Jaguar North America unveiled a dramatic ‘Racing Concept’ version of its all-wheel-drive X-TYPE at the 2002 Specialty Equipment Manufacturers Association (SEMA) annual trade show. The bold, race-inspired concept was developed to test the potential of Jaguar’s X-TYPE sports sedan as a ‘project car’ for the enthusiast market, as well as continuing to explore options for Jaguar racing in North America.
"The X-TYPE Racing Concept sends a clear message to enthusiasts that motorsport is a vital, and integral part of our DNA," said George Ayres, Vice President, Marketing, Jaguar North America. "Since its introduction a year ago, we knew the X-TYPE would provide the perfect platform from which to style a visually-dramatic race-bred concept," added Ayres.
With design inspiration taken from Trans-Am and the European DTM race series, the X-TYPE Racing Concept was built by Rocketsports Racing at its Lansing, Michigan shop using a 3.0-liter V6 all-wheel drive Jaguar X-TYPE as a donor vehicle.
Among the features of the X-TYPE Racing Concept:
- Aggressive, race-inspired ‘wide body’ styling
- Full width, race-inspired rear wing
- Three-piece, center-lock 18-inch BBS racing rims
- Michelin Pilot race tires
- Race-bred Brembo brakes with six-piston calipers
- Jaguar Racing Green paintwork with Jaguar ‘leaper’ graphics
Paul Gentilozzi’s Rocketsports Racing was a natural choice for the project. The team competes in the Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich Tires Cup using a Jaguar XKR-bodied racecar, and has considerable experience in racecar fabrication and development.
"We used the principles we’d learned creating our XKR-bodied Trans-Am cars to create a racing X-TYPE. This aggressive wide-body look also reflects a growing number of the project cars coming out of the import car scene," explained three-time Trans-Am champion Gentilozzi.
Rocketsports’ team of racecar engineers began by widening the X-TYPE’s track by over eight inches and fitting three-piece, center-lock BBS wheels. These 18-inch race alloys are similar to the ones the team used on its XKR during February’s Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona endurance race when Gentilozzi won his GTS class. They are fitted with the latest Michelin Pilot race tires, with a 345/18-section at the front, 385/18 at the rear.
To give the concept the kind of stopping power that matches its anticipated grip, 14-inch front, and 13-inch rear ventilated racing rotors clamped by six-piston Brembo racing calipers were added. They are fitted with race-spec Ferodo high-friction brake pads.
Modifications to the body included the addition of race-style wheel arches joined longitudinally by aerodynamic rocker box sections. At the front, there’s a deeper spoiler incorporating a lower splitter, while at the rear a full-width, racing-style wing is mounted on the rear deck. Rocketsports also fabricated a new exhaust system, featuring dual pipes emerging from each side of the rear.
The X-TYPE’s production grille openings and headlight locations were unaltered for the concept. However, to stay true to Jaguar’s R-Performance styling cues, the upper and lower front grilles use a chrome mesh similar to that used in the supercharged S-TYPE R, XJR and XKR models.
To complete the dramatic appearance, the concept is painted Jaguar Racing Green, a new color for all 2003 Jaguar models. And along each side, silver Jaguar ‘leaper’ graphics echo those used on Rocketsports Racing’s XKR race cars.