Jaguar revisits speed record on route to Geneva
GENEVA, March 7 — Jaguar celebrated its historic 1953 speed record by driving a convoy of classic Jaguars from Belgium to Switzerland for the opening of the Geneva Motor Show.
It may be a company with questionable taste in music (see partnership with Lana Del Ray) and one whose powerful, luxurious yet affordable cars have earned a reputation for being playboys’ and cads’ vehicles in the UK at least, but it is also one that knows how to make an entrance and one whose racing heritage and track success can only be matched or bettered by a select few competitors.
To promote its participation at this year’s Geneva Motor Show, the company went street racing in continental Europe. Specifically, it recreated the record it set in 1953 — when test driver Norman Dewis set an average “flying mile” speed of 172.4mph in a modified Jaguar XK 120 on the streets of Jabbeke, Belgium.
But this time the driver was 1988 Le Mans winner Andy Wallace and the car was the new F-Type V8S sports car. On a two-mile stretch of road, Wallace took the car from standstill to 179mph and to zero again, bettering the XK 120’s record by almost 8mph even with a much shorter stretch of road (the original record was set over a five-mile distance) — and thanks to exposed tree roots, and the fact that it was raining, conditions were potentially dangerous.
However, Wallace was quick to point out that while going at nearly 180pmh in a modern car can carry risks, those risks are nothing compared with travelling at 172mph in a car built in 1953.
The flying lap was followed by a convoy from Jabbeke to Geneva in time for the Motor Show’s official opening led by the F-Type but also featuring a number of Jaguar’s all-time greatest models — the aforementioned XK 120, a C-Type, a D-Type and the iconic E-Type, which 50 years on from its own debut is still striking enough to upstage any other car on the road. — AFP-Relaxnews