As the season is changing faster than ever, I remember that not so long ago I was on a sun-filled trip exploring North East of Wales, hosted by my friends at Jaguar. A true celebration of British lifestyle and heritage, we took to the scenic roads of the local countryside in the new XE SV Project 8 by SVO, experiencing some of the dreamiest landscapes Wales has to offer.
For those who don’t yet know, SVO aka Special Vehicle Operations creates the ultimate Jaguars. The fastest models with the highest level of technology to make each one exclusive and limited to 300 units. The F-Type Project 7 was their first “project” inspired by the Le Mans winner D-Type.
This time, they created the most extreme performance Jaguar ever, based on the XE saloon – in fact almost nothing from the XE remains as over 80% of the engineering content is unique. For this, the narrow, winding roads of the wild, Welsh landscape – complete with herds of sheep watching your every move – was more than perfect for the weekend road trip we had planned ahead of us.
Arriving from Hogarths Hotel in Solihull in the F-pace type R, we approached a breathtaking scene; a line up of three Project 8’s – as slick as in a showroom – sat beautifully on top of a hill, the morning mist beginning to clear around them. The Touring, the two-seat Track Pack and four-seat Project 8s; not much difference between each except for the Touring being wingless. Inside, only the Track Pack stands out with the cage and just two seats. Well, it is for track days as you guessed.
The Track Pack, somehow, even knowing it’s the exact same car as the two others, inspires some real excitement. The car just beat its own time on the Nürburgring Nordschleife with 7m18.3s and currently is the fastest four-doors production car.
The cars showcased the sublime 5.0L supercharged V8, 592bhp along with adjustable suspension and aerodynamics. In a world where most manufacturers tend to get smaller engines, this 5.0L is just what we need, something you can be proud of; to own, to use, to hear.
Given in 3.3s for the 0-60mph and a top speed of 200mph and 700Nm… they make great stats for pub conversations; because what matters the most is how you can handle this much of everything on proper roads. The all wheels’ drive is your best friend, it gives you comfort from one corner to the next with no fear of giving too much sudden power to the throttle. The gearshift is crisp, dampers and springs are stiff and it feels connected. The car is agile, capable, powerful but not light despite the carbon feel all around the vehicle.
350 miles later, we arrived at the Ynyshir Hotel ran by Chef Gareth Ward, a Michelin star restaurant with rooms located on the coast of mid-Wales near the Snowdonia National Park. And because a Road Trip is not just about the roads but the trip itself, we were a bunch of hungry happy drivers pleased on the promise of the Chef “It’s gonna be the best bbq of your life” – the big boy was not lying!
This trip was a mixture of some of the most stunning roads, most thrilling driving and most importantly one of the best food I have ever had.
Merci to @jaguakUKPR and their team, Gareth Ward with his staff.