Jaguar adds speed to Goodwood with Project 7 concept car
By C.C. Weiss
July 11, 2013
Based on the all-new 2014 F-Type convertible, the Jaguar Project 7 concept car makes its world debut at the 2013 Goodwood Festival of Speed. The new race-inspired single-seat concept adds some extra power and speed to the F-Type's sexy curves and hopes to recreate some of the excitement of the seven Le Mans wins that it's named after.
Developed from sketch to working concept in just four months, the Project 7 gets its name from Jaguar's seven Le Mans wins between 1951 and 1999. Its blue paintwork draws inspiration from the victorious D-Type cars of 1956/1957.
Of course, a blue, striped paint job atop an aluminum body and a single-seat racing cockpit are nothing but eye candy without the right power plant. In the case of the Project 7, that equals a 550-hp supercharged 5.0-liter V8 powering the rear wheels with the help of an eight-speed ZF transmission with "Quickshift" technology and an active electronically-controlled limited slip differential. The car spits out exhaust through a free-flow exhaust system with a ceramic finish.
Other changes from the production F-Type include a lowered windscreen, D-Type-style rear fairings with rollover hoop, revised front end, a 10-mm lowered ride height, bespoke carbon fiber aerodynamic components and a custom-calibrated spring/damper tune. The convertible system has been pulled out for this track application, and the Project 7 rolls on 20-inch wheels with carbon fiber inserts.
With its more powerful engine and redesigned body, the Project 7 scoots to 60 mph (96.5 km/h) in 4.1 seconds, a tick quicker than the F-Type V8 S. It has the same 186-mph (300 km/h) top speed.
"When I saw this sketch of a low-screen, single-seat F-Type, I felt enthused by it and wanted to take it further," explains Jaguar's design director Ian Cullum. "As designers, our very purpose is to disrupt - to turn the norm on its head and see if it still works - and here at Jaguar, we love to push the boundaries. As a team our challenge was to take this gem of an idea, work within the limitations of production feasibility, and create something worthwhile. So I encouraged Cesar [Pieri] and Alister Whelan, Chief Designer, Jaguar, to take it to the next stage and develop a workable concept, and with the support of key departments across the business, Project 7 was born."
The production F-Type creates a driver-centric interior atmosphere in part by separating the driver and passenger sections with a strategically placed grab handle. The Project 7 gets rid of the passenger area completely and replaces it with a holder designed to secure the matching Project 7 helmet. The single right-side composite bucket seat is 1.2 in (3 cm) lower than the seat in the stock F-Type and uses a four-point harness to secure its driver. Quilted door and seat patterning, carbon fiber accents, and machined aluminum paddles on the steering wheel polish off the race-focused interior.
Jaguar's chief engineer of vehicle integrity Mike Cross will drive the Project 7 at Goodwood, which gets underway this Friday.