Jaguar reveals modified XJR Rapid Response Vehicle ahead of Bloodhound SSC test run this November

This is Jaguar’s 543bhp XJR Rapid Response Vehicle, intended to act as support for the Bloodhound SSC Land Speed Record attempt.

Two of these bespoke XJs have been built by JLR’s SVO division and converted to accommodate both fire suppression equipment and rescue equipment, including cutting gear.

The car will make its public debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed driven by Andy Green, who will also pilot the Bloodhound SSC during the attempt to hit 1000mph on land.

A long-wheelbase version of the XJR was used as the base vehicle. The rear seats were removed and a new, leather trimmed, mounting platform fitted to the bulkhead and floorpan. A bespoke, full roll cage has also been engineered for the XJR.

Six highly polished steel containers – which contain a mix of foam and liquid fire suppressants - are mounted in the rear of the XJR’s cabin. In the boot is a generator. This powers ‘cutting and spreading’ tools which could be used to cut open the Bloodhound structure in the event of an accident. A tool for cutting into carbonfibre is mounted under the XJR’s bootlid. The emergency equipment was made by British firm, Angloco.

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Jaguar XJR

The Jaguar XJR is an enormously attractive and satisfyingly rapid luxury saloon marred only by a slightly firm ride

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As well the XJR RRV, Jaguar is supplying an F-Type R Coupe Medical Car for the project, which will be used to transport the on-site doctor.

All three Jaguars will be deployed from the first speed tests in the UK. The first of these is expected to be at the Newquay Aerohub, Cornwall, on 17 November this year.

Bloodhound SSC engineer Jenna Gaff told Autocar the project did not believe there was any significant risk of an incident with the Land Speed Record vehicle: "The computer modeling shows zero-lift at 1000mph, so this is a very stable vehicle. The pilot is also well protected inside the carbonfibre monocoque cabin."

The three Jaguar cars will be deployed in a staggered formation along the 12-mile desert track on the Hakskeen Pan in north-west South Africa.

The two XJRs should not have to cover more than three miles in any emergency situation. With a 180mph top speed, they should arrive at any incident in just over 60 seconds.

It’s the third time Jaguar has supplied specially converted XJs to British Land Speed Record attempts.

The 1983 Thrust 2 record breaker (which averaged 633mph with Richard Noble at the wheel, in the Black Rock Desert, Nevada) was supported by a XJ Series 3, which had also been used at the Silverstone circuit.

In 1997 a specially converted XJ X300 was used to support the Thrust SSC which hit 763mph, also in the Black Rock Desert, breaking the sound barrier on land for the first time. 

Read more:

Goodwood Festival of Speed 2015 preview

Jaguar XJR review

Jaguar F-type R coupé review

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Our Verdict

Jaguar XJR

The Jaguar XJR is an enormously attractive and satisfyingly rapid luxury saloon marred only by a slightly firm ride

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week