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Discover a different side to Eva Green | Will your next taxi be a self-driven Jaguar I-PACE? | What it takes to break a lap record at the Nürburgring Nordschleife | The petrolheads racing in Jaguar’s new all-electric race series | Up close with the latest special edition of the XE and XF: the 300 SPORT


RECORD BREAKERS It’s 11 am and Vincent Radermecker has already had a speedy morning. Sitting in the boardroom of Jaguar’s Nürburgring test center, fresh from 15 pedal-to-the-metal laps of this legendary German racing complex’s formidable Nordschleife loop, he’s taking a well-earned break before the afternoon driving session begins. Another 15 unyielding laps await. As a durability driver for Jaguar, Vincent’s job is to push pre-production cars to the limit around this formidable 12.9 mile-long track, exposing any flaws in a vehicle’s setup and giving engineers the data they need to come up with solutions. It may sound glamorous, but this is no easy task. Named the ‘Green Hell’ by Formula 1 ace Jackie Stewart, the Nürburgring Nordschleife is almost as famous for high-speed wrecks as is for its fabled racing history. The circuit’s 73 long and short radius bends, relentless elevation and camber changes, blind crests, bumps, dips and lack of run-off areas mean that this isn’t a place for the foolhardy. One mistake here can spell disaster. That’s why so many car manufacturers, Jaguar included, test their vehicles at the Nürburgring: If a car can survive here, it can survive anywhere. But sometimes survival alone just isn’t enough. For the elite Special Vehicle Operations team behind the development of the Jaguar XE SV Project 8, their limited-edition high-performance sedan had to make some serious waves. And on November 29th, 2017, the Project 8 – with Vincent at the wheel – did just that, breaking the Nordschleife’s track record for a four-door sedan of production intent. But attaining a lap time of 7 min 21.23 sec on this daunting ribbon of asphalt didn’t come easy. With over 10 years driving experience at the ’Ring and close to 8,000 laps of the place under his belt, Vincent’s previous gig as a professional race driver was to prove vital. “Attempting to set a lap time here is a bit like racing,” he explains. “It’s essential to get every bit of track and every corner right, every time. You can’t think about the past or more than five or six seconds into the future. That’s the only time you’ve got control over. If you’ve made a mistake it’s already done so there’s no point thinking about it. “And you can’t think about what’s going to happen in 30 seconds, because you don’t have contact with that 30 seconds and you don’t have the feeling of it yet. It’s just the next corner, and then the next and so on. It’s all about concentration and precision in the moment. Focus on anything else and you’ll be finished.” Vincent spent three test days in the Project 8, building up to that 7:21 lap time. “We made three or four attempts at the record,” he recalls. “The weather conditions weren’t ideal; the track was damp in the mornings so we had to wait until the afternoon every day. We needed the right amount of heat in the tires and conditions really had to be optimal before we went for it.” The car, of course, also had to be in optimal condition. Designing, developing and constructing this 5.0-liter, 592HP, hand-assembled super sedan – the most powerful Jaguar road car to date – in just over a year was no simple task. Getting it ’Ring-ready only added to the pressure. “An enormous amount of time and effort went into refining Project 8’s body surfaces in order to extract the most aerodynamic performance out of them,” explains Special Vehicle Operations Senior Designer Luke Smith. “We were continuously rebuilding parts of the car to accommodate the latest engineering and aero developments. From a design perspective we were PORTRAITS: HANNAH SMILES, BRYN MUSSELWHITE 38 THE JAGUAR


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