When you think of the car company Jaguar, what springs to mind? Perhaps it’s speed, luxury, and exclusiveness. You may even remember their time in the Formula One World Championship for these four brief years in the early noughties. There’s probably one thing that doesn’t spring to mind, however, and that’s rallying. Well, until now.
While most of us are completely unawares of Jaguar’s rallying heritage, it turns out that they do actually have a background in it. Back in 1950, Ian and Pat Appleyard were a husband and wife team who decided to enter their XK120 into the Alpine Rally. They finished without a penalty, so decided to enter twice more. In 1953, they also became the first official winners of the RAC Rally in Britain… All in their Jaguar XK120. Ian and Pat Appleyard’s rally car (and wins) have been the inspiration for this – the F-Type rally car.
Converting The F-Type
So, how do you turn the F-Type sports car into something that can take on a rally track? First, Jaguar threw out the original suspension and replaced them with springs 40% softer than the standard F-Type. The rally version is 40mm higher than the standard, which doesn’t seem like a huge difference, but is definitely noticeable. Next up, smaller 16-inch wheels were added to take on the gravel and a whole load of weight is taken out of the car, before a roll cage is installed. After a few more tweaks here and there, Jaguar’s F-Type rally car is ready to hit the road.
How Does It Drive?
So, what does a Jaguar F-Type rally car drive like? According to Tom Harrison, a reporter for Top Gear, “it’s a laugh.” At first, it feels like you’re driving the standard version despite it being an open rally car. However, as soon as you hit the track you can hear the noise, feel every turn, and truly put your foot down. According to Harrison, it feels “quite old school,” and is a soft drive despite the rally track being filled with bumps and dips.
Unfortunately, Jaguar have only made one of these – and it’s just for fun, so will unlikely be in a rally championship any time soon. Still, we wouldn’t mind a drive in one!