Andy Wallace and Davy Jones, legendary Jaguar sports car racers, joined the Special Vehicle Operations development team last month at the Goodwood Motor Circuit to take the XE SV Project 8 for a test drive around the demanding and fast UK track. Both drivers declared the Project 8 to be 'absolutely staggering' and 'a winner'.
British born Andy Wallace was part of Jaguar's victorious 1988 and 1991 World Sports Car Championship teams, and won the Le Mans 24 hours endurance race in 1988 behind the wheel of a Jaguar XJR-9. This was the first time Andy had driven the all-wheel-drive Project 8, which features a supercharged 600PS 5.0-litre V8 powertrain.
"Most road-legal cars on track are a massive disappointment, but Project 8 is really something. It's absolutely staggering how it has been made to feel like a proper racing car. it keeps wanting you to push harder. it's not bothered by Goodwood's undulations, it just hunkers down and feels totally at ease, so you're happy to get on the throttle earlier. It inspires confidence straight away."
Featuring an all-new Carbon Ceramic Brakes system, the Project 8 incorporates the latest technology to offer longevity, consistent pedal feel and fade resistance under the most demanding of conditions. The Jaguar XE SV Project 8 also uses motorsport-grade Synthetic Racing Fluid (SRF).
"The brake pedal is fantastic. It is absolutely linear and you can feel what it's doing. The steering too is brilliant. it feels like a car that's developed after days and days, and hours and hours, of testing. You don't just 'luck' something as good as this. Anybody can build a fast car. But to build a fast car that feels this good - that's quite an achievement."
American driver Davy Jones was also a member of the Jaguar teams that took victory in the 1988 and 1991 championships and has also won the Daytona 24 Hours in 1990 in an XJR-12 (with Andy Wallace), and Jones went on to finish second in the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1991, before winning at Le Mans in 1996.
"I'm used to powerful racing cars. But this feels really fast. The sheer acceleration didn't feel all that different from a 700bhp racing prototype - and that really surprised me. It's certainly Jaguar's best track car I've driven since the sports prototype Jaguars of the 1980s and 1990s"
Developed using world-class motorsport technology throughout, Project 8 features carbon fibre panels, adjustable aerodynamics and a unique suspension setup with adjustable ride height and camber. The model is also the first road car with F1-style ceramic wheel bearings, as well as the first Jaguar with a dedicated Track mode that activates electronic calibration settings to tailor the driving experience for circuit use.
"There is no body roll, loads of grip, the braking is incredible. When you turn into a corner, it points in, when you step on the accelerator it wants to launch out of the corner. it doesn't do anything to spook you. It's such an accessible car to drive. The [8-speed automatic] gear shifts are so precise and so quick too."
The road-legal Jaguar XE SV Project 8, able to travel 200mph*, is the world's fastest four-door sedan, having lapped the Nürburgring Nordschleife in an impressive record of 7 minutes, 21.23 seconds. The model will be subjected to final tests later on this year in Portimão in Portugal, Motorland Aragón in Spain and Laguna Seca in California, USA. A maximum number of 300 cars will begin to be hand-assembled by the Special Vehicle Operations team at the Technical Centre in June.
The Project 8 is being offered as either a four-seater or a light-weight two-seat Track Pack configuration (option available in certain markets at extra cost), with prices starting at £149,995 in the UK. Deliveries are expected to begin in summer.
Contact Harwoods Jaguar for more information.
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*All figures are manufacturer’s estimates and subject to final confirmation ahead of production