Like McLaren with its MSO 650S, Jaguar has used this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed to debut a vehicle making the jump from concept to limited production run. For Jaguar it's the F-Type Project 7, a fully road-legal two-seater roadster described as the "most performance-focused derivative of the acclaimed F-Type range," and the fastest and most powerful production Jaguar ever built.
When the Jaguar F-Type Project 7 concept was unveiled at Goodwood last year, it caused a bit of a stir with its ‘50s-style fairing behind the driver’s head and lines intended to evoke the Jaguar D-Type racers that walked away with seven Le Mans victories since their launch in 1954. In the 60th anniversary year of the D-Type, Jaguar is taking the Project 7 out of the concept stage and onto the roads.
As far as styling is concerned, the production version of the rear-wheel drive Project 7 is a neat transition from the concept, smoothing out some of the rough edges that were probably the result of its going from first spare-time sketch to 2013 Goodwood debut in only a few months.
The Project 7 has a refreshing air of understatement about it with a compact, minimalist design that conveys power without bulk. The lines are a neat compromise between the aesthetic and the aerodynamic, and though the Project 7 is boxier than the undulating D-Type body, it still manages to echo its inspiration.
With a 103.3 in (2,622 mm) wheelbase and weighing in at 3,495 lb (1,585 kg), the Project 7 is 176 lb (80 kg) lighter than the F-Type V8 S Convertible. The most obvious difference is in the number of passengers. Where the concept was a one-seater with only a helmet rest on the other side, the Project 7 production version not only keeps the driver’s side fairing, but also has rollover hoops for both the driver and the new passenger seat.
Keeping with the track feel, the windscreen is shorter, and there’s an emphasis on aerodynamics to maximize downforce, with a carbon composite front splitter, side skirts, a rear diffuser, and an adjustable rear spoiler. According to Jaguar, the Project 7 produces 177 percent more downforce than the F-Type Convertible.
The grille is nicely balanced and the air scoops either side to cool the brakes have a welcome feel of something fitted to a car rather than a fighter plane. In addition, Jaguar says the rear deck, bonnet vents, side vent louvers and mirror cap are all carbon composite. The Project 7 will be available in Ultra Blue, Caldera Red, British Racing Green, Ultimate Black, and Glacier White – all with go-faster decal options, if you feel the need to advertise the car’s performance credentials.
Under the bonnet is a 5-liter supercharged V8 petrol engine punching 575 bhp (423 kW), (25 bhp (18 kW) more than the F-Type R Coupé) and 502 lb ft (680 Nm) of torque. It feeds into the 8-speed Quickshift flappy paddle gearbox with its second generation Electronic Active Differential (EAD).
When let loose, the Project 7 can clock 0 to 60 mph in 3.8 sec (0 to 100 km/h in 3.9 sec), and has an electronically limited top speed of 186 mph (300 km/h). There’s also a switchable Active Sports Exhaust system with quad, matt-black ceramic-coated, outboard-mounted tailpipes designed to reduce back pressure and give the Project 7 a suitably throaty roar on demand.
The vehicle is fitted with bespoke front suspension knuckles with increased negative camber, and new anti-roll bars front and rear. In addition, the specially designed front and rear spring and damper units are height adjustable. Roll and pitch rates are actively controlled by the Adaptive Dynamics system, which adjusts the damper rates 500 times per second. Traction control is configurable through the car’s 8-in touchscreen.
The 20-in Storm alloy wheels of the Project 7 are brought to a halt by its 398 mm front and 380 mm rear Carbon Ceramic Matrix (CCM) brakes with six- and four-piston monobloc calipers. Jaguar says that these use a pre-fill system for fade-free braking. Handling is improved by Jaguar’s Torque Vectoring by Braking system, which applies precisely calculated brake force to each wheel while going around corners. The Electronic Active Differential can go to full locking torque in 200 milliseconds, and there’s a Dynamic Stability Control system for optimal traction and steering.
The interior of the Project 7 (what there is of it) is dominated by the racing-style seats and the carbon-fiber veneer. There’s also an Alcantara steering wheel, machined aluminum flappy paddles, and bespoke treadplates with the Project 7 logo.
"F-Type Project 7 is the perfect example of how, as a design team, we can move quickly with our engineering colleagues to go from concept vehicle to production reality – we've pushed the boundaries of what's possible without losing any purity of form," says Ian Callum, Director of Design at Jaguar. "Modern, purposeful and with a stance that screams intent, F-Type Project 7 is the perfect contemporary embodiment of the D-type that inspired it."
The Jaguar F-Type Project 7 will be hand-built at Jaguar’s Technical Centre in the West Midlands in a limited run of up to 250 cars, with each unit given an individual number plaque signed by Callum. The first deliveries are expected in mid-2015 with a price tag of £135,000 (US$ 230,000).
The video below introduces the Jaguar F-Type Project 7.