The Maldon-based team entered three cars: a 1954 Cooper Jaguar T33, 1976 Group 44 Jaguar XJS and 1965 Lightweight Jaguar E-TypeJD Classics was also supporting a customer-entry; the Jaguar XK120 of Steve and Josh WardThe JD Classics Jaguar XJS won both legs of the Historic Touring Car Challenge, while the E-Type won the GT & Sports Car CupThe victories bring JD Classics’ tally of race wins for the season to 14, including major triumphs at Le Mans Classic and Monaco Historique
Racecar client JD Classics rounded off its season of classic motorsport in style, with three race wins at the Algarve Classic Festival, held at the Portimao circuit. The JD Classics Competition Department were racing in a 1954 Cooper Jaguar T33, 1976 Group 44 Jaguar XJS and 1965 Lightweight Jaguar E-Type, as well as supporting a customer-entry Jaguar XK120.
Qualifying began on Friday, and it was the Jaguar XJS that was first to take to the track. With Chris Ward at the wheel for the 30-minute session, the team worked quickly to find the right set-up, delivering quicker times with each and every lap. In the final few minutes of the session, Chris completed a blistering 2:02.012 lap, which not only granted him pole position, but also put him 2.5 seconds ahead of his nearest rival.
As the first of the Historic Touring Car Challenge races began on Saturday, Ward and the XJS led a pack of powerful Ford Capris, Datsuns, Rovers and more away from the grid. The Jaguar’s pace was as blistering as in qualifying, with Ward able to pull out a four-second lead by Lap 3. On Lap 10, the JD Classics car pulled in for a mandatory pit stop, losing its lead in the process, but regaining it just three laps later as the leading BMW pitted. From then it was plain sailing for Ward, who had eked out a 9.5-second lead by the time the chequered flag fell.
In the GT & Sports Car Cup, JD Classics’ Lightweight Jaguar E-Type qualified second on the grid, ready for Sunday morning’s two-hour race. Chasing down the leading E-Type, and with an AC Cobra constantly battling behind, John Young had a tough drive in the JD Classics car, holding position until 30 minutes in for the first pit stop.
A last-minute driver change meant the team had to perform a stationary 60-second penalty before Chris Ward could take the wheel, but by pitting early and avoiding much of the traffic the team managed to rejoin the race in first place. Shortly after, a safety car bunched up the field but by the halfway point in the race, Ward was leading the pack by 15 seconds.
The team’s lead only increased until the last 25 minutes of the race when Ward pulled in for a final pit stop and 60-second penalty. As John Young took the wheel and rejoined the track he found himself being chased down by the second-place AC Cobra, especially as Young had been told to conserve fuel. By the last lap just four seconds split the two cars, with the Cobra cutting the gap on each corner, but the JD Classics car held on by a matter of metres to take the chequered flag.
The team’s Cooper Jaguar T33 was competing in the Motor Racing Legends 50s Sports Car race, having qualified in 11th place in a grid made up Woodcote and Stirling Moss Trophy cars. Derek Hood maintained position for his first stint before handing over to Chris Ward who raced into the darkness. A minor tyre configuration issue forced the Cooper back into the pits, but it was back out and racing shortly after, finishing the race in 10th overall, 2nd in class and 3rd in the Woodcote Trophy field.
The last race of the weekend saw the team’s Jaguar XJS back on track for the second Historic Touring Car Challenge race, with Chris Ward stepping out of the Cooper and into the Jaguar. Thanks to its win in the previous race, the XJS was on pole again, and had edged out a lead of just over six seconds by the end of the second lap.
By the time Ward brought the car into the pits, the lead stood at 15 seconds, but the mandatory 60-second stop caused the JD Classics car to rejoin in fifth position. Ward was quick to make up time, and with just 15 minutes remaining the Jaguar was closing in on the leading Ford Capri. Having taken the lead, Ward continued to put in blistering laps to cross the finish line and take the third win of the weekend for JD Classics.
JD Classics Managing Director, Derek Hood, said: “Our Competition Department has proved again and again this racing season that they’re among the best in the world. With these two wins at the Algarve Classic Festival our cars have now taken victory in 14 races this season, not to mention the pole positions and podium finishes. I’m extremely proud of all the drivers, technicians and engineers that work hard on these cars all season back at our Maldon workshop.