In this week's automotive adventures, Steve thinks about what is to come from Jaguar, chats with an F1 commentator, bids goodbye to his lockdown motor, and more.
MONDAY: Our interview with Jaguar’s new(ish) design director, Julian Thomson, makes me impatient to see the new direction he’s promising for the marque’s future cars. Outgoing boss Ian Callum put Jag Design back on the rails; Thomson wants even more Jaguarness, more richness, more beauty. He’d also like to create some smaller cars, he says, although that road is paved with difficulty because they cost as much as big ones but are less profitable. Still, Thomson led the team that created Land Rover’s LRX concept that led to the Range Rover Evoque, Jaguar Land Rover’s last real rule breaker, a good omen.
Thomson talked affectionately about Jaguar’s 2003 R-D6 concept (“we all still love that car”), which was proposed as a kind of grown-up Mini Cooper, but Jaguar’s (Ford) management didn’t like it. To me, that car did two precious things: used the ‘shield’ grille better than anything before or since, and utilised the D-Type’s wonderful curves in a modern way. More, please.
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WEDNESDAY: Good fun talking to Martin Brundle, former Formula 1 star and Sky F1 commentator, for a motorsport feature further inside. I’ve known him a long time – since the days when he was Michael Schumacher’s team-mate at Benetton – and I’ve always found him thoughtful, helpful, lucid and thoroughly normal. Which is exactly as he comes across on the Haunted Fishtank.
Whenever we talk, I’m reminded of stuff he told me years ago about the unseen challenges of driving: what F1’s cornering, braking and acceleration forces do to the long-suffering body. In high-downforce braking, the retardation can be so huge that moisture from your tear ducts gets thrown forward onto your visor, and you can have trouble lifting your foot off the brake pedal.