Following several hundred thousand miles of research and development driving and the rigours of the international press launch, Jaguar Cars is entering its latest S-TYPE Diesel saloon into one of the toughest on-road events in the world. As a primary example of new car durability, the Cape-to-Cape Challenge provides the company’s 2.7-litre V6 twin-turbocharger diesel engine, with a major, "real-time" test.
The event starts at Europe’s northernmost point, Nordkapp, Norway, and continues for two-and-a-half days to Cape Tarifa, Spain (the southernmost tip of Europe). As Paul Walker, S-TYPE Chief Programme Engineer, Jaguar Cars explains: "We are convinced of the overall dependability of our models, but the Cape-to-Cape exercise will place peculiar stresses on both the S-Type 2.7D and its driving team."
Last year’s winner of the annual durability trek, motoring journalist, Iain Robertson, is delighted with his new charge. "Having driven the new Jaguar S-TYPE on its recent launch exercise," he outlines, "I am convinced that it will provide the necessary comfort, refinement and strength to establish a new time record for the 3,550-miles, non-stop driving exercise."
Intriguingly, the Cape-to-Cape Challenge is not a speed event, even though it is the fastest time between the two European "poles" that will determine the overall victor. As Robertson explains: "We travelled the distance in 58 hours and 39 minutes in 2003, thus setting a new record time. Taking into account a blanket 130km/h maximum speed limit levied by the event organisers, the Challenge adheres rigidly to the national speed restrictions in place travelling from Norway, via Finland, Sweden, Germany, Luxembourg and France to Spain."
In fact, any flouting of speed limits plays against the competitors. Each entrant’s vehicle has a data-logging device fitted, which is tamperproof and sends a regular flow of information directly to the organisers’ office. Even strategic attempts to exceed national restrictions result in time penalties of three-times any potential gain.
The Jaguar S-TYPE team personnel are Iain Robertson, Mrs Diana Philo (a 66 year old grandmother of six and public sector magazine editor) and Peter Mason (20 year old law student). In providing three drivers for the entry, the Challenge can be completed non-stop, without making the compulsory overnight halts demanded for two-person or solo entrants. In fact, the only stops will be for fuel, at which time any comfort breaks will also be taken.
Robertson continues: "Expecting to achieve around 40mpg from Jaguar’s outstanding new diesel engine, I anticipate that we shall be stopping briefly every 500 miles to refuel and take comfort breaks, which will provide an intense test of human durability for each of the team members."
The Cape-to-Cape Challenge commenced today from Nordkapp finishing in Spain on Sunday afternoon.Published 26 June 2004