Carfection Raves About Road Race-ready Jaguar XE SV Project 8

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Few cars are better suited to driving the historic, weathered roads of the Targa Florio.

Youtube channel Carfection has built a reputation for offering thoughtful, beautifully-shot video productions that revolve around some very special, lust-worthy cars. Carfection‘s latest video, which features the stunning Jaguar XE SV Project 8, is no exception.

Host Henry Catchpole is in the Sicilian countryside and begins with a proclamation: “For me, the greatest motorsport events are road races. They are just so exciting and evocative…in the past, there have been some fantastic ones, and arguably none more so than the Targa Florio.

Carfection Drives the Targa Florio with the Jaguar XE SV Project 8

Originally founded in 1906, the Targa Florio was an open-road endurance race that wrapped around Sicily’s stunning mountainside. However, the race was ultimately cancelled in 1977, due to rising safety concerns, and amidst a series of terrible accidents and fatalities. A modern tribute rally has since picked up and is run in honor of the historic event.

So, in order to recreate his own road race, Catchpole needs a real road racer, like the Jaguar XE SV Project 8. This highly-modified, 1-of-300 limited edition racer for the road represents one of the most intensive builds ever taken on by Jaguar, and Catchpole is fully aware of this.

Carfection Drives the Targa Florio with the Jaguar XE SV Project 8

He states that, for example, the Project 8 features suspension that is “450% stiffer” than the standard XE sedan, but still praises the ride quality. “When you do hit the bumps, it copes really, really well. The [shock] damping is superb.”

Of course, the Project 8 is more than just a bodykit and some stiff suspension. The chassis is heavily modified from the standard XE to make the super-sedan capable of feats like hitting 200 mph. To that end, Catchpole praises the communicative steering and chassis setup. He also tackles the all-wheel drive system, proclaiming that the decision to go AWD over RWD, like previous special edition Jags, pays dividends in the real world. He states that the AWD system features a variable split, with up to 30% of the power able to be sent to the front wheels, and, as a result, still felts very rear-wheel-drive in the way it maneuvers. “It’s still playful, but it means you can use the numbers you’ve got,” says Catchpole.

And the Project 8 certainly has some numbers to play with. That 5.0-liter supercharged V8, cribbed JLR parts bin, has had the wick turned up. In this guise, it produces 592 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque. According to Catchpole, that AWD traction and monster motor means that the XE SV Project 8 does the 0-60 sprint in just 3.3-seconds.

ALSO SEE: Jaguar XE SV Project 8 Up Close, and Our Interview with Jaguar SVO

However, it’s not praise and positivity here. While Catchpole loves the sound and performance of that 5.0-liter V8, he derides it for not being bespoke or as truly racey as the engines found in the BMW M4 GTS or Porsche 911 GT3 RS, for example. Nor is the 8-speed automatic near as sharp as the transmissions used in those vehicles.

Ultimately, Catchpole loves what the Project 8 represents. He loves the squeaks and rattles from the roll cage, harnesses, and fixed-back racing seats. The host also loves the car’s outright pace and agility in that, despite weighing almost 3,800 lbs., it’s light on its feet. He proclaims, “It’s a bit like a rhino suddenly being imbued with the agility of a lizard.” Irrespective of the analogies, it seems that Project 8 truly is a real-deal road racer, Targa Florio-approved and all.

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Jake Stumph is the Content Editor who runs Jaguar Forums, and several other Internet Brands Automotive websites. He enjoys track days, drifting, and autocross, at least, when his cars are running right.

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