New Jaguar F-Type Coupe’s await their missions at The Villain Academy on the COTA circuit.
The villainous power of the 2015 Jaguar F-Type Coupe draws together all sorts of corruptible personalities. Recently, the Circuit of the Americas (the only Formula 1 track in the U.S.) acted as the lair for a motley crew of racing drivers, actors, journalists and one Stig during the 2014 Villain Academy.
The F-Type is a hugely important car for Jaguar. While the company has been building successful luxury performance cars for decades, you could argue the company hasn't built a true sports car since the iconic E-Type. The XJ220, circa the early 1990s, was a hot machine — but Jag didn't make it in high enough numbers to count. And, the very pretty XK is more of a grand tourer.
That means Jaguar hadn't build a genuine sports coupe since 1975. And, to the non-gearheads out there, the immortal E-Type would be carved deeply into the Mount Rushmore of cars. For a car to be hailed as the next evolutionary step up from such a legend, it might need to pull out all the stops and destroy its competition. It might indeed need to be villainous.
Fortunately, the Jaguar Villain campaign has been a pop culture smash for the British automaker. Jaguar stuck with the fiendish theme for their F-Type R Coupe Early Driving Experience at COTA, inviting Jag enthusiasts to join a small handful of automotive journalists, Mina Suvari (American Beauty, American Pie), Sebastian (The Winter Soldier) Stan and Ben Collins (the world famous Stig from Top Gear) for an afternoon of evil driving training with the Jaguar Driving Academy team.
The top of the line instructors for the Academy are Davy Jones (Jaguar Lead Performance Driving Academy Instructor and a former driver for Le Mans, IROC and NASCAR), Roberto Guerrero (Formula One and Indy Car driver) and Michael Finch from New Zealand (winner of the New Zealand Formula Ford Championship). They and their team were on hand with Collins to demonstrate and instruct the kind of driving skills a world conquering super criminal needs.
In reality, the coaching staff shared the basics for effective track and performance driving I've picked up at other racing schools. Driving performance vehicles at speed means you need to look as far ahead as possible, keep your hands 9 and 3, monitor your wrist to wheel positioning, check proper knee bend for pedal use, look your way through turns, use the whole track, etc. All of those tips are essential for the proper handling of a $100,000, 550 horsepower bad guy mobile.
Later this week, I'll be presenting a review of the new F-Type and a description of the COTA track driving experience. And, I had a chance to sit down and talk all things cars with Collins, providing you with a very Stig-ish interview.
I could unveil all of that for you right now and give you all the goodies you desire, but that's simply not what an arch enemy does — and I passed the Jaguar Villain Academy with flying colors.