Sunday Matinee: The View From Mt. Panorama

Today’s short film is a study in commitment.

TWR team leader, owner and lead driver Tom Walkinshaw takes his Group-A XJ-S by the scruff of the neck setting pole for the 1985 James Hardie 1000 at Bathurst, Australia.

For a model line never intended as a sports car, the Jaguar XJ-S acquitted itself rather well as a racing machine. Nevertheless, it’s evident just how hard Walkinshaw had to work to keep its not insubstantial mass from succumbing to the unyielding laws of physics, to say nothing of the armco barriers.

Walkinshaw took pole in that blistering lap, but could only finish third in the race itself. However, the sister car of Armin Hahne and Aussie race legend, John Goss took a famous victory at the fabled mountain circuit. The Jags faced a degree of antipathy by fellow competitors; TWR Racing seen as playing fast and loose with the regulations and viewed as over-confident, over-funded and over there. The fact that Goss, a well respected local took the flag, mollified opinion somewhat.

TWR-Jaguar had already taken the European Touring Car Championship the previous year, so by 1985, the XJ-S’ racing days were drawing towards a close. So as we commemorate the XJ-S’ launch this week, lets salute the bravery and brute strength of the men who raced the last of the big cats.

Video via Youtube

Author: Eóin Doyle

Founding Editor. Content Provider.

6 thoughts on “Sunday Matinee: The View From Mt. Panorama”

    1. Apparently, the XJ-S was timed at over 170 mph down the Conrod Straight. Say what you like about Walkinshaw, but he was some driver.

    2. I’ve watched this video time and again over the past five years or so. That it’s depicting a Jaguar is the icing on the cake, but I know of racing enthusiasts who aren’t Jaguar obsessed who keep on returning to this wonderful showcase of outstanding vehicle control.

  1. This video was the rebuttal I received from a friend when I remarked on my dislike of the XJ-S. I still don’t like the XJ-S much but I certainly respect its performance as a Group A touring car. John Goss has a replica of the 1985 race winning car (I’m assuming the original went back to TWR?), which is displayed at the Australian National Motor Racing Museum at the Mount Panorama circuit.

    I wholeheartedly recommend a visit to Bathurst. It’s easily accessed from Sydney by car and the circuit really is a sight to behold. As well as the V8 Supercars at the traditional October touring car endurance race, there is also a 12hr race for GT3 cars earlier in the year. But perhaps the best time to visit Mount Panorama would be when there is no racing scheduled – then you can take a drive around the scenic road that forms the basis for the circuit. It’s not a closed course like the Nurburgring so you’ll have to respect the speed limits and road rules but you’d get a great sense of the challenges involved in racing there.

    1. RE: easily accessed from Sydney – lest I give the impression Mount Panorama is in the suburbs, it’s a proper 200-odd kilometre drive into the countryside. But easily achievable from Sydney with a rental car. Just depart early in the morning and accept the Blue Mountains scenery en-route as consolation for the low speed limits enforced on the open roads.

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