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The Goodwood Festival of Speed is known for two things: the famous hill climb and crashes. Unfortunately, a rare Jaguar XJR-12D had quite the crash over the weekend. It isn’t uncommon for racers to be caught out on the narrow hillclimb at the festival. Thankfully, no one driving the Jaguar was harmed. However, it is quite a shame the vehicle was crashed, as it was a very special and storied race car.

The Jaguar XJR-12D was an insane racer

The Jaguar XJR16, predecessor to the XJR-12D
1991 Jaguar XJR16, a predecessor to the XJR-12D | Gerlach Delissen via Getty Images

So, let’s talk a little history. Back in 1983, Jaguar decided they wanted to do some more racing. However, the brand used a somewhat different approach than simply building a car, slapping their name on it, and going to a race. Rather than do that, the brand relied on several independent owners to run their XJR series sports cars. The program began with the racing team Group 44 Racing, who were intending to race the car in the American IMSA GTP Championship.

The first Jaguar XJR, the 5, was built not in the U.K, but by the race team in Herndon, Virginia. Fast forward a few years, and teams were beginning to work on the car that crashed at Goodwood: The Jaguar XJR-12D. This time, race team Tom Walkinshaw Racing wanted to take it to the most famous endurance race on the planet, Le Mans. Then, in 1990, the Jaguar XJR-12D won Le Mans. As it should’ve, given its 730 hp V12 with a top speed of 219 MPH.

Crashes at Goodwood are very common

Lots of bodywork and hay | JA96

It’s likely all that horsepower played a role in the fate of the Bud Light-liveried Jaguar. The incident, which you can see above, looks like a spectacular crash. The driver rounds a bend and the car seems to simply walk away in an almost suicidal manner. Likely, what happened was far more complex than that. Any number of things can cause an accident when driving as fast as the hero behind the wheel, but it appears to be a simple case of oversteer combined with a narrow track.

As seen above, the rear of the car steps out. Now, that can be due to a number of factors. First, it could have been snap-oversteer, where a driver hops off the throttle aggressively, and the sudden transfer of weight to the front causes the rear to swing out. It’s also possible the driver simply over-corrected and induced the oversteer by mistake. Regardless, it’s best that no one but the car was harmed in the incident.

This won’t be the last crash at Goodwood

The Jaguar XJR-12D at Goodwood preparing to head up the hill
Jaguar XJR 12D | Michael Cole Getty Images

Stakes are high at Goodwood. Holding the record time up the hill in your class is a big deal in the racing community, just like the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. Drivers are always flat-out, 10/10ths, ride-or-die, and these things happen in racing. Sure, it makes for spectacular YouTube footage, but a piece of racing history was severely damaged this weekend. Let’s hope the vehicle gets rebuilt and lives to race another day.


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