WE RECENTLY WENT TOE TO TOE WITH JAGUAR’S FIERCEST CAT, THE XE SV PROJECT 8. A TRACK-HONED WEAPON, IT CERTAINLY LIVES UP TO ITS SPECIAL VEHICLE BADGING
JLR’s SVO offshoot is a busy operation. It turns quick Jaguars and Range Rovers in to yet faster ones, and these SV badged models are liked by Kiwi buyers. There are F-Type, F-Pace and Range Rover Sport models offered here but SV also adds luxury with its Autobiography range. The Defender will be the first SVX off-road model, due in a year’s time.SV products have helped boost Jaguar sales in New Zealand, which are said to be up 43 per cent in 2019 while the general market heads backwards. Other SVO activities include devising specials like the beastly XJ 575, preparation of the I-Pace for the E-Trophy series, and there’s even an armoured division. SV also has a classics department that meticulously recreates continuation models such as the exquisite XK SS, one of the nine built living here in New Zealand.Another rare cat is the XE SV Project 8, with one now prowling the tracks of Aotearoa. The SV Project 8 was announced some time ago, production started in June 2018 but only recently has one made its way all the way down to New Zealand. Just 300 have been made, but it hasn’t been an instant sell-out success, with a few cars still circulating the global network. Unlike a GT4 race car, this is intended to be road registrable, though that could be problematic here, being a left hooker (no RHD cars were made) and a four door with only two seats. It’ll send the officials at Waka Kotahi into a spin.
IT WAS FINALLY TIME FOR THE PROJECT 8 AND IT DIDN’T TAKE LONG TO WARM TO ITS TRACK-TUNED CHARMS
The Project 8 starts at $350k while this one has the $20,950 track pack option, meaning no back seat, a half cage (said to boost torsional rigidity by 27 per cent), added carbon fibre and race seats. It’s said to net a 12.2kg saving while you get full harnesses and a fire extinguisher. This particular car has been brought in by JLR NZ to showcase what SV is capable of, and they are confident it will find a home here once official duties are finished.It’s been touring the country and will be on display at Archibald and Shorter in Auckland over the Christmas/New Year period before heading to Armstrong Prestige in Wellington from January 6-13. Onwards south it goes, to Archibalds Christchurch between the 20th and 27th and it will be at Armstrong Prestige in Dunedin from the 30th to the 4th of February if you fancy checking out its carbon fibre finery.Some facts then. The charged 5.0-litre V8 breathes and exhales more freely and makes 600hp and 700Nm.