Jaguar’s Project 7 has just become a (limited) production reality
Almost exactly a year to the day since we first saw the edgy Project 7 concept, Jaguar has announced a road-legal production version, to be built in an exclusive, limited-edition run of 250 units. It will debut at this weekend’s Goodwood Festival of Speed, where the 60th anniversary of its primary inspiration, the D-type, will be celebrated.
Conceived as an errant doodle on a junior designer’s sketch pad, the Project 7 was never intended for production but rather as a bold design statement to showcase Jaguar’s performance-focused engineering abilities, as well as its pride in its racing heritage. But ‘desire and demand’ was overwhelming and, coinciding nicely with the launch of Special Vehicle Operations, the green light was given for a strictly limited run.
Changes to the concept are, thankfully, minimal. Gone is the bespoke helmet dock (replaced with a lightweight, carbon-backed passenger seat), and there’s now a stowable roof and ample luggage space. Aerodynamics have been redeveloped from scratch, noticeable in the bigger ventilation tunnels around the gaping front grille, and it’s also changed colour (in case you hadn’t realised) from Ecurie Ecosse Blue to British Racing Green. Four other colours are available.
The new benchmark for performance
It’s the differences from the standard F-type Roadster that are most impressive: a headline 575HP, up 80HP from the V8 S; a substantial 80kg weight reduction, achieved with the extensive use of carbonfibre elements; 177% more wind-tunnel-honed downforce; and an even more sonorous soundtrack from the active exhausts (as if improvements were needed in that area).
There’s also the clever torque vectoring system, a second-generation Electronic Active Differential and advanced carbon-ceramic brakes, as seen on the R Coupé and C-X75 project. It’s the first time a production Jaguar has been developed, first and foremost, on the track – the Project 7 is now the benchmark for high-performance Jags.
Special Vehicle Operations is Jaguar Land Rover’s recently announced business division, dedicated to creating high-specification halo vehicles, bespoke collectors' editions (à la Project 7) and heritage products such as the ‘new’ Lightweight E-type, all in the name of meeting the discerning customer's ever-increasing expectations. The £135,000 Project 7 will be hand-built at SVO’s new, state-of-the-art dedicated premises, with deliveries commencing in the summer of 2015.