Jaguar XE SV Project 8: The Secret Behind Its 200 MPH Top Speed

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The Jaguar XE SV Project 8 has a dirty little secret about its top speed.

Jaguar has managed to build a legitimate 200 mile per hour super sedan with the Project 8. They managed the feat through a combination of raw power and extreme attention to detail. Specifically, they focused on the aerodynamic elements of the car to ensure that is was as slippery as possible at speed. So comprehensive are the changes to this car that most people simply wouldn’t believe the lengths to which Jaguar’s SVO team has gone.

The video above is a great walk around and overview of what Project 8 is all about. That the Lead Engineer for Project 8 could be on hand to talk about the car was very fortuitous. After the cameras turned off we got to chatting with the gents from SVO, and we learned some very interesting facts. The most interesting, however, came forth when I asked about the wheels on the Project 8.

About those wheels, they are custom-made by O.Z. Racing to Jag’s specification. They are the same diameter, width and offset as the final product, but not what the production car will be rolling on. That in itself is a curious factoid about this nearly-production ready car. SVO said cars will begin delivery in about 8 months from now, so why haven’t the production-ready wheels made an appearance yet?

Well, there is a bit of an asterisk about the Project 8 and its rollers.

When buyers are ticking options boxes for their built-to-specification, 1-of-300 Jaguar XE SV Project 8 they will notice two wheel options. Dave Foster, SVO Advanced Product Creation Manager (aka Lead Engineer for Project 8) mentioned that there will be both a track wheel and an aero wheel option. Buyers can choose which wheel set their car ships out with, or they can order both, at their discretion.

The track wheels will put an emphasis on superior brake cooling and reduced weight. Lighter wheels means less rotating mass, which means the car doesn’t have to work as hard to spin those wheels, or slow them down. Additionally, lighter wheels improve steering feel and very generally the communicativeness of the car to the driver.

On the flip side, the aero wheels will be designed more like the wheels of a land speed record car, with more of the face covered. Land speed cars trade brake cooling and lightweight for superior aerodynamics at high speed.

The asterisk of the Project 8 and its 200 mile per hour top speed is that the achievement can only be accomplished with the aero wheel option. Of course, Mr. Foster assured us that the Project 8 was plenty fast, even without aero wheels. He wouldn’t drop a specific figure, but he did smile when we asked “More than 190?”

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