Unveiled in April this year, the 2019 Jaguar XE 300 Sport special edition is out to prove that it is potent enough to set new records. It just did so after breaking the decades-old record at the original track of the Circuit de Charade in France.
Located in Saint-Genes-Champanelle, France, the modern Circuit de Charade is a technical circuit with a total distance of 3.975 km (2.470 mi) and a total of 18 turns. A challenging circuit for many drivers, the current circuit is not how it used to look around 30 years ago. After all, the modern Circuit de Charade just came into existence in 1989. It was built using the southern portion of the original Circuit de Charade.
The original Circuit de Charade is considered as an iconic circuit in France, having hosted the French Grand Prix four times (1965, 1969-1970, 1972) and the French motorcycle Grand Prix ten times (1959-1964, 1966-1967, 1972, 1974). It was constructed in 1957 and opened in 1968, and was built using pre-existing roads around the Puy de Dome volcano.
Interestingly, the original Circuit de Charade was considered as the French version of the Nurburgring. Only 8.055 km (5.005 miles) in length, the original circuit was regarded as a more challenging and faster version of the Nurburgring, boasting of 48 turns, a great number of sharp curves and elevation changes. Its longest straight didn’t even reach 600 meters.
Nonetheless, the original Circuit de Charade was considered dangerous because of dark, volcanic rocks caused tire punctures on 10 racers during the 1972 French Grand Prix. The rise of the much safer Circuit Paul Ricard as well as increasing safety issues eventually led to the closure of the original circuit, which held its last race on September 18, 1988.
Thirty years to the present times, the original Circuit de Charade was re-established just for the flying lap of the new Jaguar XE 300 Sport. Jaguar collaborated with the owners of the modern track and the local authorities to re-establish the original layout, linking the present track with the modern public roads that replaced the old track. Then the challenge started.
After just 4 minutes and 9 seconds – with average speed of 116 km/h (72 mph) – the Jaguar XE 300 Sport completed a flying lap of the original Circuit de Charade, setting a new record for a production saloon. Piloted by race driver Vincent Radermecker, the XE 300 Sport proved its exceptional handling capabilities in a twisty, undulating track.
One of the special edition models of the 2019 Jaguar XE, the 300 Sport is powered by Jaguar Land Rover’s 2.0-liter four-cylinder Ingenium petrol engine that delivers 300 PS (296 hp) of max output and 400 Nm of torque. Featuring an all-wheel drive system, the 300 Sport can sprint from zero to 100km/h in just 5.7 seconds (0-60 mph in 5.4 seconds).
Available in Caldera Red, Indus Silver, Santorini Black and Yulong White exterior colors, the Jaguar XE features the 300 Sport grille and bootlid badge as well as a Dark Satin Grey finish for the grille surround. This finish is also seen on the mirror caps, side vents, side sills, rear valance and boot spoiler. It rides on 19- and 20-inch alloy wheels in Satin Technical Grey finish.