It was in 1950 that William Lyons, founder of the brand Jaguar, decided to launch the design of the first car for competition only and especially at the 24h of Le Mans. The fame of this race was, at the time, much more important than today. The F1 championship did not exist yet and a victory on the French circuit had direct repercussions on sales. « Win on Sunday, sell on Monday ». For the 1950 edition, three prepared XK120s started under the cover of a private engagement, and finished with an honorable 12th place. One of the three XKs, the one driven by Johnson and Hadley even climbed to 3rd place in the standings for more than half of the race.