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Jaguar XE sets lap record at forgotten circuit

Jaguar XE 300 Sport sets lap record at forgotten Grand Prix circuit in France

A Jaguar XE 300 Sport has established a lap record for a production saloon at the original Circuit de Charade in Clermont Ferrand, France.

The 5-mile (8km) track, which included public road sections, hosted the French Grand Prix in 1965, 1969, 1970 and 1972, but it fell out of favour for safety reasons.

The original circuit was last used in 1988 so Jaguar returned to mark the anniversary of its closure by completing the first flying lap of the track in three decades.

Vincent Radermecker piloted the 300hp 2.0-litre petrol XE around the 48-turn circuit in just 4 minutes 09 seconds at an average speed of 72mph (116kmh), despite having to navigate a roundabout and two narrow gateways not used originally.

Jaguar worked closely with the track owners and local authorities to re-establish the original Circuit de Charade layout for the 300 Sport’s flying lap by reopening sections linking today’s track with the public roads that make up the daunting original.

“I set the production saloon record at the Nürburgring in the XE SV Project 8 last year and this lap was every bit as demanding,” said Vincent. “The agility, dynamic handling and all-wheel drive traction of the XE 300 Sport came into its own on this challenging track.

“The longest straight is barely 600 metres, so I can see why drivers used to call this the French Nürburgring. It’s a privilege to drive this track and it’s really special to drive here with Jaguar.”

About Gareth Herincx

Gareth is a versatile journalist, copywriter and digital editor who's worked across the media in newspapers, magazines, TV, teletext, radio and online. After long stints at the BBC, GMTV and ITV, he now specialises in motoring.

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