Jaguar is making a big push in the all-electric Formula E series, but is conspicuously absent in sports car racing. Its F-Type seems like an ideal candidate for some sort of GT racing series, but Jaguar hasn't yet made a dedicated competition version of the car. Now, though, Jaguar is rumored to be dipping its toes back into sports car racing.
Autosport reports that Jaguar's Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) is preparing a handful of GT4-spec F-Types for a private customer who intends to race them later this year. The automaker recruited Paul Humphrys, who designed the 1999 Le Mans-winning BMW V12 LMR, to head up the F-Type GT4 project.
Humphrys is an interesting hire not just for his success at Le Mans, but because he was most recently working with Red Bull's Adrian Newey on the Aston Martin Valkyrie hypercar. He also played a role in developing the Bentley Continental GT3 race car in 2013.
Per Autosport, three F-Type GT4s are being built for James Holder, a co-founder of clothing company Superdry who made his entry into GT4 competition last year. Holder, who is the primary investor in this project, plans on entering his F-Types in the GT4 European Series later this year.
Building an F-Type race car is a big deal, given Jaguar's history. While the company did provide support to a privateer effort to build a GT-spec XKR a few years ago, the F-Type GT4 will be Jaguar's first in-house GT car since the lightweight E-Types of the 1960s.
A GT4 entry is a small start for Jaguar, but considering it made a big hire from Aston Martin to get the project off the ground, you have to imagine the company wants to do more sports car racing. Nearly all the F-Type's competitors race in various series in Europe and the US, and surely Jaguar wants in on the action.
GT racing will give Jaguar a chance to reclaim the glory of its Le Mans-winning C- and D-Types of the 1950s, and we all know how much the automaker loves celebrating its motorsports history.
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