"Gentlemen start your engines"
The Charterhall GT has been named to commemorate and celebrate the history of Charterhall as a WW2 Airfield and as one of Scotland’s first Motor Racing Circuits. The Scottish Borders was the cradle of post-war motorsport growth and played a major part in the success of the Jaguar marque on race circuits around the world.
The Charterhall Badge
The badge for the new car is based on the layout of the historic Charterhall Circuit, and also echoes the wing profile of the iconic Spitfires and other aircraft that protected our skies from RAF No.54 Operational Training Unit at Charterhall during the war. The book by J.B.Thompson, “The Charterhall Story” is a very fitting tribute to wartime work of the Borders Airfield.
The Worlds Best Drivers
It was at Charterhall that Jim Clark and Jackie Stewart had their earliest race wins, before going on to win several F1 World Championships. The Circuit was driven by many of the worlds top drivers including Sir Stirling Moss, Roy Salvadori, and Giuseppe Farina. We are extremely lucky to have residing in the area successful and inspiring drivers, including Louise Aitken-Walker MBE, Andrew Cowan, John Clelland and Doug Niven, a cousin of the late Jim Clark. Ian Scott-Watson launched Jim Clark on his way to stardom, and his book “Black Sheep in the Fast Lane” is a wonderful read. David Spry has compiled the very informative website which gives a lot more information on the Racing at the Circuit.
Le Mans Training
Ecurie Ecosse and the Border Reivers Team used the Circuit as a training ground before their memorable trips to the Le Mans 24 Hour Race in France. Ecurie Ecosse were outright winners in 1956 and 1957 at Le Mans with Jaguar D Types, which was a superb achievement for a small local team, and put Scotland on the map of International Motorsport.
Jaguar D Types and E Types raced regularly at the Charterhall Circuit and have been used as the inspiration for the Charterhall GT. Jaguar E Type replicas were also built at Newton St Boswells by the Challenger Car Company in the 1990’s, until a fire at the factory lead to it’s closure.
Charterhall - The Future
Circa Cars have created a Prototype Studio in an old Barn at East of Eden, midway between Kelso and Charterhall. The company has acquired what was left of the moulds and jigs from the Challenger project after the fire. New prototypes of the Factory Lightweight Jaguar E Type replicas including a mid engined evolution model are now being built with the full approval of Jaguar Land Rover.
The prototypes are currently being tested at Knockhill Racing Circuit, and it is hoped that a small “cottage industry” may develop in the Borders to build limited edition runs of the E Type replicas, and the Charterhall GT, with it’s lighter aluminium Jaguar V6 engine.
Charterhall has been registered as a Trade Mark by Circa Cars for use on Sports Cars, and agreement has been reached with the Colt Car Company to use the Challenger name on a limited production run of E Type replicas.
A number of other prototypes are being built at the Studio to try and retain a bit of the colour and adventure in motoring before we return to the equivalent of “the man with a red flag walking in front of a car” as we join the queue of autonomous grey cars with green engines transporting us from city to city. The sketch below is an Evolution of the E Type in mid engined form, to consider what the car may have looked like if Jaguar had developed the car in this direction, rather than going the XJS route.
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