The Jaguar XE has followed the SV Project 8 performance saloon onto the track by setting a unique lap record, this time around a long-forgotten Grand Prix circuit in France.
Circuit de Charade is a motorsport race track in Saint-Genès-Champanelle near Clermont-Ferrand, France. The original 8km (5mile), 48 turn long circuit, built around the base of an extinct volcano, featured relentless sharp curves and elevation changes with almost no discernible straights and hosted the French Grand Prix in 1965, 1969, 1970 and 1972. The new 3.9km (2.4-mile) circuit opened in 1989. Currently, the venue holds events such as track days, driving courses and historic motorsport events.
The 8km Circuit de Charade in Clermont Ferrand, which included public road sections, hosted the French Grand Prix in 1965, 1969, 1970 and 1972. It fell out of favour as loose volcanic rock and the lack of any real run-off areas took their toll on cars and drivers alike. The full, longer circuit was last used in 1988 so Jaguar returned to the historic track to mark the anniversary of its closure by completing the first flying lap of the circuit in three decades.
After completing the fastest ever lap of the Nürburgring Nordschleife in a production saloon behind the wheel of the XE’s track-ready stablemate, the SV Project 8, driver Vincent Radermecker attempted to set a production saloon lap record in the XE 300 SPORT. With a roundabout and two narrow gateways not used in the original circuit to contend with, Vincent lapped the demanding track in just 4 minutes 09 seconds at an average speed of 116km/h.
Vincent Radermecker said: “I set the production saloon record at the Nürburgring in the XE SV Project 8 last year and this lap was every bit as demanding. The agility, dynamic handling of the XE 300 SPORT came into its own on this challenging track. The longest straight is barely 600 metres, so I can see why drivers used to call this the French Nürburgring. It’s a privilege to drive this track and it’s really special to drive here with Jaguar.”
The XE 300 SPORT is powered by a 221kW (300PS) 2.0-litre Ingenium petrol engine and is capable of 0-100km/h in 5.7 seconds. With 400Nm of torque, Vincent was able to make full use of the XE’s exceptional handling capabilities to exploit the smallest of opportunities throughout the twisty, undulating track, which snakes around the extinct volcano that sits in the centre of the original layout.
Mike Cross, Jaguar Land Rover Chief Engineer, said: “The XE features a lightweight, stiff Aluminium-intensive Architecture and sophisticated integral-link rear suspension, making it the best driver’s car in its class. Following the XE SV Project 8’s record-setting lap at the Nürbugring, for the 300 SPORT to set a record on this fast, flowing and demanding circuit demonstrates that these are two cars with one DNA.”
With its dynamic design and aluminium-intensive body construction, the XE provides the perfect basis for the enhanced performance of the SV Project 8. Taking the already agile and responsive handling of the standard car, the SV Project 8 takes things to the next level with a range of engineering enhancements.
Available exclusively with the 221kW (300PS) 2.0-litre petrol engine, all 300 SPORT models feature unique Dark Satin Grey details including the door mirror caps, rear spoiler and grille surround, along with 300 SPORT badging on the front grille and boot lid.
Distinctive 19-inch or 20-inch Satin Technical Grey finish wheels are exclusive to the special edition along with 300 SPORT-branded brake callipers. Customers can choose from four exterior colours: Yulong White, Indus Silver, Santorini Black and Caldera Red.
The Jaguar XE range starts from $62, 770 + ORCs in Australia, and models are available with a range of clean and efficient diesel and petrol engines.