Sixty years after Jaguar’s legendary test driver Norman Dewis achieved a world record average flying mile speed of 172.4mph in a modified XK 120(The 1953 speed test result was verified as a national record by the Royal Automobile Club of Belgium), Jaguar returned to Jabbeke, Belgium, on Saturday 2 March for another sprint test, this time with a new Jaguar F-TYPE V8S and 1988 Le Mans 24 hour race-winning driver Andy Wallace. With just two miles available to Wallace to explore the F-TYPE’s straight-line speed from a standing start, and bring it to a stop again, the car hit almost 180mph(The 2013 speed test result is verified by Datron) and achieved 0-62mph in an impressive 4.2 seconds.
The celebratory event marked the beginning of an epic drive event in which classic Jaguar XK 120, C-type, D-type and E-type sports cars joined the new 495 PS F-TYPE in a ‘Jaguar Bloodline’ sports car convoy en route to Geneva, Switzerland, prior to this year’s 2013 Salon d’Auto, where the new F-TYPE takes pride of place on the Jaguar stand.
Speaking after the sprint test, Wallace said: “I was delighted to be invited by Jaguar to be the first to undertake a public sprint test in the new F-TYPE. Our result today is amazing considering the original sprint test road was five miles in length and today we had less than half that to achieve 179mph. The car was still accelerating toward its top speed when I had to brake.”(Top speed of Jaguar F-TYPE V8S is limited to 186mph)
Marking the return of Jaguar to the Belgian proving roads, Adrian Hallmark, Global Brand Director, said:
“The original Jabbeke sprint runs marked the start of an exciting chapter in our history. The XK 120 combined seductive design and innovative technologies with incredible sporting performance, as Norman Dewis proved on that famous day in 1953.
“Those core elements of our DNA are embodied in the new Jaguar F-TYPE, and I can think of no more fitting way to pay tribute to the achievement of one of our most famous roadsters than to return to Jabbeke to celebrate the successful test and set a new Jaguar benchmark.”
Following the Jabbeke speed run, an identical F-TYPE V8 S was driven the 519-miles (835km) to Geneva by a specialist in frugal driving, recording an average fuel consumption of just 35.6 mpg (7.9 l/100km).
The all-new F-TYPE is on sale now throughout Jaguar dealers across Europe and will be available to view in showrooms from April. Prices in the UK for the new two-seater start at £58,500 for the 340PS V6 F-TYPE, rising to £67,500 for the 380PS V6 F-TYPE S and £79,950 for the range-topping 495PS F-TYPE V8 S.