Rally cars these days are all based on mass-market subcompact hatchbacks, like the Ford Fiesta and Volkswagen Polo. But there was a time when you could take a sports car rallying. And Jaguar’s keen to relive that era with a pair of rally-prepped F-Types.
And not F-Type coupes, either: this duo is based on the roadster. Much like the current WRC machinery, the Jags pack turbocharged four-cylinder engines – albeit larger at 2.0 liters and less potent at 296 horsepower (221 kW), and with open two-seat cockpits.
The British automaker didn’t say whether they’re rear- or all-wheel drive, but while four-wheel traction is available on the production roadster, it isn’t offered with the Ingenium turbo four.
The F-Type rally cars borrow cues from the Chequered Flag edition and pay homage to the XK120 that took on the Alpine and other rallies back in the early 1950s. Jaguar also upgraded them to FIA rally standards, fitting a full roll cage, racing seats with six-point harnesses, on-board fire extinguisher, and extra lights on the nose. It also mounted beefier brakes, adjustable dampers, a new limited-slip differential, hydraulic handbrake, and competition-spec wheels with gravel-munching tires.
“The opportunity to design a rally car doesn’t come along very often so I was fascinated to see how we could take our modern day sports car to a similar character,” said design director Ian Callum. “These models are a fitting tribute to the XK 120 and all the great Jaguar sports cars since its reveal 70 years ago, including the latest F-TYPE Chequered Flag Limited Edition.”
Jaguar shook down its unusual new rally machine in on the Walters Arena rally stage in South Wales, and will take them on tour over the coming months. We wouldn’t count on them leading, however, to an actual competitive rally program like Porsche’s working on with its Cayman GT4.