgrades to come and tweaking from the logged data we are looking forward to the next outing at Snetterton in Norfolk in just three weeks’ time.
We would like to thank our sponsors friends and partners who helped us so much to get the car on the starting grid;
BLS Body Repairs, Caged Laser, Castrol, Eibach, Forge Motorsport, Havok Performance, JEK Fabrications, MAXX ECU, Meguiars, Naked Signs, Pipercross, Powerflex, Performance Vehicle Engineering, Quantum Racing Suspensions, Tarox Brakes, and Vision Techniques.