Life moves fast. With Jaguar, I got to go along for the ride.
A fantastically cool test of an XFR’s handling of an ‘ice’ road, swerving round slaloms in the ‘ultimate’ XF and a frighteningly fast lap in a XKR-S – no this wasn’t a new episode of Top Gear. Welcome to the day the big cats well and truly roared – the Jaguar Track Experience Day.
What began as a sneak peek into the world of Jaguar and its latest F-type over light refreshments ended with us being hurtled at exhilarating speeds around Oulton Park in cars we can only dream of owning – let alone driving.
The first task certainly gave chills and thrills…
Testing the winter capabilities of the Jaguar XFR and the XF 3-litre diesel on the special ‘ice’ track. Which meant accelerating, braking and manoeuvring in conditions that would test even the most experience driver. Jaguar’s pro- driver taught me the tricks and tips before I nervously took the wheel, in full knowledge of just how expensive and powerful these cars are.
Which of course I got to fully find out when we were taken on a lap of the racing circuit in the XKR-S. Helmets on, seatbelts on….and then Go! Go! Go!
Fast, furious and fantastic lap in the XKR-S
What you see on TV is nothing like what you experience actually being in the car. The sheer force of the machine is nothing short of incredible as we negotiated bends, twists and turns all at speeds you never thought you’d travel in any car.
How could that experience be topped?
Letting us drive round the track of course! But first we had to prove we had the nerves to put the pedal to the metal around a slalom course. Swerving, braking, collision avoidance – all the elements of any skilled driver and where I really got to experience the control capabilities of the Jaguar XF in any given emergency.
Coaxing the car around the cones was a sight to be seen as we all tried desperately – and often failed! – to avoid contact. But I will say that I managed it without knocking down a single cone or obstacle – result!
And so to the moment of truth…
That moment when all the boyhood dreams of being a pro-racing driver are about to come to fruition. Finally getting behind the wheel of the Jaguar XKR and XJ Supersport on the Oulton Park race track with our own pro-driver personal tutors.
Driving the XJ Supersport was like a real live version of one of those high-speed driving video games, but with levels of adrenaline that you’ll never, ever experience in the virtual world. After a hesitant couple of laps to get the feel of the car, trying to remember the wise words of my pro-driver…’brake here’, ‘full throttle now’, ‘turn hard’….even ‘aim in line for the oak tree’!….I finally got the confidence to really put my foot down.
But those speeds were nothing compared to what the XKR could deliver, and this time my driving skills were being filmed in full, glorious colour – and sound! Remembering not to inadvertently swear was hard enough as I sped around the track with other cars, even managing to overtake some of them.
So how to sum up my day?
Exhilarating, exciting, eventful, enjoyable…in short THE experience for anyone who does – or even doesn’t – like cars. Life moves fast. With Jaguar, I got to go along for the ride.
A HUGE thanks to all the pro-drivers, the Jaguar team and Ardel & Allison from WeAreSocial for the invitation.
Author: Jonathan Date written: 31st October 2012