Drivers: Andy Wallace, Martin Brundle, Paul Taylor

In 2019 Bourne HPP demonstrated its expertise in designing, installing, and calibrating a bespoke electrical system and ECU (Engine Control Unit) to reawaken an iconic sleeping cat – the famed and instantly recognisable Group C Jaguar XJR9.

An evolution of the design for the XJR-8, the XJR-9 was designed by Tony Southgate, built by Tom Walkinshaw Racing (TWR) and featured a Jaguar 7.0-litre V12 engine based on the production 5.3-litre engine as used in the Jaguar XJS road car. A variant of the XJR-9, the XJR-9LM, would be developed specifically for the 24 Hours of Le Mans where the requirement for high straight line speeds on the Mulsanne Straight necessitated a low-drag aerodynamic package.

The XJR-9 was able to take six victories, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans, where rookie driver Paul Taylor made his debut aiding in the Le Mans triumph, over the eleven race series. Silk Cut Jaguar won the Teams Championship and Jaguar driver Martin Brundle won the Drivers title. Jaguar's success at Le Mans marked the first time since 1980 that Porsche had not won Le Mans, and the first Le Mans victory for Jaguar since 1957.

Design Brief

Our involvement in this highly prestigious racecar preparation project required us to engineer and install both engine and chassis electronic packages. 

Engine Electronics Package

The primary focus of the electronics package design brief was to include appropriate safety systems to monitor and alarm oil pressure, fuel pressure and lean-on-Lambda to safeguard the XJR9’s original period V12 engine.

Whilst preserving the engine was of paramount importance, the control system also had to deliver on performance. This was achieved using cutting edge calibration methods, whereby throttle position and airbox pressure VS rpm were innovatively combined to create a 4-dimensional fuel map. This form of calibration enhances the definition of the fuel map and enables more power, torque, and drivability on corner exit.

Innovative technical engineering aside, the brief also included a requirement to preserve the period appearance and authenticity of the car by hiding our very modern looking control boxes and sensors.  The more compact size of the Life Racing F88 ECU enabled us to discretely and neatly package the latest electronic componentry into the period control box, while the original ignition box case proved to be a great hiding place for our up-to-date pressure and temperature sensors. Innovative? Surely just a case of “thinking inside the box!”

Components Used

We selected a Life Racing F88 ECU, which features:

  • Closed loop Lambda control per bank
  • Manifold pressure sensing per bank
  • 12 switchable engine settings for track and tyre conditions
  • Oil pressure sensing with pre-set low pressure safety trips
  • Fuel pressure sensing with pre-set low pressure safety trips
  • Lean on Lambda trips

Chassis Electronics Package

To further improve the on-track performance of the car a separate system was created using the latest AIM technologies and components to monitor all vital aspects of the chassis.

This consisted of:

  • 4x Wheel speed sensors
  • 4x Tyre temperature sensors
  • 4x Damper pots
  • 1x G sensor

To capture the data from these chassis sensors they were paired to an AIM EVO 5 logger to enable the data from the Life Racing F88 and AIM system to be merged and recorded in a single location, with the two systems being linked by CAN-BUS.

By Michael Birch


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