GTspirit recently joined JLR Special Vehicle Operations at the Nurburgring for an exclusive preview of the new Jaguar F-Type Project 7! Unveiled at Goodwood Festival of Speed, the Project 7 is a unique Speedster build in a limited production run of just 250 pieces. The preview took place within the frame of the AvD Oldtimer Grand Prix 2014 further emphasizing its reference to the 1950s Jaguar D-type.
The location for our first impression with the Jaguar F-Type Concept 7 was an airfield 30 km away from the Nurburgring. The ideal place to put the 575 hp strong british supercar through its paces and see how it compares to its legendary paragon, the 60 years old Jaguar D-Type. The driving experiences were followed by various presentations with a huge amount of technical information from the Jaguar F-Type Concept 7 developer as well as an interview with the test driver legend from Jaguar, Norman Dewis. At the age of 94, he managed to infect us with his passion for the Jaguar D-type.
Meeting the 2015 Jaguar F-Type Project 7 and the 1954 Jaguar D-Type
As mentioned in the official invitation, we could meet both cars in a small hangar at a locked airfield half an hour away from the Nurburgring, where an exclusive test event area is located. For our announced test rides, the 187 hectare airfield was converted into a proper circuit for the Jaguar D-Type and the Jaguar F-Type Project 7.
As we arrived in the hangar, current models of the Jaguar F-Type were displayed as well as another Jaguar D-Type while both of the stars were driving around on the airfield so that we could listen their impressive exhaust noises for the first time. After a first quick talk with several Jaguar staff, the Jaguar D-Type advanced towards the hangar.
Ride in the 1954 Jaguar D-Type
After some preparation like putting on a helmet and fireproof clothing, the first challenge was to get on the passenger seat of this 60 years old Jaguar D-Type. The access was a very tricky task because of the lack of doors. Inside the car, the place was very limited and the interior was reduced to a minimum. We couldn’t even found seatbelts and sat on gnarled and cracked leather pads.
An experienced Jaguar test driver gave us some interesting information about the car. This sample of the Jaguar D-Type has been a rather special one. It is the British racing green 1954 Jaguar D-Type chassis number one and the prototype of the car which won Le Mans three times. Back in 1954, the renowned Jaguar test developer engineer Norman Dewis took three seconds off the lap record with the car.
After receiving this information about the history of the car, we drove two fast laps on the circuit at the airfield. The first curves and straights demonstrates in the most impressive way that the car is still on its long Le Mans gearing and has a sharp racing clutch. Towards 3000 rpm, the lovely exhaust noise brought us to a steady smile. The historic smell and touch of the car also played a part in contributing to our permanent smile which has continued up to writing.
Ride in the 2015 Jaguar F-Type Project 7
Back in the hangar we got rid of our helmet and the fireproof clothing. Our shirt was cluttered with stains of insects and dust. Ten minutes after our unforgettable ride in the Jaguar D-Type we still struggled for words to describe this unique experience. At the time when our dumbness was over, we were requested to have a seat in the Jaguar F-Type Project 7.
After much easier access compared to the D-Type, we used a short brake to have a look at the interior of the Project 7. It remains very much unchanged, with the addition of a pair of bespoke carbon racing seats with five-point-harnesses and a plaque complete with Ian Callums signature. When the driver pushed the start button, our smile returned. The installed manually controlled switchable active exhaust system created an impressive and an incomparable orchestra which sounds even deeper more brutal, dramatic and emotional than the sound of the regular F-Type.
The driver tried his best to maintain our smile and he achieved his goal. Thanks to a considerable amount of additional downforce, less weight and much more power compared to the standard Jaguar F-Type, the prototype number one Project 7 flew over the track at record speed. Jaguar Land Rover Special Operations have equipped the F-Type Project 7 with a unique calibration and an incredibly fast 8-speed quickshift transmission which works beautifully.
Closer look and presentation of the 2015 Jaguar F-Type Project 7
After a perceived time of 2 minutes, we finished our quick ride in the hangar where we had enough time to gaze at the exterior of the Jaguar F-Type Project 7. The design was born out of a desire to celebrate both Jaguar’s historic reputation for head-turning design and their eternal philosophy of using the most cutting edge engineering technologies. The F-Type Project 7 captures the legendary looks and extraordinary profile of Jaguar’s Le Mans winning D-Type racing cars nicely.
Along with the large buttress, the Project 7 takes inspiration from the D-Type’s shorter windshield. A very aggressive looking, racing-inspired front bumper with splitter, new side grille mesh, carbon side skirts as well as more carbon fibre elements and a very complex rear diffuser emphasize the racing style. The exclusive classic rear Aero Haunch, delivers authentic aero performance and reminds on the stunning historic racing D-Type style.
After having a closer look at the F-Type Project 7, we had the possibility to listen a short presentation about the performance and the specific feature of the car. As Jaguar’s most powerful production car ever, with all the capabilities of a modern super car, its performance is something the original D-Type engineers could only have dreamt of.
The Jaguar F-Type Project 7 represents the most performance-focused derivative of the acclaimed F-Type range and will be the most performance focused Jaguar on sale. With 575 hp and 680 Nm being produced from its 5.0 litre supercharged V8, the fully road-legal racer will hit 100 km/h in 3.9 seconds and will keep pulling to a top speed of 300 km/h, only stopped by an electronic limiter.
As a result of an all aluminium body and nine additional added carbon fibre elements, the car weighs 80 kilograms less than the standard V8 convertible at 1585 kilograms. Thanks to the mentioned parts which improve the aerodynamic of the car, the Jaguar F-Type Project 7 produces 177 per cent more downforce at vmax than the F-Type convertible. A huge amount of other factors like the unique damper tune and spring rates, bespoke front suspension, revised knuckles and a unique calibration are also responsible for a much better driving performance.
Interview with the living legend Norman Dewis
As a final highlight of a fantastic day, a living Jaguar legend came to the fore. The 94-year-old renowned Jaguar test developer and works team driver Norman Dewis gave an interesting interview in which he talked about his career and his most important factors when creating a new car.
Norman Dewis joined Jaguar in 1952 charged by chief engineer Bill Heynes with developing all competition and road Jaguars. He was a key element in the success of not only the Le Mans winning C- and D-Types, but also a stream of truly remarkable production Jaguars. As one of his first projects, he developed the Jaguar D-Type Le Mans race car of the fifties and got that car up to 192 mph on the Mulsanne straight!
All of this was achieved despite an under-privileged childhood in Britain during the depression and an education cut short at age 14 by the death of his father. Nevertheless, Norman Dewis became one of the world´s most respected test development engineers thanks to a very special talent for assessing the handling, steering and braking qualities of a car, an enormous capacity for hard work, outstanding organisational ability, and a terrier-like tenacity in achieving objectives with Jaguar´s minimal resources.
After he has shared his experiences with us, he distributed his autobiography ‘Norman Dewis of Jaguar – Developing the Legend’ and signed it for especially for us.
Jaguar Village at AvD Oldtimer Grand Prix 2014
On Saturday and Sunday, Jaguar displayed the F-Type Project 7 and the D-Type at their huge area during the 2014 AdV Oldtimer Grand Prix, so that every visitor had the chance to admire both beauties. Jaguar exhibited a great selection of current and classic models like the C-Type, the F-Type Coupé and the Jaguar XFR-S Sportbrake on their area which was located next to the beginning of the start-finish straight.
The F-Type Project 7 was highlighted on a lighted platform and represents the eye catcher. The Jaguar Village was completed by an exclusive catering area from the famous German cook Johan Lafer and his team where visitors could enjoy the finest food and drinks just next to the Nurburgring.
No question: The D-Type is a legend and captures the admiration of everybody who´s familiar with British cars or classic cars in general. Our ride gave us an impressive insight into British racing history. 60 years after the first D-Type was built, Jaguar has presented a potential successor to the legend, the F-Type Project 7. As a result of the foundation of an all new special operations department that will be used for both Jaguar and Land Rover cars, it presents a unique take on a modern day roadster with a wink to the classic D-type. With its aggressive and futuristic looks, brutal and dramatic sound and extreme performance, the road legal supercar represents a worthy successor of the D-Type from 1954.
A special team of JLR Special Vehicle Operations will build all 250 examples of the Jaguar F-Type Project 7 over a six-month period, by hand. 20 of them will be delivered to Germany. The Jaguar Project 7 will be available from Spring 2015 in British racing green metallic, glacier white metallic, ultimate black metallic, ultra blue metallic and caldera red metallic and is expected to sell out very soon!