Imagine a late autumn day in 1967 where the famed Scottish racing team Ecurie Ecosse are paying Jaguar a visit at Browns Lane. Several years earlier during the preceding decade, Ecurie Ecosse had won the gruelling Le Mans 24h race twice with the legendary Jaguar D-type, and they are now in discussions with Jaguar in an attempt to repeat their success in the French long distance race.
During their visit, they spot the saga which is the XJ13 hidden away in a corner under a thin cover. There’s a definite sense of anticipation and as the cover is swept away, any doubt is immediately disposed of. Right here were all the fundamental requirements for a potential winner car!
A deal is struck and once back home in Scotland, the team initiates an almost two year long project which culminates with them lining up their XJ13 on the grid of Le Mans in 1969 and then brutally obliterating the competition from Ford, Ferrari, Matra and Porsche…
This is of course an alternate reality – a dream – which could have become one of motorsports greatest and most talked about historical moments.
Jaguar’s prototype XJ13 was presented in 1966 as an attempt to continue the marques shattering dominance of Le Mans. Despite the XJ13 being Jaguar’s very first venture into mid-engined cars, it hasn’t kept it from being proclaimed by many as one of the most beautiful race cars of all times. Breathing heavily just behind the driver’s neck was a newly developed 5-litre V12 which promised both power and reliability. Both are of course essential at Le Mans.
However, the sad truth is that all of this of course never happened. A combination of International automotive politics, lack of funds, confused ambitions and perhaps even a momentary shortage of courage were to blame. But now, a new team of engineers and designers are – finally – finishing off what should have been done back then. They claim to have finished the development work required for the fabulous XJ13 in order to show the car’s true potential.
The XJ13 has thereby been resurrected in the form of the Ecurie Ecosse LM69. The small company say:
“While remaining true in spirit and sympathetic to the style of the fabulous XJ13, its bodywork has been developed into an all-new design that has its own purposeful beauty.”
The very heart of the car is still a V12 which has been constructed to give the person behind the wheel a driving experience in both sound and character as if they were indeed taking part in the 1969 Le Mans. Before work even began on the ambitious project, the team behind the LM69 were given strict instructions to adhere with the period rules and regulations which were in place before 1969, which has of course heavily influenced the technology and design solutions used on the LM69. Even so, as the XJ13 had been developed as the ultimate race car of the future, it handed Ecurie Ecosse several advantages, and they have thus worked with composite materials while also experimenting with aerodynamics, bigger wheels and modern tyre options.
The engine is claimed to have equally been optimised but within the restrictions dictated by a virtual 1969 build date – that means a traditional distributor for the ignition system and even mechanical fuel injection. Still, they have allowed themselves sufficient manoeuvring space to accommodate the customer’s hottest wishes, and are willing to disregard the very concept of the build (I guess the customer is always right?). If you so require, your own personal LM69 can thus be delivered fully equipped with programmable engine management, variable ignition, electronic fuel injection and even a variety of engine sizes ranging from the original 5.0-litres to a 5.3-litre or even a 7.3-litre version which despite sharing the same fundamental construction as its lesser brethren, has been both bored and stroked to its new monstrous dimensions.
In accordance with FIA homologation requirements of 1969, only 25 examples of the Ecurie Ecosse will be produced. A decision which both gives the storytellers a good tale to tell and simultaneously ensures an exclusivity which is bound to attract the so-called blue chip investors and their overflowing bank accounts.
Source: Ecurie Ecosse Ltd.