The XJS is an exciting racing partner for the Capri Mk3…
There were a lot of show-stopping highlights in the 2021 Scalextric catalogue, but the Jaguar XJS was a race car that particularly grabbed me. This classic Group A touring car from the 1980s is a perfect partner for last year’s Ford Capri Mk3, as we will find out…
The Scalextric C4261Jaguar XJS Spa 24 hours 1982 is scheduled for release later this month and can be pre-ordered here: https://www.jadlamracingmodels.com/scalextric-slot-car-c4261-jaguar-xjs-spa-24hrs-1982-walkinshaw-nicholson-percy/
The digital version can be pre-ordered here: https://www.jadlamracingmodels.com/scalextric-digital-slot-car-c4261-jaguar-xjs-spa-24hrs-1982/
The Real Jaguar XJS
The Jaguar XJS was highly-competitive in the Group A European Touring Car Championship (ETCC) between 1982 and 1984, picking up plenty of race wins – Tom Walkinshaw winning the drivers’ championship in 1984. The XJS also notched up prestigious victories at the 1984 Spa 24 hours and the 1985 Bathurst James Hardie 1000 at Mount Panorama in Australia. Group A was a class introduced by the FIA in 1982 for both touring and rally cars, specifically for modified production cars – 2,500 of the modified version had to produced each year. That means the racing XJS looked almost identical to the road-going cars.
The first racing livery produced by Scalextric is of the Tom Walkinshaw, Chuck Nicholson & Win Percy car that took pole at the Spa 24 hours race in 1982, but then failed to finish. It might not be the classic TWR livery, but it’s where the XJS racing story began – and the black, red and white does look stunning…
The Scalextric Model
The photographs are of what’s called a ‘pre-production signed sample’. That means it’s the final sample sent from the factory in China to the Scalextric team in Margate. There will be some small improvements to the decoration on the car – especially sharpening up the printing at the front – but this is pretty much what the cars arriving at the Jadlam warehouse in the next few weeks will look like…
The Scalextric team were kind enough to send this pre-production sample of the XJS for me to have a good look at. The car was designed during the spring 2020 lockdown using a high quality diecast, technical drawings and plenty of period and modern photographs as the source material. I think Scalextric have done a fabulous job – the stance and the lines look aweome. I’m not too sure about the rear quarter window – I think it should be a vent at the back, not a sliver of glass – but that’s just me being ultra-picky, as usual.
Like the Capri, the Scalextric XJS has its bumpers and valances as part of the chassis. However, the car is designed in such a way that the screws can be loosened for adequate body rock. A lip on the bumpers hides the gap. I liked that feature on the Capri and I like it just as much on the XJS. Another nice touch is that the wing mirrors are made from a flexible material – although a coat of paint did make them feel a little more rigid than those on the Capri. That aerial on the roof is flexible too. There’s also the usual tray interior, which shows plenty of detail from the outside.
The Mechanical Stuff
Underneath, there’s the same standard inline ‘S-can’ motor, quick-change guide and digital-plug-ready layout as the Capri. The Jag has a slightly longer wheelbase (81.5mm compared to 80mm), a similar distance from the guide pivot to rear axle (86.5mm) and a near-identical rear track (50mm). The XJS is longer (151.5mm) with the characteristic overhang front and back. The XJS is fitted with slicks, rather than the treaded tyres on the Capri – the wheel/tyre diameter is 1mm larger, but the width is the same. The XJS is 1.5g heavier at 76.5g.
Running on my Jadlam SL6 test track, the car was sensational out of the box. I had to remember it wasn’t my car – and it needed to go back to Margate in one piece – so I only loosened the body screws as part of my regular tuning tweaks (see Scalextric Tuning Part 2 for more details) and maybe I didn’t push it 100%. I ran my Brut Capri (review here) at the same session – and over a series of two-minute runs, timed with the ARC app, I was getting identical lap totals and best lap times for both cars. The back of the Capri let go slightly earlier than the XJS, which was surprising given the extra overhang on the Jag. A quick trip to my DIY magnet scales saw a slightly higher reading for the Jag (48g), but not by much. The best scores for the Jaguar were 24 laps and a best lap of 4:61 seconds. If I had been able to scuff up the tyres and re-profile the braids, the XJS might have seen a very slight performance improvement – but the tyres were already pleasingly grippy out of the box, as they had been with the Capri last year.
In conclusion, Scalextric have produced two lovely models of early Group A cars with very similar performance on the track – which is just what the doctor ordered. These two are also up there with the most fun Scalextric cars to drive with magnets fitted – quick, but with some ‘give’ if you get into the corners slightly too quickly. The XJS – and the 2021 Capris – are most definitely on my shopping list… The Scalextric team have also hinted that there will be more new models from this Group A classic saloon car era – they won’t say which ones, but I am really excited to find out!
A big thank you to the Scalextric team for sending me the XJS to preview.
Scalextric Jaguar XJS Spa 24 hours 1982 ‘Motul’ Data Sheet
Catalogue code: C4261
Range: Scalextric Classic Racing Cars – 1/32 scale / high detail / Digital Plug Ready (DPR)
Released: May/June 2021
Spares included: 2 x brade plates with braid fitted
Lights: front and rear
Motor: Scalextric ‘short-can’ – inline orientation.
Gear ratio: 9:27
Length: 151.5 mm
Wheelbase: 81.5 mm
Rear axle width: 50mm
Andy’s downforce gauge: 48g magnetic downforce