The Jaguar XE has set a unique lap record, around a forgotten Grand Prix circuit in France.
The forgotten ‘Green Hell’ of France
The 8km Circuit de Charade in Clermont-Ferrand included public road sections. It hosted the French Grand Prix in 1965, 1969, 1970 and 1972.
Loose volcanic rock and the lack of any real run-off areas took their toll on cars and drivers alike. The track fell out of favour, and the full, longer circuit was last used in 1988. Jaguar returned to the historic track to mark the anniversary of its closure. An XE Sport 300 completed the first flying lap of the circuit in three decades.
Jaguar worked closely with the track owners and local authorities to re-establish the original Circuit de Charade layout. This meant re-opening sections linking today’s track with the public roads that make up the daunting original.
A demanding lap
Vincent Radermecker attempted to set a production saloon lap record in the XE 300 Sport. This wouldn’t be easy, with roundabout and two narrow gateways not used in the original circuit to contend with. Nevertheless Vincent lapped the demanding track in just 4 minutes 09 seconds.
Vincent 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 agility, dynamic handling and all-wheel drive traction of the XE 300 Sport came into its own on this challenging track. The longest straight is barely 600 metres, so I can see why drivers used to call this the French Nürburgring. It’s a privilege to drive this track and it’s really special to drive here with Jaguar.”
The right car for the challenge
The XE 300 Sport is powered by a 2.0-litre Ingenium petrol engine. Its 300PS means it is capable of 0-62mph in 5.7 seconds. With 400Nm of torque and all-wheel drive, Vincent was able to make full use of the XE’s exceptional handling capabilities to exploit the smallest of opportunities throughout the twisty, undulating track, which snakes around the extinct volcano that sits in the centre of the original layout.
Mike Cross, Jaguar Land Rover Chief Engineer, said: “The XE features a lightweight, stiff Aluminium-intensive Architecture and sophisticated integral-link rear suspension, making it the best driver’s car in its class. Following the XE SV Project 8’s record-setting lap at the Nürbugring, for the 300 SPORT to set a record on this fast, flowing and demanding circuit demonstrates that these are two cars with one DNA.”
Distinctive 19-inch or 20-inch Satin Technical Grey finish wheels are exclusive to the special edition along with 300 Sport-branded brake callipers. Customers can choose from four exterior colours: Yulong White, Indus Silver, Santorini Black and Caldera Red.
The Jaguar XE starts from £31,505 in the UK and models are available with a range of clean and efficient diesel and petrol engines. For more information, visit www.jaguar.co.uk