Ever wondered what it would have been like racing a car at Le Mans 50 years ago? There's no need to dream any longer, because fledgling car company Revival Motorsports has come up with a solution. Step forward the all-new, yet strikingly familiar lines of its D-Type.
With limited protection from the elements, driving the D-Type is an assault on the senses, but improved safety and handling over the original model's are reassuring. However, the price tag means this car is no bargain. Ever wondered what it would have been like racing a car at Le Mans 50 years ago? There’s no need to dream any longer, because fledgling car company Revival Motorsports has come up with a solution. Step forward the all-new, yet strikingly familiar lines of its D-Type.
For £47,000 the firm will put you in the driving seat of a hand-built copy of the famous Jaguar racer, complete with a 4.2-litre XK engine as used in the original cars. Thankfully, the handling and safety of this motor aren’t from the same era – a modern roll cage and racing brakes for improved stopping power ensure greater peace of mind. But climb behind the wooden- rim steering wheel and it certainly feels as though you’re Stirling Moss. Flip a switch, press a button and the engine bursts into life, the twin exhausts running down the passenger’s side growling loudly with every blip of the throttle.
Surprisingly for such a sporty car, pulling away is relatively smooth as the clutch is not as unforgiving as you would expect. On the open road, the close-ratio five-speed gearbox allows quick changes with a flick of the wrist. And with 300bhp on tap and a weight of only 1,073kg, the D-Type can hit 185mph at the test track.
At a slower pace, your biceps get a real workout as the car’s makers have retained the original’s unassisted steering. According to those who’ve driven a ‘real’ D, the big difference is the all-round independent suspension which makes the replica far more predictable and unlikely to throw you off the road on tightening bends. Owners might need to invest in a set of spanners, though, as Revival hopes the first 25 models it makes will be sold to people who want to compete in a one-make UK race series. The tools may also come in handy on other occasions as a problematic starter motor and cooling fan required fixing on our test car.