“It’s been a roller coaster,” he said. “I’ve always loved the brand, and when I took over I reckoned I knew what was needed. But I was petrified to be put in charge of the company’s vision. I thought it would take 10 years to get things right; 16 years on, we’re just about getting there. We’ve renewed the saloons, launched the F-Type and we’re well advanced with F-Pace, the sports crossover I said I’d never design.
“We have a fantastic design team. More and more they create things I wish I’d designed, which is as it should be.”
Callum, who still sketches cars for relaxation, believes the post-F-Pace period will be a time for reflection, because the Jaguars beyond will begin a new generation. Exciting prospect.
WEDNESDAY - To Buckmore Park, the Kentish kart track near Chatham, where owner John Surtees, the former car and motorcycle world champion, was hosting a relaunch with new karts, a new logo and bold new plans for an extension of the 0.6-mile track that he hopes will lead to a world championship event.
Buckmore, which nestles in a natural amphitheatre beside the M2 motorway, has played a vital part in UK motorsport, having helped to develop the careers of stars such as Johnny Herbert, Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton, Anthony Davidson and the late Dan Wheldon.
This was a carefree afternoon, with guests taking to the track in the new karts and one or two sitting in with racing driver Scott Malvern in a special high-powered two-seat kart. Reminded me of Michael Schumacher’s view of karting: that it was the purest form of competition this side of F1.
THURSDAY - To Pimlico Academy in central London to enter my home-built model rocket car in a Bloodhound-promoted competition that’s spreading like wildfire in schools across the UK. You pay a fiver for a kit, build a car from foam (plans included), go to a local meeting and race on a 20-metre wire-guided course. The Bloodhound crew stick a proper pyrotechnic rocket into your car’s chuff, ignite it electrically via a launch button and measure its speed with a radar gun.
The results are spectacular. Even my own 48mph run looked remarkably quick, but the winner’s 62mph was truly awesome. And how interesting to discover that even in a foot-long foam car weighing almost nothing, you still win by paring weight, reducing frontal area, cutting rolling resistance and refining the aero. I’ll do better next time. Details at bloodhoundssc.com.
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