In the lead up to the Goodwood Festival of Speed, there were whispers floating among circles of people ‘in the know’ about a Jaguar concept car that was set to be unveiled. When the day came, though, the reality was something much more than anyone had anticipated.
On 12 July 2013, Jaguar displayed a work of automotive art in the form of the Project 7, the supercar that embodies a fitting tribute to the Le Mans glory years in all its splendour. From the moment its glistening blue body was revealed, right through the mouth-watering first display lap, viewers knew they were in the presence of a master class in automobile engineering and classic design. While it is not set to be put into production, the Jaguar Project 7 is much more than just a concept.
The power that comes from a 550PS variant of the 5-litre, V8 supercharged engine is music to car lovers’ ears, but that along with the extra 55PS on the F-TYPE is not where this car’s true beauty lies. Even with the 8-speed Quickshift automatic transmission from Jaguar fitted alongside the Electronic Active Differential, there is so much more to be discovered and celebrated in the aesthetic makeup of the car.
From the model name, Project 7—a tribute to the seven victories at Le Mans between 1950 and 1990, a British racing record—to the sharp and dazzling blue bodywork, the latest creation from Jaguar is infused with dedication to and inspiration from the last half decade of the manufacturer’s history and accomplishment. Aficionados will recognize the colour as strikingly similar to that of the highly successful D-TYPEs of 1956-57, only varying slightly to bring a modern feel to it.
The unique chassis and exterior remain a proud salute to the glorious history of Jaguar racing. As well as the paintwork, the rear fairing section has a distinct D-TYPE inspirational feel about it, while the iconic F-TYPE ‘heartlines’ have also been incorporated. Every detail has its own origin of influence, even down to the carbon fibre and aluminium wing mirrors, which draw their shape and feel from the old C-X16 concept, which in itself was the direct parent of the F-TYPE models.
Further modifications to the new F-TYPE, on which this concept was partly modelled, include an aerodynamic carbon fibre front splitter, as well as side skirts and a big rear diffuser. Its distinctly bold racing stance is further strengthened by the fixed rear spoiler set at an attacking 14-degree angle. The windshield, too, has been given a sharper angle to enhance the very classic racing style all-round look and feel.
The chrome outline of the F-TYPE headlamps has been replaced by slick black surrounds, and the face-on view of the car is completed with a new nose and grate design that includes bigger air intakes. The exterior is completed by the 20-inch blade forged alloy wheels that the chassis sits on, complete with carbon fibre insets.
The fact that the manufacturers refer to the interior as the cockpit is just one more tip of the hat to the Jaguar racing bloodline that is represented in the Project 7, and you can certainly see why. The passenger seat has been replaced completely by a bespoke helmet stand with its own strap to house the custom-made racing helmet that comes with the car. The bucket driver seat has been dropped 30mm and its occupant is held in by a state-of-the-art 4-point racing harness. Securely held in for the driving experience of a lifetime, the driver is surrounded by a diamond quilted pattern, just another racing-style tribute infused into the car.
This mastery of Jaguar innovation boasts a peak torque of 502lb per foot, 0-60mph in 4.1 seconds and a reported top speed of 186mph. It is clear that the makers intended for this speed and acceleration to be felt in its every mile per hour increase with the complete removal of the roof system and in its place a rollover hoop to complement the D-TYPE-inspired fairing.
Jaguar has truly surpassed expectations with this showcase car, and while there are no plans for it to go into full production, there is little doubt that the hard-core version of the F-TYPE, which is anticipated for release in the next couple of years, will take on much of the genetic makeup of the Project 7.