The Goodwood Festival of Speed has established itself as one of the prime events for manufacturers to show off their prototypes and concept cars. Jaguar’s Project 7 continues the trend, making its dynamic debut at the Festival, which celebrates its 20th Anniversary on 12 July.
The Project 7 is based on the F-Type, but is more focused as a driver’s car, featuring a raft of visual changes to emphasise the car’s link with its maker’s competition history, and is so-called because Jaguar won Le Mans seven times. The rumour mill in the run-up to the Festival of Speed had gone into overdrive, speculating that the coupe version of the F-Type would make its debut, but a fascinating performance concept will roar up the hill instead.
It’s a handsome car – the main changes over the F-Type are its Porsche 911 Speedster-style fairing behind the driver’s head and a number of bespoke carbonfibre components – a new front splitter, side skirts and rear diffuser; lowered windscreen and restyled front bumper. Inside, it’s distinguished by a composite single-seat and racing harness.
Project 7 went from being an experimental sketch by Jaguar Designer Cesar Pieri to the track in just four months. Ian Callum, Jaguar’s Director of Design, said: ‘When I saw this sketch of a low-screen, single-seat F-Type, I felt enthused by it and wanted to take it further. So I encouraged Cesar 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.’
Powering it is a tweaked version of Jaguar’s vocal 5.0-litre supercharged V8 engine in 545bhp form. That should give the Project 7 a useful boost over the V8 S it’s based upon. One thing we do know is that it’s going to sound good – Project 7 features a free-flow exhaust system with a ceramic finish. We’ll have to wait and see how well it drives, but JLR’s feted chassis guru Mike Cross is confident: ‘It’s visceral in every sense – its response, its sound and its sheer performance. I’m very much looking forward to driving it at Goodwood.‘