By: IOL Motoring Staff
Whitley, Coventry - This dedicated hooligan tool is Jaguar's fastest and most powerful street-legal car yet, the production (sort of) version of the F-Type Project 7 first shown at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in 2013.
It will premier tomorrow (26 June) at this year's Festival, in celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Le Mans-winning D-Type endurance racer, which inspired a lot of the Project 7's styling, notably the aircraft-style fairing behind the driver's seat.
Even the name commemorates Jaguar's seven outright victories wins at Le Mans.
Why we said 'sort of' is because no more than 250 Project 7 roadsters will be hand-built in Jaguar Land Rover's new Special Operations workshop; in fact it will be the recently-announced divisions' debut project.
TWEAKED 'TIL IT SQUEAKS
It's powered by Jaguar's proven five-litre supercharged petrol V8, further upgraded to deliver 423kW at 6500 revs (up 18kW from the F-Type R) and 680Nm from 2500-5500rpm, driving the rear wheels through an eight-speed Quickshift auto transmission and second-generation electronic active differential.
Given a kerb weight of less than 1600kg for the lightweight, all-aluminium bodied roadster, Jaguar is confidently quoting 0-100 times of less than four seconds and an electronically limited top speed of 300km/h.
Carbon-ceramic matrix brake with 398mm front and 380mm rear discs allied to six and four-piston monobloc callipers respectively, available as an option on the F-Type R Coupé, are standard on the Project 7, as are 20” alloys shod with 255/30 front and 295/30 rear gumballs.
Also standard is torque vectoring by braking, which works in conjunction with the electronic active differential and a specially-tuned suspension set-up with bespoke front suspension knuckles for increased negative camber, revised top mounts, stiffer front and rear anti-roll bars, adjustable ride height, and revised spring rates and damper internals, to make sure the car goes exactly where you point it.
F-TYPE WITH ATTITUDE
The Project 7 is unmistakeably an F-Type, but with a new rear deck incorporating the D-type-inspired fairing behind the driver's head, a shortened windshield and bespoke aero kit.
Windscreen length has reduced by 114mm, reducing overall height by 30.5mm, with new side windows to match, and a Bimini roof has been specially designed to clip on to the convertible header rail; when not in use, you simply fold it up and stash it in the 196-litre boot.
The front treatment includes a front splitter with a moulded plastic lower section and carbon-fibre upper section; the side skirts, rear diffuser, adjustable rear spoiler, rear deck, bonnet vents, side vent louvres and mirror caps are also all made of the light stuff.
Driver and passenger sit in lightweight race-inspired bucket seats, finished in a quilted racing-style diamond pattern. Cockpit trim features carbon-fibre veneer inserts on the console, an alcantara steering wheel (with leather option), machined aluminium gearshift paddles and bespoke sill tread-plates with the Project 7 logo.
Each Project 7 will come with a specially numbered plaque between the seats, signed by Jaguar design director Ian Callum.
Jaguar Land Rover SA has confirmed that the Project 7 will be released in South Africa in 'very limited numbers' around April 2015. Prices, as usual, when they get here.