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New Zealand Classic Car - - FEATURE -

e met Ian ‘Blue’ Dor­ward for the first time at Bathurst in 1985. The Kiwi, who gained vast ex­pe­ri­ence at Bathurst and other tracks be­fore he went to Eng­land, headed the mul­ti­mil­lion-dol­lar Jaguar chal­lenge to win the Aus­tralian clas­sic against the dom­i­nant Holden, Ford, and BMW chal­lengers.

Blue was ap­pointed by Tom Walkin­shaw to find and, in some cases, buy back, three of the four XJ-SS com­pet­ing in the 1984 Euro­pean Tour­ing Car Cham­pi­onship (ETCC), one of which won that year — then find the crew and driv­ers who would par­tic­i­pate in the only Tom Walkin­shaw Rac­ing (TWR) XJ-S race for 1985.

That is the cal­i­bre and ca­pa­bil­ity of the man, but what we didn’t know un­til sev­eral months ago was that Blue had an­other TWR XJ-S project on at the same time.

He was build­ing a brand-new per­sonal Jaguarsport XJ-S at TWR’S work­shop at Kidling­ton, north of Ox­ford. It was un­like any other road-go­ing TWR XJ-S, as it con­tained many orig­i­nal TWR XJ-S rac­ing me­chan­i­cals — and Blue owns the car, which is still at his home base in Hast­ings.

Jaguarsport

TWR cre­ated TWR Sport in 1984 to pro­duce mod­i­fied ver­sions of the XJ-S. Des­ig­nated ‘XJR-S’, the cars ben­e­fited from rac­ing ex­pe­ri­ence in the ETCC, and fea­tured im­proved aero­dy­nam­ics, up­rated sus­pen­sion and brakes, a tuned engine, and de­tail changes. The suc­cess of TWR Sport led to the for­mal­iz­ing of a joint ven­ture (50/50 with Jaguar) in 1988, called ‘Jaguarsport’.

Jaguarsport would fo­cus on build­ing tuned ver­sions of Jaguar road cars — the XJR-S coupé and XJ-R sa­loon.

Blue joined TWR for the 1984 sea­son, which was an all-out fight be­tween Jaguar and BMW, in par­tic­u­lar, and he was a key mem­ber of the team, which not only won the Driv­ers’ ti­tle but also the pres­ti­gious Spa 24 Hours race.

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