If there’s one thing everyone can agree on about the Jaguar XE SV Project 8, it’s that it’s blindingly quick. The hardcore track-focused sedan has set race circuits alive with its performance – including Nürburgring’s famed Nordschleife, where it currently holds the lap record for production four-door vehicles, with a time of seven minutes 21.23 seconds.
With production due to end this year, that should be the end of that, right? Not quite, because the Coventry brigade headed back to the Green Hell earlier this month to beat its own record, as a swansong for the car. And as you’d expect, it’s only gone and bloody done it – with the returning Vincent Radermecker behind the wheel, the Project 8 crossed the line 2.9 seconds quicker than before, at seven minutes 18.361 seconds.
That’s not all, as the Project 8 was also the first car to set the lap record for Nürburgring’s new mid-range production car class, using the time for the entire lap (instead of from the start line to the beginning of the start/finish straight, previously the industry standard). That time, in case you were wondering, was seven minutes 23.164 seconds.
It’s all down to the new, ultra-sticky Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 R tyres, which Jaguar says uses rubber compounds derived directly from the French tyre maker’s competition tyres. The unit tested was in two-seater Track Pack specification (yes, the irony of a four-door sedan having two seats is painfully obvious), with the height-adjustable suspension at its “track” setting and the front splitter and carbon fibre rear wing adjusted for maximum downforce and stability.
Just in case you need a refresher, the Project 8 is powered by a highly-tuned version of Jaguar’s venerable 5.0 litre supercharged V8, pushing out a stonking 600 PS. It’s routed through an eight-speed automatic transmission to an all-wheel drive system, allowing the Project 8 to blow past the 100 km/h mark in a scarcely believable 3.3 seconds, and onwards to a top speed of 322 km/h.