Jaguar turns its F-Type into a 550-hp bike hauler for le Tour
Jaguar's Special Operations division, the folks responsible for turning the gorgeous D-Type-inspired Project 7 concept car into an actual production model you can buy, has now decided that its 550-hp F-Type R Coupe was lacking in one very key area of functionality: the ability to haul bicycles.
Named the Stage 20 Concept, the car was designed specifically for Team Sky to use on (you guessed it) stage 20 of the Tour de France. The car will replace the team's usual Jaguar XFR-S Sportbrake as the riders embark on a 33.5 mile individual time trial from Bergerac to Perigueux, preceding the final stage of this year's race to Paris.
The S20C not only looks far sexier than the typical euro-wagon used by most teams in the Tour, but it's just as functional too: In place of the regular trunk lid lies a carbon fiber hatch with slots to hold the rear wheels and spare tires, while channels up front support the front wheels. An aluminum quick-release latch allows a team mechanic to swiftly remove the bikes, should the riders encounter a mechanical issue and require a sudden bike change. Speeds of up to 100 mph have been tested without issue.
Inside the sports car, high-tech radio equipment has been installed so as team members can stay in touch with their riders and crew members during the stage, and a large cargo net holds additional team gear. The interior is, as one would imagine, decked out in Sky's colors, as is the exterior paintwork.
As successful as Team Sky's partnership with Jaguar appears to be, the British squad has failed to deliver on its previous Tour's dominance, with last year's winner Chris Froome being forced to withdraw after a crash and second-in-command Richie Porte having a bad in the mountains on stage 13, losing his chance of a podium finish. While Sky may not be donning yellow in 2014, thanks to Jaguar, they'll still arrive in Paris looking sharp.