The greatest longtails… in the world
Le Mans is almost upon us. Time to pay tribute to some of the maddest-looking racers to take on the 24 hours…
Posted: 14 Jun 2013
1955 Jaguar XKD Long Nose D-Type
McLaren likes to talk about its new-gen supercars, the 12C and the P1, being ‘made by the air’. What they mean is being made by a thumping great computer that’s got something rather more posh than an HND in computational fluid dynamics.
The Jaguars that dominated Le Mans in the 1950s were made by the air, or rather designer and aerodynamicist Malcolm Sayer, and none more so than the Long Nose D-Type. Sayer, don’t forget, had nothing more sophisticated than a wet thumb for working out what the breeze was doing; the Long Nose was largely guesswork, aided by a culture imbued with aeropace thinking.
Seven and a bit inches longer than the original D-Type, the Long Nose was all about the aero, even the engine was tipped over on one side to make the frontal profile smaller. And of course the Long Nose had THAT FIN, behind the driver’s head. D-Types of various evolutions and run by different teams won no less than three Le Mans 24 Hours.