Jaguar has marked three decades since the closure of one Grand Prix racing’s most charismatic circuits – Circuit de Charade, Clermont-Ferrand - by setting a new lap record around its tortuously twisting layout.
Established race ace and Jaguar SV Project 8 driver, Vencent Radermecker took the wheel of the special edition Jaguar XE 300 Sport to complete the first flying lap of the circuit in 30 years, setting a new production car record in the process.
The 8.0km, 48-turn circuit, located near the Chaîne des Puys mountains in southern France, hosted the French Grand Prix in 1965, 1969, 1970, and 1972, but was finally closed in 1988 due to its modest run-off areas and regular rock falls from the nearby volcanic peaks.
In the Belgian’s expert hands the 221kW/400Nm 2.0-litre ‘Ingenium’ (petrol) powered XE recorded a time of 4:09 at an average speed of 116km/h.
Vencent Radermecker took the wheel of the Jaguar to complete the first flying lap of the circuit in 30 years.
For reference, Kiwi Chris Amon’s fastest lap in the 1972 French Grand Prix at Clermont Ferrand was 2:53 at an average of 168km/h.
In an interesting side note, former Le Mans winner and current Red Bull F1 team advisor, Helmut Marko was at the wheel of a BRM in the 1972 French Grand Prix at Clermont-Ferrand when he was hit in the eye by a rock thrown up from Emerson Fittipaldi's Lotus, and never raced again.
After completing his lap Radermecker said, “I set the production saloon record at the Nürburgring in the XE SV Project 8 last year and this lap was every bit as demanding. The longest straight is barely 600 metres, so I can see why drivers used to call this the French Nürburgring.”
Australian pricing for the Jaguar XE 300 Sport is confirmed at $79,400, before on-road costs, with all 300 Sport models featuring unique ‘Dark Satin Grey’ details including the door mirror caps, rear spoiler and grille surround, along with 300 Sport badging on the front grille and boot lid.
‘Satin Technical Grey’ finish 19- or 20-inch alloy wheels are exclusive to the XE 300 Sport along with branded brake calipers. Colours offered are ‘Yulong White’, ‘Indus Silver’, ‘Santorini Black’ and ‘Caldera Red’.
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