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Motorsport

Handle with care

8 months ago

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Writer:

Andrew Frankel | Ti co-founder

Date:

15 June 2023

You probably haven’t, but if you were ever to wonder how a male Black Widow spider feels as he approaches the love of his shortly to be violently abbreviated life, I expect contemplating driving a Jaguar XJR-15 fast around a track will do the job better than most.

It’s not that you don’t realise what’s going to happen – you know absolutely you’re going to get eaten alive – you just can’t help it. She is so beautiful, so alluring, the attraction is just too great. What a way to go…

The XJR-15 is the car memorably described by Jeremy Clarkson as ‘the worst handling car of all time.’ Tiff Needell used to race one in period so I rang him and asked him to describe it to me. He thought about it a bit, then said ‘brutally awful’. Later in the same conversation he described how it wouldn’t even take the Monaco tunnel flat but would instead oversteer all the way to the exit. He said, ‘It was so bad it wasn’t even enjoyably bad,’ and I understood exactly what he meant. A car can be fun without being in any way good – as I remind myself every time I race a 1960s Ford Falcon – but the XJR-15 isn’t one of them.

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