Know what’s interesting about these four sports-racing cars?
Jaguar XJR-14; TWR (Porsche) WSC-95; Nissan R 390; Mazda MXR-01
They are all the same car! I know this not only because of my long history working with, and dealing with, the legendary Tom Walkinshaw – but also because of a fantastic piece of story-telling by Raphael Orlove.
I could never do full justice to the tale, so check it out here:
http://blackflag.jalopnik.com/the-strange-orphan-story-of-the-most-successful-le-mans-1677120408 - drivingandlife.com
Tom Walkinshaw was a determined man, a genius, a skilled negotiator, an opportunist and very successful. He could also be stubborn, blunt, devious and downright cunning.
Tom’s TWR Group had a lot of racing partnerships over the years, with BMW, Mazda, Austin-Rover, Jaguar, Nissan, Volvo and Porsche – yes, Porsche!
It isn’t difficult to imagine the scenario where the four cars you see above all blossomed from a single idea. The Jaguar XJR-14, inspired by TW, and 'massaged' into shape by none other than Ross Brawn!
TWR built the car ostensibly for Jaguar, and then went on to provide the chassis to Porsche, Mazda and Nissan. The Nissan R390 was even designed by Ian Callum (who worked for TWR at the time), and developed by Tony Southgate, who created the XJR-9 for TWR-Jaguar!
But you’ll have to look up Raphael’s story to get the full picture. I don’t want to reveal the details here, but I guarantee you’ll enjoy reading all about it.
A few days ago I was reminded of the twisted tale during lunch with Geoffrey Brabham, who along with a lot of racing drivers knew Tom Walkinshaw well, and the inside story of the XJR-14 from behind the scenes.
This story is so convoluted it could be made into a movie. But, believe me if you knew Tom as well as I did, it’s not only all entirely possible, but probable too.