JAGUAR’S GROWLING PRIDE
On the 28th of February 2015, the Jaguar F‑TYPE R Coupé showed that it’s officially the fastest production vehicle in South Africa. A handful of Jaguar employees had the privilege of watching the 405kW supercharged V8 coupé being driven into the record books at the Upington Airport. Not to be outdone by their villainous cousin, Jaguar Land Rover South Africa also used this opportunity to write class records with the XF 2.2D, XJ 3.0D and F‑TYPE S Convertible.
“Not only do we say that racing is in our blood – we go out there and prove it,” said Richard Gouverneur, Managing Director of Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) South Africa and sub-Sahara Africa. “Aside from being inspired by our history of racing and land speed records, we also wanted to show off the innovation, performance and safety of our vehicles. A car that’s capable of reaching 300km/h safely is many times safer at legal and safe speeds.”
At the hands of Dawie Olivier, National Aftersales Manager at JLR – and racer with more than two decades of rallying and circuit racing experience – the F‑TYPE R Coupé reached speeds in excess of 300km/h on the 4 900 metre runway at Upington Airport.
For the record to be official, two runs have to be completed in both directions while timekeeping officials from Motorsport South Africa measure speed over a one kilometre distance. The land speed record comprises the average of the two runs, and now sits at 294.68km/h – besting the previous record of 287.63km/h set in 2002, with Mike Griffiths behind the wheel of a Porsche 911 GT2.
“The F‑TYPE R Coupé is limited to 300km/h, but we chose not to remove the speed limiter, even though the regulations make provision for us to legally do so. The car that we used is exactly as customers can buy it off the showroom floor,” said Gouverneur. “Ultimately, we ran out of space to go even faster – however this was the safest venue to illustrate the potential of this vehicle.”
The rest of the prowl of Jaguars followed in the track of the impressive F‑TYPE to prove that racing runs in the family. The XF 2.2D, Jaguar XJ and Jaguar F‑TYPE S Convertible all steamed down the runway at top speeds to write new records for each of their respective classes.
The technical team is also proud of its own, internal project: a 2003 Jaguar XJR that’s been stripped out and race prepped, and aptly named “The Beast”. To top off a weekend of successful running at the Upington runway, The Beast set its own class record for modified vehicles with supercharged engines between 3 and 5 litres in capacity.
“We are proud that we’ve been able to put the F-TYPE R’s stablemates on the board, to write records in their respective classes – and fly the Jaguar flag with even more pride,” said Lisa Mallett, Marketing Director at JLR. “After all, racing is in Jaguar’s blood, and we cannot think of a better way to prove that statement.”