Celebrating 70 years of sports car heritage, Jaguar has developed two F-Type Convertible rally cars built for attacking road and dirt. The cars boast a competition-ready suspension, braking system, off-road lighting and more. Porsche 911s and Caymans all dressed up for gritty off-road rally adventure always look good, and it turns out the Jaguar F-Type makes a pretty nice rally car, too.
Jaguar's sibling brand Land Rover has been celebrating its 70th birthday throughout 2018. While Jaguar's history goes farther back, it's found a compelling reason to throw a 70th celebration all its own.
The very same year Land Rover showed its first utility vehicle at the Amsterdam Motor Show, Jaguar founder Sir William Lyons revealed the XK 120 at the 1948 Earls Court Motor Show, laying the foundation of a long, illustrious sports car history. According to Jaguar, it was the fastest production vehicle of its time and the very first in a long line of fast, gorgeous and timeless Jaguar sports cars.
One particular XK 120 has served as inspiration for the new F-Type Convertible rally cars. Ian Appleyard and his wife Pat, Lyons' daughter, raced the XK 120 registered "NUB 120" in a series of rallies, winning the pan-European Tulip Rally in 1951 and the RAC Rally of Great Britain in 1953. During that same era in the early 50s, the duo raced a trio of Alpine Rallies without incurring a single penalty point, a feat that earned them a Coupé D'Or (Gold Cup). The XK 120 gave way to Jaguar's 1950s Le Mans champions, the C-type and D-type.
Decades later, Jaguar's sports car lineage has led us to the F-Type, a modern-day interpretation of pure, red-blooded sports car performance that is an obvious choice for celebrating the brand's sports car and competition heritage.
Both F-Type Convertible rally cars are powered by Jag's 2.0-liter Ingenium four-cylinder engine and have been constructed to meet the full slate of FIA specifications. Most of the heavy lifting took place below the vibrant bodywork, where Jaguar Design and Engineering upgraded the suspension system with hand-built competition dampers and softer springs made to eat up rough terrain. Three-way damper adjustability helps match settings to the current surface type.
The braking system has also been thoroughly modified for rally racing, receiving front and rear grooved discs with four-piston calipers and a hydraulic handbrake designed to assist with hairpin turn negotiation. A motorsport-spec wheel/tire combo designed for gravel and a limited-slip differential maintain optimal traction.
Up top, the hood-mounted lighting module is the big eye-catcher, while a protective roll cage, fire extinguisher and race seats with six-point harnesses beef safety up.
Jaguar's F-Type rally car duo has been put through their paces at the Walters Arena rally stage in South Wales. They'll now spend the next few months appearing at various Jaguar events.
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