From Jaguar press: After an exploratory trip to Le Mans in 1950, it was realised that Jaguar had the makings of a successful competition car. Consequently Lyons was persuaded that a car should be produced solely with racing in mind. Hence the XK120C was born or, as the car is more generally known, the C-type. Three C-types were finished just in time for Le Mans in 1951. The Jaguars were an unknown quantity, yet the C-type driven by Peter Walker and Peter Whitehead recorded a remarkable victory on its racing debut.
Meanwhile, Jaguar engineers had been working in conjunction with Dunlop on a new development, the disc brake. This was to be Jaguar’s secret weapon upon their return to Le Mans in 1953. With their fade-free brakes the C-types could decelerate at the end of the three and a half mile Mulsanne Straight from speeds of around 150 mph, with complete confidence, and they could leave their braking far later than their rivals.
The result was a complete walkover – the Jaguars finishing first, second and fourth. If further proof were needed that Jaguar was now a world force and the XK engine a world beater, then the emphatic Le Mans triumph of ’53, against one of the strongest fields any race had ever seen, provided it. By the end of the decade, Jaguar C-types, and the D-types that followed, had achieved a total of five victories at Le Mans.