Group 44 E-type stars at Goodwood

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

At the Festival of Speed on June 28, Goodwood Road & Racing's Andy Craig caught up with Jaguar Heritage Technician, Richard Mason, and the famous Group 44 E-type.  In the video below, Richard talks about this extraordinary car, fires up the engine and there is footage of automotive journalist Chris Harris taking it up the hill!  The full story of this car is told below.

Although the E-type had been raced in many events right from its introduction in 1961, even in lightweight form the car was not competitive in first-line events such as Le Mans against the new generation of cars from Ferrari, and later Ford and Porsche. However, the E-type was to experience a renaissance late in its career, with the V12-engined Series 3 model.

Group 44 E-type archive image

In 1974, Jaguar decided to enter the E-type in the Class B production car championship of the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA). Two independent companies were chosen to prepare and race the cars, Huffaker of California for the West Coast races, and Group 44 of Virginia for the East Coast races. Group 44 had been founded ten years before by Bob Tullius and Brian Fuerstenau, and had an impressive list of race victories, as well as ten national championships, to their credit.

The Huffaker prepared car, driven by Lee Mueller, won its first race at Seattle in August 1974, while at the same time the Group 44 car missed victory at Watkins Glen as the gearlever broke in Bob Tullius's hand while he was in the lead with three laps to go. However, this initial setback was soon forgotten and the E-types swept all before them for the rest of the season, with Mueller scoring a total of three victories and Tullius five. In 1975, Tullius won seven races, including the Road Atlanta National Finals, and took the SCCA Championship.

The E-type racing programme was concluded with the 1975 season but Bob Tullius and Group 44 continued their successful involvement with Jaguar, first in the XJS, and later with the specially-built XJR sports racing cars which in the 1980s contested the American IMSA races, and brought Jaguar back to Le Mans.