Jaguar, McLaren, Bentley show track specials at Goodwood
One-off and track-only British models debut at the premier motorsports event.
Jaguar, McLaren and Bentley unveiled a trio of track-tuned rides at today's Goodwood Festival of Speed in Great Britain, a celebration of historic race cars that began with a $30 million Mercedes driven by Formula 1 ace Juan Manuel Fangio.
While the British indeed have much to celebrate when it comes to their own motorsports history, these three brand-new cars -- none of which are road-legal -- demonstrate the marvels of modern engineering. And with technology like electronic stability control, it means all the Fangio wannabes out there (us included) can actually drive them hard without crashing.
Jaguar showed the Project 7, a roofless, single-seat version of its new F-Type roadster meant to channel the company's famous D-Type racers of the 1960s. Jaguar's hairiest, most powerful engine to date -- the 550-horsepower, supercharged V8 seen in the XKR-S and XFR-S -- slots up front to replace the standard 495-horsepower V8. The 8-speed "QuickShift" automatic remains.
Engineers ripped the silencers out of the exhaust, lowered the body 10 millimeters and chopped the windshield so low that the driver must wear the car's custom blue and white helmet, which can be stowed on a nice little pedestal where the passenger seat used to be. A carbon fiber wing, single rollover scoop, slim aluminum side mirrors and -- retro of all retro things -- whitewall tires ensure the Project 7 will never go into production. Jaguar claims the same 186-mph top speed as the F-Type V8 S and 0 to 60 mph in 4.1 seconds, a tenth quicker than stock.
In its classic bright orange livery, McLaren delivered a track-only version of its MP4-12C, dubbed the GT Sprint. Much like the Ferrari Challenge race cars that throw out most of their DOT-friendly equipment, the GT Sprint promises to sling around turns like a spider monkey. With Pirelli slicks and the company's trick hydraulic suspension system set to maximum punishment, the GT Sprint should have no trouble cornering where the stock 12C might call it quits (and from our own experience on the track with a 12C, that's a very high limit).
Inside, a full roll cage, carbon fiber dash with a digital racing display and lighter air conditioning unit help keep the driver in one piece, strapped in as he'll be in the six-point racing harness. Further aerodynamic tweaks and a polycarbonate windshield, along with an "on-board air jacking system" that allows the 19-inch center-lock wheels to be quickly removed, ensure the GT Sprint will be deafeningly loud and absolutely terrifying to whomever can plunk down $300,000.
Bentley dropped more than one ton off its production Continental GT coupe to create the Continental GT3, which at fewer than 2,866 pounds, dispels the company's reputation as having built "the fastest trucks in Europe," as Ettore Bugatti once said. This time, the 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 makes 600 horsepower, 100 more than stock, and features four-way adjustable dampers, as opposed to the stock car's air suspension. A 6-speed sequential racing transmission replaces the 8-speed automatic, and just about everything else is tightened and toned for track work. As such, Bentley left not a scrap of its beautiful leather or wood inside.
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