I suppose if you are going to make your first trip to Le Mans (yes, really), being driven right up to the paddock and then jumping into Jaguar’s new Project 7 limited-edition supercar is probably the way to so it.
Jaguar used the Le Mans classic weekend for the dynamic launch of the production version of the F-type Project 7. The car made its static debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed the weekend before, when the UK order books were opened (and, full, swiftly closed again).
And where better to reveal the Project 7 under its own power than on the circuit where Jaguar won the 24 Hours race in 1951 and 1953 (with the C-type) and in 1955, ’56 and’57 with the D-type?
To add the surreal nature of being waved into the paddock and handed a special Project 7 helmet (now on the options list by special request) I find myself staring at Jaguar D-type, registration OVC 50 the original factory prototype.
Of course, the Project 7 is directly inspired by the D-type but it is amazing to see them nose to tail waiting to drive into the Le Mans pits, 59 years after the D-type first won at this circuit. The D-type is compelling tiny, running on seemingly tiny wheels and a narrow track.
Close up the iconic fairing behind the driver’s head is a slightly wonky aluminium fabrication held down to the body with a huge number of rivets. If you’ve spent time close up with WW2 aircraft, you’ll recognize the period aeronautical construction methods.
The Project 7 is in stark contrast to the D-type. It looks mean and serious in the baking afternoon sunshine; inherently purposeful and functional rather than some body-kitted sham.