Jaguar Considers Lighter Version of the F-Type
When Jaguar introduced the F-Type Project 7 at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, we honestly thought the British sports car had reached its peak as far as awesomeness goes. Well, apparently Jaguar is planning to take F-Type up another notch with an even lighter iteration crafted by its newly formed Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) division.
Is that even possible given the Project 7 is 176 pounds lighter than the base F-Type Roadster it is based on? According to SVO director Paul Newson, the answer is yes, and the secret to more lightness lies in the stillborn C-X75 supercar. Specifically, Jaguar is pondering the possibility of cutting more weight by replacing the supercharged, 5.0-liter V-8 engine fitted in the Project 7 with the tiny, 1.6-liter powerplant showcased in the C-X75 concept car.
"The Project 7 is 80kg lighter, but there are smaller engines that start from a lower point," Newson told Auto Express. "We designed that engine for a £1million supercar, so it’s extremely expensive. But it could work well," he added.
Click past the jump to read more about the Jaguar F-Type.
Details are obviously scarce right now, but switching the 5.0-liter V-8 with the supercharged 1.6-liter unit could bring many advantages to the F-Type. The small engine, which is designed in conjunction with the Williams F1 team, will not only weigh less than the company’s proven V-8, but its compact size will allow it to be mounted lower in the car. This will result in better weight distribution, better handling and open even more opportunities toward weight reduction.
Carbon fiber could play another key role in developing a lighter F-Type, as Jaguar has yet to explore the full potential of its weight-reducing techniques on the brand-new sports car. For instance, a carbon-fiber hood and an interior stripped of some its glamorous features would make a lot of sense. Of course, these add-ons will increase development costs and, ultimately, the pricing this new F-Type will fetch in showrooms, but Jaguar isn’t aiming for volume, but a limited-edition sports car for track-day enthusiasts with fat wallets.
If overall weight goes down from the Project 7’s 3,494 pounds to say 3,100, the F-Type’s power-to-weight ratio will increase dramatically given the 500 horsepower generated by the 1.6-liter engine. And this might be only the tip of the iceberg, as the supercharged unit could crank out more than that once the folks over at SVO are done with it. Here’s to hoping!
Why It Matters
The F-Type is already out to revamp Jaguar’s image as an authentic sports car manufacturer, a status the Brits have been struggling to regain for decades. A lighter F-Type requires a lot of out-of-the-box thinking and some new technologies on hand. With the unexplored potential of the C-X75 project and the masterminds at Special Vehicle Operations put to good use, Jag might just come up with yet another benchmark for the F-Type and give us petrol-heads yet another reason to celebrate. What’s more, a successful downsizing for the F-Type will most certainly open new opportunities for Jaguar, who is looking to improve the performance of its cars while reducing carbon footprint.
Introduced as a concept car at the 2013 Goodwood Festival of Speed, the Jaguar F-Type Project 7 came to fruition a year later, during the same event. Built as a tribute to the legendary Jaguar D-Type that won the 24 Hours of Le Mans race three times in the 1950s and to showcase the company’s brand-new Special Vehicle Operations division, the Project 7 is the ultimate embodiment of the F-Type.
176 pounds lighter than the F-Type Roadster it is based on and more powerful than any other Jaguar at 567 horsepower, the Project 7 is a track-ready machine that benefits from a unique exterior and an aerodynamically enhanced body kit. The Project 7 generates 177 percent more downforce than the F-Type Convertible at 186 mph and features an updated suspension and re-tuned chassis for improved handling and stability.
Jaguar is building only 250 examples of this fine sports car, meaning it could become a rare item in its own right sometime in the future. An XK SS of the 21st century if you will.