F-Type SVR: Mission 200

What I’m trying to say is that going very fast in a straight line is really quite hard, and the idea that you can rock up to a derestricted section of autobahn and max out something as monstrously powerful as this on your first attempt is wishful thinking. There are some hurdles to overcome. The weather is a biggie, because even if the SVR does possess wider tyres front and back, and Jag’s electronically controlled four-wheel-drive system, I couldn’t find an anti-aquaplaning button anywhere on the dash…

Funny that, because having woken up in the early hours to beat the traffic on the A95 running south from Munich (note to self: it’s impossible to beat the traffic in Germany) it’s a downpour that leaves us staring out of the window of a service station for four hours waiting for the heavens to close and the tarmac to dry. Once it does, the traffic has had a chance to build. Don’t get me wrong, Germans are generally extremely handy drivers and used to clearing the way for V 12 saloons barrelling past on their 155mph commute, but that’s a different ball game altogether. One twitch from a lorry and I’ll be eating Armco.jaguar-f-type-2

We find some clear air on the A95 and manage to wind it up to 175mph – not bad, but not good enough for Mission 200. Again, the road opens up and I see an indicated 174mph before it becomes unwise to go any faster. There appears to be an invisible ceiling at 175mph, a point where unless the road is straight with perfect visibility and no other cars are anywhere near, the idea of piling on more speed has all the appeal of going for a bite to eat with Hannibal Lecter. And right there, that’s the third hurdle, the psychology of this whole folly.

Ultimately, this is a battle of me vs me; the car is capable, that much is clear – it still pulls hard at 175 and the stability is outrageously good – but how far am I prepared to push with other drivers on the road and a wife waiting for me at home? Then there’s the trust I’m placing in the components, not just the big things like the engine and brakes, but the nuts and bolts holding this metal box together. Every time I flash past 150mph, I find myself musing on what the aftermath of a tyre blowout would look like. Could I hold the resulting slide? Hmm, it would make a great photo… and then SNAP, back to reality and back on the brakes as another car pulls out up ahead.

Needless to say there are no blowouts, no brake failures, not even a squeak or rattle from the car. Whereas the whole experience has me squaring off with my own mortality, the F-Type doesn’t even break sweat. At one point I stick the cruise control on at 160mph and it just sits there, utterly unstressed as if shrugging its great haunches. So technically I’m a huge failure, but the mission was also to deliver the car and myself intact to the Red Bull Ring for Speed Week. Call me a wuss if you want, but an easy 175mph will have to do. Now, time to find out if it can do corners…


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *