The F-Type is arguably the most performance-focused model that Jaguar has made in decades. And someone is keen to capitalize on that by having the British sportscar turned into a racer.
Although unconfirmed by the factory, Autosport reports on rumors that a secret project is underway within Jaguar Land Rover’s Special Vehicle Operations division to convert the F-Type for the GT4 racing class.
The interesting thing here is that, while the project is reportedly being undertaken in-house by Jaguar, it’s being done on behalf of a paying customer. This rather unlike past projects like the XJR-15 that was essentially developed and produced on Jaguar’s behalf by Tom Walkinshaw Racing in the early 1990s.
According to Autosport, the customer in question is Superdry clothing brand co-founder James Holder, who has been competing until now in British and European racing series in an Aston Martin Vantage GT4. Word has it that Holder has commissioned three cars from Jaguar, set to debut later this season in the GT4 European Series – but that only begs the question of whether the automaker could produce more in the future.
To complete the project, Jaguar has reportedly recruited race-car specialist Graham Humphrey, who was working until now on the Valkyrie supercar for Aston Martin and Red Bull Racing. Before that, Humphrey helped develop the Continental GT3 for Bentley and M-Sport, but most famously designed the BMW V12 LMR that won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1999.
Though far from a factory return to sports car racing, the notion of a Jaguar GT racer will undoubtedly capture the imagination of many racing fans. The company hasn’t officially competed since the C-Type and D-Type dominated Le Mans in the 1950s. More recently it made a GT2-spec XKR that made a dismal showing from 2009, but has been more focused on formula racing these days than sports cars. Red Bull Racing previously competed under the Jaguar banner (with poor results), while the name has now resurfaced in the form of a Formula E entry with full factory support.