Le Mans legends test the Jaguar Project 8
Andy Wallace and Davy Jones, both former Le Mans 24 Hours winners, get their first drives of the new 600PS Project 8 at Goodwood – and come back raving!
Legendary Jaguar sports car racers Andy Wallace and Davy Jones have now tried out the new Jaguar XE SV Project 8 at Goodwood Motor Circuit – and declared it 'absolutely staggering' and 'a winner'.
Brit Andy Wallace (on the left in the picture above) won the 1988 Le Mans 24 Hours in the Jaguar XJR-9 and was part of Jaguar’s victorious 1988 and 1991 World Sports Car Championship teams. American Davy Jones was also a member of both the 1988 and 1991 championship winning Jaguar teams, and won the Daytona 24 Hours in 1990 in an XJR-12 (with Andy), and finished second at the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1991. He went on to win the 1996 Le Mans.
Neither had previously driven the 600PS supercharged 5.0-litre V8 Project 8.
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'Most road-legal cars on track are a massive disappointment,' said Andy, '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.
'The brake pedal feel 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.'
Davy Jones echoed Andy's thoughts, saying: '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.'
Project 8 features an all-new carbon ceramic brakes (CCB) system, and uses carbon fibre panels, adjustable aerodynamics, a unique suspension set-up with adjustable ride height and camber. It's also the first road car with F1-style ceramic wheel bearings and the first Jaguar with a dedicated Track Mode, which activates electronic calibration settings tailored to circuit use.
'There is no body roll, loads of grip, the braking is incredible,' says Davy. '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 200mph* road-legal Project 8 is the world’s fastest four-door saloon, having lapped the Nürburgring Nordschleife in a record 7min 21.23sec. Now final tests are planned for Portimão in Portugal, Motorland Aragón in Spain and Laguna Seca in California, USA. Hand-assembly of no more than 300 cars will begin at Special Vehicle Operations’ Technical Centre in June.
It's available either as a four-seater or in lightweight two-seat Track Pack configuration (Track Pack is a market-dependent option at extra cost), and costs from £149,995 in the UK. Deliveries begin summer 2018.
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