Jaguar XE VS Project 8: first trip in 592bhp super saloon

Goodwood Motor Circuit is the vapor, but the Revival is still a fair few months so this has nothing to do with the environment in general.

Rather, the problem with the David Pook is skilfully the struggle of the concerns of the haze of evaporating rain water to partially cover-up of a mosaic of standing water, the bone-dry islet, and every shadow of uncertainty in the middle. He is doing corrections, large and small, he is doing in the areas of this terribly fast circuit, not only where you might expect the need to arise, but also where you absolutely do not.

The time in the speech about the car’s limited suitability for everyday driving, its frankly outrageous exhaust blare – that meet homologation requirements with 1dB to spare – and his desire to capture, at least in part, something of what made the E46 generation of the BMW M3 CSL so completely convincing as a road racing cross has passed.

Pook is behind the wheel of a prototype of the Jaguar XE SV Project 8, a car for which he has led the development dynamic during his brief 18 months of gestation. Only 300 will ever exist, despite the attempts of the company of the coin-counters to squeeze out a couple more examples of Special Vehicle Engineering.

It’s a much more ambitious effort of Project 7, the extroverted speedster based on a F-Type, although both cars fall under the ‘crazy ideas with commercial opportunities’ mantra espoused by the SVO managing director John Edwards. Today, it has been described in various ways, as a statement car, the ultimate expression of what the performance means for the brand, and a nailed-on future classic. It is also the fastest road-legal four-door of the living room around the Nürburgring.

Jaguar XE VS Project 8: all details of the Nurburgring record breaker

As that once more, shell in Madgwick – a fast right-hander that brings the pit straight to an end, either with one or two apices, depending on the historic racer with which you’re talking about – it’s hard not graciously to the conclusion that if this 600 bhp hall of bites and we ended up in the tyre wall, Pook will really have only himself to blame.

After moving through the car’s main driving modes, which keep the shock absorbers on a softer, road-biased, but of sequentially increasing the transmission line to rear torque bias, we are now on the Track that ups the ante in both parameters. The curves are a waiting game today, but the Project 8 devours the bit in the middle.

Passenger rides, of course, only provide a limited view into a car, especially when using semi-slick tires (Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 – the only option Jaguar offered) and it is so terribly humid. Four committed laps just to confirm that the Project 8 is firm, but not as murderously and as fast in a straight line as something more affordable side of a McLaren 720S.

Q&A: JLR Special Operations chief at the Jaguar XE SV Project 8

This, then, is really an opportunity to catch up with the development team and hear the changes that you have made this exciting venture is coming to a close session. It is an intermediate step between the last year of the Goodwood Festival of Speed, where the least compromising of all road car in Jaguar’s long history it broke the cover, and our first chance to drive the thing, that’s going to come to Spain at the end of May.

It is there we will discover if Jaguar has achieved its goal of building a an extremely fast car that do not require the skills of a racing driver to unlock its true pace. “This is the feeling that the car is always with you,” says Pook back in the pit lane, adding that the Project 8 is configured to operate in the track without generating any fear factor.

So, what exactly is a Project of 8, beyond an excessively noisy, expensive and very extroverted work of love for the SVO team based in Oxford Road in Coventry? Life begins as the shell of a XE, which gives SVO a relatively good basis on which to work in terms of aerodynamics, stiffness and weight distribution.

Jaguar Land Rover 5.0-liter supercharged V8 it is then installed along with the four-wheel-drive system of the F-Type SVR. The silhouette is then in a course of anabolic steroids to home runs, respectively, 24mm and 73mm wider in the front and rear of the XE S. Only the doors and roof are done.

Aerodynamics is a fundamental attribute, as can be inferred from the enormous cuts to the stern of each colossal arc of the wheel, carbonfibre bargeboards and a hat of ventilation that has been carefully positioned to align perfectly with the region of increased front-end lift. The carbonfibre front splitter, rear spoiler and the height can also be adjusted manually for track days and the brakes use massive carbon-ceramic discs.

Jaguar claims that this is also the first production car to use incredibly stiff and durable ceramic wheel bearings. All, more than three-quarters of the ‘big engineering’ has changed from a XE S, and however, the rotation remains modest enough to avoid the city in the centre of the shame and the capacity of the boot is only five litres smaller than the standard car.

The cost, by the way, is £149,995, which is enough for a family of four-doors, but reasonable value if you see this as a vehicle that exudes the same no-compromise engineering family mandate to the employees of Porsche’s legendary GT division. That is correct: from a philosophical and a technical point of view, at least, the Jaguar is benchmarking the Porsche 911 GT3. Previously, it has been BMW M4 GTS, although Pook and his colleagues believe that when it comes to performance and driving ability, their efforts exceeded their peers in Bavaria a long time ago in the development process. In this rarefied strata of the automotive world, that really is fighting talk.

From the Festival of Speed, the development has been cantered forward with incremental improvements in nearly all areas imaginable, and at a rapid rate that simply would not be possible without a small, agile team, whose core numbers are only a dozen staff. It is a world away from Jaguar’s main models, and has been translated into SVO beating – “breaking,” says Edwards on the pit-lane noise of the wheel nuts being tight – each internal performance objective originally established for the Project 8.

That said, raw numbers are almost secondary to the team, who are especially proud of the way this car now changes direction (see separate story, below), and, echoing Pook feelings, the potential that it has to raise its driver to superstar status. We will see soon for us, in Spain, but nothing here at Goodwood gives a reason for suspicion.

With a third of build slots already spoken for, the production of customer cars begins in the month of June, when SVO will begin turning them in a ratio of about 20 each week. It is moving, very concentrated, smash and appropriation of engineering and leaves us wondering how the Project 9 potentially can take. Edwards will not be drawn on this occasion, but seizes the opportunity to remind us that they do not call at Oxford Road, the Dream Factory for nothing.

The pursuit for the next level of agility

Confidence-inspiring in the weight and crisp precision have been the highlights of the XE package, since the car’s introduction in 2015, but the Project 8 will operate in a different universe of response and agility.

The two cars share the same frame and of the reason, but there are changes in the suspension of the Project 8. In the front, studs, double coil springs, shock absorbers, lower suspension bushings and anti-roll bars are all new and as for the car, a lot of what is the motor specification, and the rubber of the bushes have been exchanged for the ball joints. In addition, this car of the 2deg of negative camber of the front wheels is four times what you’ll find in a XE S, and double that of even the F-Type SVR boasts, and the sub-frames are also solidly mounted.

Then there are the engine mounts, which were reinforced late in the day – to considerable inconvenience to make sure that big 5.0-liter V8 of steps in perfect time with the front axle through jinking changes of direction.

Read more

Jaguar XE VS Project 8: all details of the Nurburgring record breaker

Q&A: JLR Special Operations chief at the Jaguar XE SV Project 8