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Race Retro pays tribute to Motorsport legend Norman Dewis

Published 06 February 2020

This year's Race Retro will pay tribute to motorsport legend Norman Dewis, who passed away last year. Dewis, whose motorsport career included racing at the Le Mans 24 hours, is perhaps best known for his association with Jaguar. The show’s ‘Hall of Fame’ feature will host a special three-car display, with a C-Type, E-Type, and a one-off XJ13.

Dewis was chief test driver and development engineer for Jaguar between 1952 and 1985. A 33-year career that saw him break the land speed record for production cars in a Jaguar XK120 on the Jabbeke Highway in Belgium. And, through his long and often dangerous hours of test driving, significantly contribute to the Le Mans wins for Jaguar in the 1950s with the C- and D-Types.

Norman also raced alongside the greats which included Moss, Hawthorn and Fangio behind the wheel of a works Jaguar D-Type. The Jaguar Enthusiasts’ Club, with the support of the Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust, have assembled a line-up of three cars that represent key moments in Norman’s career.

The display’s earliest car is a Jaguar C-Type. Dewis began developing the disc brake concept on the C-Type. The technology was fitted to Stirling Moss' Jaguar C-Type in the 1952 Mille Miglia, and Dewis accompanied him as a passenger.

The Unique XJ13 On Its Turntable

Next, is the oldest surviving convertible E -Type 77RW, that Dewis famously drove through the night, at short notice, from Coventry to the Geneva Motor Show ready for the 10am press launch for the car.

It was one of his most awe-inspiring achievements and speaking of the adventure Norman recalled, 'I arrived in Geneva just in time for a 10am press conference the following morning, and Sir William Lyons looked at his watch and simply said, "I knew you’d make it, Dewis."'

The display is made complete with the unique, one off, XJ13 racing prototype that Norman Dewis developed for racing at Le Mans before it was shelved. Years later, he drove it again at a press launch at MIRA and was lucky to escape a horrendous crash in it. 

James Blackwell, General Manager of the Jaguar Enthusiasts’ Club said, 'Norman was one of the most highly respected drivers and engineers that has ever lived, he had a special talent for assessing the handling of car and how it might be improved. He came from the era that Race Retro celebrates, when racing and test drivers alike were heroes. 

Tickets are on sale for the show, held from 21-23 February 2020 at Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire, with free parking for all visitors. For the latest updates and ticket information, visit www.raceretro.com.

Race Retro

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