Hoping to steal the show at this weekend's Goodwood Festival of Speed in England, Jaguar has taken the wraps off of its slick Project 7 Concept. Based on the automaker's new F-Type, the name of this stunning single-seat one-off was chosen to honor the marque's seven overall wins in the 24 hours of Le Mans between 1951 and 1990. Fully functional, the car is slated to make a number of runs up Goodwood's historic hillclimb course during the event with Mike Cross, the automaker's lead development driver, behind the wheel.
Ian Callum, Jaguar's director of design, describes Project 7 as being a true dream project. "It has one purpose: to be driven fast and enjoyed. Jaguar sports cars are known for exceptional performance and clean design. Project 7 captures that spirit in its purest form."
Like the F-Type, the racing-inspired Project 7 Concept is an aluminum-intensive exercise. However, its hand-formed alloy body also features a bounty of custom carbon fiber bits that include a competition-style front splitter and bolder fascia, bespoke side skirts and hood/side louvers, a more aggressive rear diffuser and a fixed rear wing. In addition to completely jettisoning the F-Type's folding top, the Project 7 Concept reinforces its race-ready character with a cut-down windshield, functional roll hoop and an aero fairing behind the driver's head that reprises the look of the one seen on Jag's legendary D-Type that won Le Mans in 1955, 1956 and 1957. Inside, the Project 7 features a business-like but still well-appointed cockpit highlighted by a leather-wrapped carbon composite racing seat, a 4-point competition harness and an integrated helmet holder in place of the passenger perch, all set off with various carbon fiber and aluminum accent elements.
On the functional front, the Jaguar Project 7 Concept boasts a hotter version of the F-Type's 5.0-liter supercharged V8. For this duty, the engine's pony count has been bumped from the standard 495 to a heady 542, torque increased from 460 to 502 lb-ft and its breathing bettered courtesy of a freer-flowing ceramic-finished exhaust system. Shipped to the rear wheels via Jag's 8-speed Quickshift automatic transmission and an electronic active locking differential, that extra might propels this potent design exercise to 60 mph in 4.1 seconds and an electronically limited top speed of 186 mph. The F-Type's suspension underwent a similar kind of comprehensive upgrading for use on Project 7, gaining stiffer springs and shocks while reducing ride height nearly half an inch. The car's 20-inch Blade alloy wheels also feature carbon fiber inserts and are wrapped in high-performance race rubber.
No formal word as to how Jag's Project 7 Concept will impact any future F-Type performance variants. However, the automaker is known to be exploring a number of possibilities, including a high-powered GT variant that's expected to hit the market in about two years.
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