2015 Jaguar F-Type R Coupe: First Impressions, Part 2
July 31, 2014
To continue my post on the West Coast introduction of the F-Type Coupe, we rejoin the action at Willow Springs Raceway.
Time on the big track was limited, and we were strongly encouraged to be kind to the cars. That meant no bouncing off rev limiters, sliding, or other punishing activities. We also had a pro driver along for the ride to make sure we didn't get in over our heads. Compared to when I used to run there in my personal car, I was shifting and braking early. Fine by me, I certainly don't want to be they guy that bends one of these beauties.
My pro driver for the second of two track runs was Roberto Guerrero. Yes, that Roberto Guerrero.
The F-Type R Coupe is well suited to a high-horsepower track like Willow Springs. It pulls steadily down both straights and its small footprint makes threading it through the tighter turns three through six (known as the Omega) much easier. As far as I can tell in the video, I barely brushed 130 mph on the straights. I braked so early that I was coasting for a few seconds before I had to make the first turn.
In the long sweeping right of turn two I got to feel how balanced the F-type is. A slight lift of the pedal from maintenance throttle got the car to rotate just a bit and it the rear tires released very gently — no snap oversteer here. Coming out of turn two, feeding in more and more power, the Jag tracks out beautifully with no need for countersteering.
Mr. Guerrero pointed out that my high-horsepower line (squaring off the turn-in) in turn seven was unnecessary. The next time around, he had me ease into the turn earlier with less steering input. Sure enough, we had plenty of track left as we powered onto the back straight. The greatest compliment I got from him was, "you've been around this track before, haven't you?"
It's pretty unlikely that the typical F-type owner will be participating in any track days, but it's good to know that it is certainly up to the task. Even a smaller, more technical course like the Streets of Willow should provide plenty of thrills. I'm convinced that our Corvette Stingray would handily beat the Jaguar on track, but I'm also confident that I'd have more fun in the F-type. There's only one way to find out, right? Hello? Anyone?
Mark Takahashi, Automotive Editor @ 4,000 Miles