Jaguar’s long association with motorsport took something of a hiatus in the 1970s. The XJ-S, in Europe at least, wasn’t initially deployed in any serious works capacity. Presumably, Jaguar – or more accurately its paymasters Leyland – had put all its eggs into a Broadspeed XJC-shaped basket. Despite the savage pace, the reliability of that racer never materialised and it was a long time before Jaguar would once again put its name to a circuit venture. However, when Tom Walkinshaw showed the promise of the XJ-S in the 1983 European Touring Car Championship, Coventry took notice.
TWR Sport and Jaguar officially partnered up for the 1984 season and utterly dominated, winning seven races, locking out the podium with XJ-S drivers at two of those meetings. Win Percy and Walkinshaw won the Spa 24-hours that same year, with Walkinshaw going on to take the driver’s title at the end of the season.
To capitalise on his success, and the exposure it brought, Walkinshaw offered his own TWR-tuned XJ-S options to private customers. Soon realising it was missing out, Jaguar partnered with TWR to form Jaguar Sport in 1988, offering conversions, modifications and tuning from the factory, though the work was initially still done by TWR.