Jaguar Project 7 Concept Blends an F-Type with a Le Mans Legend [w/ Video]
Numerous automakers have basked in the glory of victory over the years at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, but only a few nameplates have been able to truly dominate the event. Porsche, Ferrari, Ford and certainly the event’s current juggernaut, Audi, have all enjoyed periods of apparent invulnerability. But in the 1950s, if you wanted a good chance of winning at La Sarthe, you wanted to be driving a Jaguar.
The F-Type-based concept car you see here celebrates that glorious era for the Cats from Coventry in multiple ways. For one, there’s its name: Project 7, with seven being the number of overall victories Jaguar has at Le Mans (1951, ’53, ’55, ’56, ’57, ’88 and ’90). For another, there’s the styling, which will make whoever is driving it want to wear an open face helmet and goggles and go around introducing himself as “Flockhart. Ron Flockhart.”
The standard F-Type front fascia is replaced with one that has larger openings and a more pronounced splitter. The windshield has been shortened. There’s a fixed rear spoiler atop the trunk. And that trunk lid and the tonneau cover where the fabric convertible top usually lives feature a fairing that flows upward toward the back of the driver’s head, a la the classic C-Type and D-Type racers that scored Jaguar’s 1950s Le Mans wins. As for the blue paint with transverse white stripe on the nose, that’s another callback to the D-Type, specifically the 1956 and ’57 “customer cars” entered by the Scottish team Ecurie Ecosse (literally “Team Scotland” in French). However, there’s nothing retro about the 20” forged alloy wheels with carbon fiber trim.
The interior is likewise a mix of old and new. The righthand-drive F-Type dash is basically stock, but the driver’s seat has been replaced by a composite racing shell that sits 1.2” lower than the stock power-adjustable bucket. And the passenger seat has been ditched entirely, replaced by a pedestal (complete with a tie-down strap) for the custom full-faced helmet that’s been painted to match the car’s exterior. Large swaths of diamond-quilted black leather on the seat, rear bulkhead and door panels, carbon fiber trim on the dashboard and console, and machined aluminum shift paddles round out the interior mods.
And in case all this wasn’t enough, Project 7 features some mods under the hood, too. Specifically, the supercharged 5.0L V8 is in the same state of tune as the one powering the XKR-S, XFR-S and upcoming XJR, meaning it’s producing 550 horsepower instead of the production F-Type V8 S’s 495hp. The 8-speed automatic transmission and electronically-controlled limited slip differential, however, are carried over from the production F V8.
Unsurprisingly, there are no plans for production. However, the lone prototype is fully functional, and will be taking advantage of that fact at this weekend’s Goodwood Festival of Speed. Can’t make it to Lord March’s front yard but still want proof that Project 7 can move under its own power? You’re in luck: Jaguar has released the following video that shows the car undergoing shakedown testing on the historic Shelsley Walsh hill climb course.[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sGBMSLvggqA[/youtube]