It started out as a sketch, escalated to a concept and now it’s going into full, but limited-run, production. The Project 7 will be the first car developed by Jaguar’s newly established Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) division – 250 will be built just as soon as the brand new manufacturing facility is built. You can see it first here at the Festival of Speed. Well second, actually… the GRR team had a sneak preview here at the press launch today.
Taking its name from Jaguar’s seven Le Mans victories, the Project 7 made its debut in concept form at last year’s Festival of Speed. Back then, there were no plans for production, but just 12 months later it’s coming back to FoS to go on display in production specification – and resplendent in British Racing Green. You’ll be able to see it on Jaguar’s stand, but with a press preview taking place just outside our office window here at the Motor Circuit, we can tell you it’s an attention-grabber…
Given Project 7’s hardcore look, there’s a certain performance expectation it has to live up to. We’re told it will be the most powerful Jaguar road car ever, and also the fastest F-type derivative. The F-type R’s supercharged 5.0-litre V8 has been breathed upon to produce 567bhp (up from its usual 550bhp) and 501lb ft of torque. 0-62mph will take 3.9sec.
The best news is that the driver’s side fairing has made it through to production. It’s unapologetically inspired by the D-type
It also promises to be the sharpest handling car in Jaguar’s line-up. Developed at the Nürburgring and what SVO MD John Edwards describes somewhat enigmatically as ‘circuits closer to home’, the car has a very performance-focused set-up. Stiffer springs and dampers front and rear, increased camber and retuned Dynamic Stability Control all play their part in making this a car that promises to have a more track-biased set-up than the F-type R. Carbon ceramic brakes and torque vectoring via the brakes completes the specification.
While the Project 7’s look remains almost identical to the concept, nods towards real-world practicality have been made. There are now two seats (and a visible roll-over bar for the passenger), a hood (think Porsche Boxster Spyder style, although apparently it’s still a work in progress) and a boot.
Other visual changes come as a result of a visit to MIRA’s wind tunnel. The air intakes at the front are now bigger, and the fixed rear wing has been altered to maintain aerodynamic balance front and rear. It’s still as aggressive as ever, those chunky fibre sills adding substance to the F-type’s shape.
The best news is that the driver’s side fairing has made it through to production. It’s unapologetically inspired by the D-type, which celebrates 60 years since its first Le Mans win this year, and makes a real statement. To help back up the comparison, Jaguar brought a D-type along yesterday. Heritage meets cool contemporary Jaguar. More subtle, but just as important to the overall appearance of Project 7, is the shortened and reprofiled windscreen.
First deliveries will take place in Spring 2015, and Jaguar is currently building a dedicated facility that will be home to SVO. Remote from the main factories and open only to SVO customers, the 20,000sq metre factory will be a special place for special cars. Each Project 7 will be plucked from the F-type production line before being finished by hand at SVO. The price? Unconfirmed, but we reckon something less than £150k should get you into the driving seat. But you’d better hurry up and get in the queue…