After getting exclusive access to the new Jaguar F-Type at the 2013 Washington Auto Show, my friend Jake and I were invited by Jaguar to a track day in which we could test drive all of Jaguar's top end and most recent models, including the 550HP, $155,000 XKR-S, and the pre-production XFR-S, among others. Unfortunately the F-Type was still unavailable to drive, although a beautiful orange example from the Paris Auto Show was on hand to demo under the reception tent. Events we took part in were a Timed 0-60 / Top Speed Run, Autocross Circuit, Traction Control Demo Circuit, and Free Drive of any of the available lineup (the XJL was VERY well appointed). As Jake later pointed out, we drove ~$1,000,000 worth of cars in just a few hours time.
The day started out with being greeted by showcase Jaguars, including a 1967 Jaguar E-Type, with DC plates "ELATED". The event attracted plenty of exotic cars in the parking lot, mostly Jags of course.
Not far away was the Orange F-Type V8 S, and one of MANY XKR-Ss (actually there AREN'T many; the XKR-S is a limited production run vehicle with only 100 examples being sold in the United States).
Our driving experience started out by road testing the XJ, which was very responsive, although the Eco feature that disables the engine in stop and go traffic was a bit strange (we later disabled it). All the Jaguars had very sensitive brakes - not a bad thing, but something that took a few minutes to get used to.
Next we were briefed by Lorraine McKiniry, host of Velocity Channel by Discovery Network's "What's My Car Worth?" who gave a history of the Jaguar brand, culminating in the 2013 lineup, and discussion of future plans for the carmaker. Then it was out onto the track, where first up was my 0-60 / Top Speed run in the XKR-S. I reached 90MPH with a 5.5sec 0-60 time (unofficial - official times are forthcoming). The track was uphill on cold, hard tires, so the XKR-S' specified 4.0 - 4.2 sec range wasn't possible given the conditions. You can watch my runs and see the live telemetry below!
Next it was on to the Autocross Course and Handling Tests. I had a more strict course instructor than Jake did, so I wasn't allowed as much freedom on the course as Jake was which was somewhat disappointing. The result was a top time of 39.6sec compared to Jake's 37.something sec time. The Handling Course in the XFR-S was much more fun however, mostly because I startled and impressed the course instructor with a massive drift - he wasn't expecting it, but he was shocked that I maintained full control around the entire turn in a textbook drift without the traction control engaged. His reaction after I snapped the car back in line for the straightaway was "WHOA!!!... OK.... Um... I didn't know you could do that. That was very good... Wow!... You handled that.... really well!..."
Unfortunately I don't have many pictures from this or the rest of the day... because I was too busy driving!!!
It was an amazing, fun day! I wish we'd had more track time! I think our performance on the course would have improved dramatically with just a little more time to become more acquainted with the cars; but this goes without saying! I also had two people, one of them a Jaguar representative, ask me who I was writing for - I apparently looked like an automotive journalist for this event (not paparazzi, like so many other occasions - I'm so happy!).
Loved it! I can't wait to do another track day like it! Now we're looking into other events sponsored by Porsche, Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and others to experience more!