Forgotten French track was nicknamed the "French Nurburgring" when it was open

The Jaguar XE 300 Sport made history in the most unusual of ways by becoming the first car to lap France’s Circuit de Charade in 30 years. The five-mile circuit hasn’t been used since the late 80’s — it hosted the French Grand Prix five times between 1965 and 1988 — but Jaguar was able to work with local authorities and the track’s current owners to re-establish its original layout for the XE 300 Sport’s flying lap. In the end, the XE 300 Sport managed to clock a lap time of four minutes and nine seconds at an average of 72 mph.

There’s something nostalgic about performing a flying lap on a race track that hasn’t been used in three decades. I don’t know if that was Jaguar’s intention when it sought out the owners of the Circuit de Charade in France, but I’m glad that the company did and I’m glad that the owners agreed to only open the circuit but to work with local authorities to link sections of today’s track with modern public roads that were included in the old — and longer — grand prix racing circuit.

When the track’s original layout was finished, Jaguar rolled out the XE 300 Sport with driver Vincent Radermecker behind the wheel of the sports car.

For those who don’t know, Radermecker set the production saloon record at the Nurburgring last year with the Jaguar SV Project 8. Now, he’s piloting the XE 300 Sport at the Circuit de Charade with the goal of becoming the first car to lap the circuit’s old race track in 30 years.

Jaguar XE 300 Sport Becomes First Car To Lap The Circuit de Charade in 30 Years
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"The agility, dynamic handling and all-wheel drive traction of the XE 300 Sport came into its own on this challenging track,” Radermecker said after completing his run around the track. "The longest straight is barely 600 meters [1,968 feet], so I can see why drivers used to call this the French Nürburgring. It’s a privilege to drive this track, and it’s really special to drive here with Jaguar."

With Radermecker’s help, the Jaguar XE 300 Sport completely the lap in just 4:09 at an average of 72 mph.

There’s a good chance that the XE 300 Sport’s lap time will be broken by a more powerful performance car — the Jag “only” has 296 horsepower at its disposal — but the lap time itself isn’t the biggest storyline of this event.

Jaguar XE 300 Sport Becomes First Car To Lap The Circuit de Charade in 30 Years
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It’s the car and the race track, an unlikely combination that nobody thought would meet, in this lifetime, at least. And yet, it happened. The Jaguar XE 300 Sport conquered the Circuit de Charade in France. In doing so, it showcased its abilities as a multi-purpose performance saloon that can throw down with the best cars in its segment.

Further reading

2017 Jaguar XE High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2018 Jaguar XE.

2018 Jaguar XE SV Project 8 Exterior High Resolution
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Read our full review on the 2018 Jaguar XE SV Project 8.

Source: Jaguar

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