Due to its aerodynamic magnesium body, lightweight tubular chassis and Jaguar’s powerful 3.4-litre XK engine, ever since its introduction in 1957, the Lister ‘Knobbly’ (so called due to the tall front wheelarches flanking its low nose) had quickly become the car to beat in international sports car racing. One of the other main reasons for the car’s success was Lister’s works driver, the Scot Archie Scott Brown. Despite having a badly deformed hand and severe mobility problems with his legs, he was still an immensely talented and courageous driver.
If you were doing well in the early 1970s, a Rover P6 3500 was almost a badge of rank. But if you were doing really well, its British Leyland sister car the Jaguar XJ6 would be within reach. But was the jump from a Rover to a 2.8 XJ6 really worth it, or would you have been better saving for a 4.2?
Road Atlanta might be thousands of miles away on the other side of the Atlantic, but what happened at the American circuit four decades ago would have a direct impact on Jaguar’s future success at Le Mans. Ever since Bob Tullius’ Group 44 team had announced its IMSA GTP programme with the V12-engined XJR-5 in the early Eighties, there had been speculation that it would be a spring board for the British company to head back to the famed 24-hour race. Jaguar, though, initially played down its chances.