Jaguar Land Rover Experience And Track Day
Jaguar Land Rover has come a long way with their new range of SV products. In fact, the sub-brand has even diverged into separate avenues that correspond with luxury, performance and rarity. Jaguar Land Rover recently invited us to experience their new driving facilities in Lonehill, Johannesburg. After that we got to experience some of their most hardcore vehicles at a private track event at Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit. Here’s what went down.
Once you arrive at JLR’s new experience centre in Johannesburg, you don’t really know what to expect. You get a glimpse of the facility from the main road a few hundred metres before you arrive and would probably assume that it’s just another dealership. Well, it couldn’t be further from that. Upon arrival I was greeted by two friendly receptionists who informed me about an electronic disclaimer form that I had to sign. Once that was done I was directed to the restaurant upstairs which coincidentally overlooked the dynamic handling circuit and skid pan, providing top-notch entertainment for me while I had my coffee.
Before we got to take the heavy machinery for a few laps around Kyalami, we had to refine our driving skills in the JLR experience circuits. The first was a dynamic handling circuit where we got a feel for navigating corners and balancing the weight of the vehicles. This was exciting given the fact that we got to manoeuvre the micro-circuit in a pair of throaty new F-Types. After that we headed to the skid pan where we got to learn about the procedure to follow when spinning out. The pace was a bit slower but we did get to use the new rear-wheel drive Jaguar XF. This was it – we were ready to take on Kyalami.
After being elegantly shuttled to Kyalami in the back of a ‘big-body’ Range Rover, we were treated to one final driver briefing before starting our laps around the track. The first batch of laps were done in V8-powered Land Rover vehicles, specifically the Range Rover Sport SVR, the Range Rover SVAutobiography and, finally, the all-new Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography Dynamic Edition. Each SUV proved to have their individual strengths while all being able to meticulously navigate the twists and turns of Kyalami. The big-body Range hides its size very well, while the Range Rover Sport SVR just astonishes you with its brute power. The Velar SVAutobiography finds the right balance between luxury and performance, making it one of the favourites among everybody.
Next up were the Jaguar vehicles, which included the F-Type SVR, the F-Pace SVR and the dark horse of the line-up, the all-electric Jaguar I-Pace. Unfortunately I didn’t get a run in the F-Pace, but the F-Type on the other hand proved what an absolute animal it is capable of becoming once you release it onto the track. The 5.0-litre supercharged V8 almost never runs out of power and the sound of the exhaust just adds to the total experience. It just darted in and out of corners, rewarding me every once in a while with a pop and a bang from the exhaust. I would like to say it was my favourite of the day, but that title goes to the all-electric I-Pace. You’d never expect it to perform the way it does and I fell victim to this mentality. All it takes is one launch from standstill to make you realise how stupid fast the I-Pace is, and if the instant torque isn’t enough then its cornering ability will make you fall in love with it. The other cars make you want to set the best lap time on the track but the I-Pace just makes you want to have fun with it, and that’s very important in a car.
Once the adrenaline settled it was evident that all who attended had a blast. The Jaguar Land Rover Experience is open to the public, so if you like their vehicles and would like the opportunity to have a go with them in a safe, controlled environment then you should consider attending one of the sessions.