Jaguar announced today it has established a new track record for the fastest four-door production sedan at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca with its Jaguar XE SV Project 8. Professional racing driver and Motor Trend contributor, Randy Pobst piloted the 592hp sedan around the 2.238 mi. road course in 1min 37.54sec, besting the previous record held by the 2016 Cadillac CTS-V by almost a second.
Today’s announcement follows on from news last month in which Pobst set another benchmark time — this one for EVs — at the same circuit, in the new Jaguar I-PACE performance SUV; lapping the 11-turn track in 1min 48.18sec in a completely unmodified car.
From design concept to production, the XE SV Project 8 has always been envisioned as a canvas for which the team of designers and engineers at Special Vehicle Operations could push the boundaries of what is possible. In pursuit of creating a four-door car with genuine supercar performance engineers fine-tuned the car on some of the most thrilling test tracks around the world, including Germany’s famed Nürburgring Nordschleife. Late last year Jaguar announced a production-intent prototype of its XE SV Project 8 circled the 12.9mi. circuit in a record 7min 21.23sec.
Extensive changes to the XE have been made to create the brand’s most track-focused, road-legal, sedan; outside, only the roof panel and aluminum front doors remain unmodified.
Each of the 300 hand-built examples start life as a standard XE body-in-white arriving at the Special Vehicle Operations Technical Center in Coventry. Upon arrival the front firewall and rear subframe are modified to accommodate the specially tuned, supercharged, 5.0-liter V8 up front and a bespoke rear differential oil cooler — developed with learnings from the F-TYPE SVR — out back.
Unlike most high performance production sedans the all-wheel-drive XE SV Project 8 is studded with genuine motor racing technology, including F1-style ceramic wheel bearings, adjustable ride height and adjustable camber.
The front and rear fenders are bespoke to accommodate larger, wider, wheels which are necessitated by the larger brakes. The V8’s 592hp and 516lb.-ft. of torque are routed through all four Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires via an 8-speed Quickshift automatic ZF® transmission, helping to propel the car from 0-60 mph in 3.4 secs. as the vehicle accelerates to an electronically limited 200 mph top speed1.
The front uprights, two-part upper wishbones, ball joints in place of rubber bushings, twin coil springs, dampers, lower suspension bushings, anti-roll bars and latest specification carbon ceramic brakes are all new and bespoke to the XE SV Project 8.
In order to achieve this improved performance, the exterior of the car receives significant aerodynamic upgrades as well. At the front of the car, a wider bespoke front fascia with extra-large front apertures helps to smooth airflow around the vehicle and channel cool air through the engine and into the front brakes. The front fascia also includes an adjustable front splitter that can be extended into a more aggressive position during track day use. Even the headlights get modified, moving forward 14 mm, to accommodate the larger front wheels needed to clear the 15.75 in. Carbon Ceramic front brakes. The carbon fiber hood features a functional heat extractor to manage thermal build-up during extended stints on track. Underneath the car, engineers have further worked to smooth airflow and reduce both drag and lift with the addition of a flat underbody and functional rear diffuser. Fixed to the Carbon Fiber decklid, the large rear wing can be adjusted into an aggressive pitch angle for track use.
In its most extreme settings, and in ‘Track’ mode – suspension lowered by 15 mm. with both the front splitter and rear wing adjusted for maximum effect — Project 8 delivers almost 269 lbs. of downforce at 186mph – about 25 percent more than its nearest rival. Project 8 is the first Jaguar to offer such a Track mode, standard on all versions, tailoring driveline and stability control systems for circuit use by sharpening throttle and steering responses and tuning the dampers to their most aggressive setting.