What is it?
Now, I know what you’re thinking: four months to put a fairing and some blue paint on the back of an F-type and punt it up the hill at Goodwood? We could all do that in our spare time, couldn’t we?
I dunno. The more I hear, the more I think it’s a fairly remarkable turnaround. Cesar Pieri, a Jaguar designer who has only been at the company for a year, was making some sketches in March, for a modern car with a nod to Jaguar’s heritage. His colleagues liked them, and they sketched some more.
A couple of days later they slid them onto design director Ian Callum’s desk, and he liked them too. So did everyone else they then showed it to. So they decided to put it together for Goodwood.
And so followed three or four weeks of further sketches and computer models, three or four weeks of real modelling at Gaydon, including CNC milling of a full-scale clay model, which takes a week. They spent two weeks getting the fillets around the D-type-inspired rear just-so, placing silver film over the clay model and working the material so that shadows, highlights and reflections are perfect.
Then there is the carbonfibre front splitter, side skirts and rear diffuser. Each of these throws up issues: attaching the front splitter meant getting the aero team involved to decide what angle the rear wing should be, because putting on the carbon at the front upsets the front:rear lift balance. Likewise the rear diffuser, while an aesthetic rather than aero touch, necessitates finishing the exhausts with a ceramic coating, to stop the diffuser burning.
Ditto the windscreen had to be cut down yet, because this is a working concept, rollover strength had to be retained. And following all that, because this is a working car, the chassis engineers wanted a week on the test track at Gaydon to set-up the suspension. And the graphics on those tyres? Turns out nobody in the UK can do them. So the team, by hand, scrubbed off the mouldings from the sidewalls, made up the vinyl templates, and did it themselves.
And all to send Project 7 up the hill at the Goodwood Festival of Speed; five runs over three days, of no more than a minute each, creating a stir that, I think it’s fair to say, has overwhelmed not just the Jaguar design team, but everybody else within the company too.