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Jaguar XE SV Project 8 breaks Nurburgring record

Adam Towler
29 Nov 2017

Jaguar XE SV Project 8 becomes the fastest saloon car to lap the Nurburgring. Watch the video.

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Jaguar’s near production-ready XE SV Project 8 has smashed the saloon car lap record on the Nurburgring Nordschleife. A 7min 21.2sec lap time makes it around 11 seconds faster than the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio, which until now held the mantle of ‘fastest four-door’.

Choosing its words carefully, Jaguar describes the feat as the ‘fastest ever time by a four door sedan in production-intent specification’. The semantics of that phrase arouse a certain amount of curiosity, and illustrate just how complicated - and contentious - the business of setting lap times at the ‘Ring has become. Manufacturers continue to see such feats as marketing gold, just as we continue to question the relevance of chasing such numbers.

> Click here for our Jaguar XE review

The lap in question was driven by racing driver Vincent Radermecker, perhaps best known in the UK for partnering Rickard Rydell in Volvo’s works team for the 1999 BTCC season. His time puts the Project 8 ahead of some seriously potent machinery: the Porsche 911 997 GT2 RS, Lamborghini Aventador and Pagani Zonda F Clubsport have all set slower ‘best’ laps, albeit in magazine-organised tests. 

Given the Project 8 is set to cost from £149,995, you’d expect it to be significantly quicker around the lap than the Alfa. Nevertheless, its technical specification does sound formidable, with the supercharged V8 cranked up to 592bhp along with adjustable suspension and aerodynamics. In addition, a ‘Track Mode’ automatically lowers the ride height by 15mm and adjusts the carbonfibre front and rear wings to their maximum downforce position. The associated figure is said to be 122kg at the car’s top speed of 200mph, some 25 per cent more than its nearest competitor - whatever Jaguar deems that to be. Carbon ceramic brakes and Michelin’s famed Cup 2 tyre are also part of the package.

Although the Project 8 is available as a four-seater, an optional Track Pack replaces that interior with a pair of carbonfibre racing seats, four-point harnesses and harness bar where the rear bench would have been. The XE’s mechanical hardware is claimed to be 75 per cent new, while only the roof and front door skins are shared with the standard saloon. 

Production of the 300-plus examples Jaguar’s SVO department is planning to build begins early next year. For now, a new ‘Ring record is another box ticked on the path towards that official unveil.

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