Jaguar XE SV Project 8 Sets Record Time 7:21.23 Around the Nurburgring
Jaguar is serious about its race-ready XE SV Project 8, the track day hero car.
As soon as we saw it in person, we knew that the Jaguar XE SV Project 8 was a step above the competition. Being a 1-of-300 limited edition super saloon, it was much more focused than the competition. That razor-sharp focus, of course, was to destroy the competition on race circuits around the globe. And now, this $187,500 hyper sedan has done just that, at the international benchmark of speed and performance, no less. Yes, Jaguar has taken the fight to the Nurburgring, and put all of the competition on notice.
With a lap time of 7 minutes and 21 seconds, the Project 8 rolls with the hardcore crowd. Despite being a four-door sedan, that time is shared with the Ferrari 488 GTB and Dodge Viper ACR. Though, to be pedantic, the Jag has a four-tenths advantage over prancing horse.
Those are some pretty intense stablemates, so what about the direct competition?
Well, being a track day variant of the regular Jaguar XE sedan, the Project 8 competes with other sports sedans-turned-racers. However, at present, the Jag is in a league of it’s own, in price and performance. The Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Black Series is no more (it did a 7:45 lap), and the current AMG C63 S is a luxo-barge compared the XE. It’s 7:43 ‘Ring time is very impressive, but the race-ready Jag and valet-ready Benz aren’t fighting the same fight. The Alfa Romeo Guilia Quadrifoglio is another impressive machine, but, again, less pure in it’s mission of performance. It ran a 7:32 lap. That brings us to the BMW M4 GTS, the car most closely tied-in to what the XE SV Project 8 brings to the table. It has big power, less weight, better tires, and aerodynamic tweaks, like the Jag. It’s 7:27.88 is the closest to the XE in terms of raw numbers, but still falls short.
How did Jaguar beat everyone around the ‘Ring?
First off, here are some stats, to appreciate the stats. The XE SV Project 8 uses a 592-horsepower variant of the brand’s 5.0L supercharged V8. It sounds brutal. That monster engine, combined with less weight courtesy of carbon fiber body panels, means that the 0-60 sprint happens in just 3.3 seconds. Oh, and we can’t forget the monster rubber underneath the widened body panels. The Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires measure 265/35R20 in front and a massive 305/30R20 out back. Then there’s the aerodynamics, as almost every panel has been modified from the standard XE. Check out the front fascia full of speed holes. Then there’s a full flat-belly aero package, starting with a splitter, flat floor with side strakes, and a rear diffuser. Naturally, a big rear wing is present, as well.
Let’s review the lap.
The aerodynamics really come alive during the lap. For a car with 592 horsepower, the Project 8 is utterly composed during the majority of the lap. It almost looks too easy. There is a slight bit of mid-corner understeer, then it’s drama-free exiting the corner. For example, the infamous carousel corner comes along at the 4:18 mark, other than a bit of wheelspin on corner exit coming out of it, the car is hooked up. The big bumps, dips and berms showcase a suspension that is firm enough to offer adjustability, but compliant enough to ride out those bumps, without wheelspin.
Of course, at very end of the lap, down the Döttinger Höhe straight, we see the one downside to the big aero. Top speed suffers a blow when you start chasing downforce at the expense of drag. The Project 8 tips 181 mph but the climb from 150 upwards was clearly slowed by the aero. Jaguar claims a top speed in excess of 200 mph with the Project 8, and we don’t doubt it, but it likely would take a while. Of course, top speed is largely irrelevant around the circuit, where average speeds for a Nurburgring lap hover around 100 mph. So, the aero pays off just about everywhere else.
Naturally, there is more than meets the eye.
Want to know more about the Jaguar XE SV Project 8? Check out our up-close examination of the car, and interview with Jaguar SVO. Want more pretty pictures? Well, we’ve got those, too. Want to sound off on the Project 8, or listen to members who are buying one? Check out these JaguarForums links, here and here.