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RECORD BREAKERS Veteran
RECORD BREAKERS Veteran racer Peter Dredge waits for the fog to lift before his record attempt on Coniston Water PHOTOGRAPHY: ALEX PUCZYNIEC, MALCOLM CREASE 66 THEJAGUAR
On a clear day, Coniston Water is one of the most beautiful spots in all of England. Nestled in the heart of Cumbria, popularly known as the Lake District, this large lake is a tourist magnet come summer. But today is not a clear day. Yes, it’s early enough in the morning to be still nursing fond dreams (of coffee, mostly), but the pea soup that’s blanketing the lake is murky enough to put a hint of a frown on the two dozen faces around me. They are not tourists; even the most eager vacationers are still sensibly in bed. But if their sense of focus and rapid action isn’t evidence enough that they are expert professionals, a Jaguar F-PACE pulls in towing a large object covered by a tarp, and the buzz immediately increases. This crew is on a mission, and at the heart of it is what’s revealed to be under the tarp: a sleek watercraft – the Jaguar Vector Racing V20E. And more specifically, what’s under its bodyshell: a huge, powerful battery that draws on Formula E technology. The goal today is deceptively simple: to break the decade-old world speed record for an electric watercraft, which is currently 76.8 mph. This may sound relatively low – we’re used to motorway speeds, after all, let alone watching Formula One races from the comfort of our sofas – but given the nature of the propulsion system and the surface being raced on, the task at hand conceals a whole host of unique challenges to overcome. This is where it gets interesting, as pushing the envelope is in Jaguar’s DNA, and that of its partners in this world record attempt, Vector Racing and Williams Advanced Engineering. Jaguar is already well at the forefront of electrification technology, with a clear mission to ‘Race To Innovate’ on track and on the water. So the key would be to successfully transfer the racecar technology being used in Formula E with Panasonic Jaguar Racing, to powerboats. “Electric racing is in its relative infancy even in the automobile world, and the marine version is almost unexplored,” explained Malcolm Crease, CEO of Vector. “So all three partners really wanted to push the boundaries of performance in this sector.” After the decision was taken in mid-2017 to commit to breaking the electric marine world speed record, preparations and testing began, and carried on for more than eight months, with the pioneering nature of the activity inevitably leading to plenty of trial and error. “We had to start from scratch, right from working out the type and size of boat, to the costs, weights and outputs of the various components,” said Peter Dredge, Vector’s Technical Director and a veteran marine racer. “Replacing the engine and fuel tank with battery, inverters, motor and sensors, and calibrating and tuning each setup, was a painstaking process. We needed to balance out the weight, keep it aerodynamic, and make sure everything was safe, compliant with regulations, STILL WATERS RUN DEEP The fifth-largest lake in England, Coniston Water is long – five miles long by half a mile wide – and calm, making it perfectly suited to speed runs, where racing watercraft need as much space as possible to build up and scrub off speed, turn around and make another run. This is why it hosts an annual multi-class event, Coniston Powerboat Records Week, usually in November. Jaguar Vector Racing’s achievement of the world electric marine speed record at Coniston Water is only fitting, as the lake is no stranger to such feats. This was where the legendary Sir Malcolm Campbell first broke the then world waterspeed record (by a fuel engined craft) when he hit 141 mph, back in 1939. In the 1950s, his son Donald set four successive records here, in the iconic hydroplane Bluebird K7. Sadly, Donald Campbell perished in 1967, when he lost control of his craft while pushing past an incredible 320 mph. Its wreckage was only retrieved from the lake’s depths in 2001. THEJAGUAR 67
JAGUAR MAGAZINE celebrates creativity in all its forms, with exclusive features that inspire sensory excitement, from seductive design to cutting-edge technology.
The latest issue features a range of inspiring people: from Luke Jennings, creator of Villanelle, one of the most interesting television characters in recent times, to Marcus Du Sautoy, who ponders whether artificial intelligence is on the brink of becoming creative. Out on the road, we visit the US to explore the foodie heaven of Portland in a Jaguar I-PACE, take a Jaguar XE to the south of France to get a photographer’s viewpoint of the charming town of Arles, and much more.