Jaguar F-Type rally car first drive: Power-sliding pussycat

The instrument cluster is afire with warning messages. There’s no traction control, no stability control, and the ABS light is flashing because there is no ABS. That’s deliberate, rather than a catastrophic failure of the electronics in this hastily prepared Jaguar F-Type rally car.

Think of the British firm’s competition history and you’d be right to think Le Mans. Rallying? Less so. But Jaguar had enough success back in the day with its XK120 that when it was looking for a way to celebrate 70 years of building sports cars, somebody in Coventry piped up that a rally F-Type might be a bit of fun.

And that’s exactly what Jaguar did. Which is why I’m currently strapped into a lightweight competition seat by a six-point harness, with flashing instruments in front of me and, perhaps wisely given what those displays are revealing, an FIA-approved roll cage above my head. Of course, that roll cage means Jaguar had to remove the F-Type’s folding roof. But thankfully, as would be the norm in February in the United Kingdom, it’s not actually raining. Why a convertible and not a coupe? The XK120 was a roadster, and, well, drivers were made of tougher stuff back in those days.

Jaguar F-Type Rally Car: First Drive

Continuing that theme, lighte...