IT’S known as one of the hardest manoeuvres to pull off in a car, so what else would Jaguar choose but the heart-stopping barrel roll stunt to launch its E-Pace SUV?
For “health and safety reasons” the 50ft jump was performed behind closed doors in front of Guinness World Records officials on July 11, rather than before a live audience at the ExCeL exhibition centre in London’s Docklands this evening. Guests at the launch were shown a video of the stunt, which claimed the title of “furthest barrel roll in a production vehicle”, before the E-Pace itself was revealed.
The barrel roll, memorably executed by James Bond in 1974 in the film The Man with the Golden Gun, involves a run-up to a curved ramp that sends the vehicle into a twist as it flies through the air. The car lands — if things go to plan — on all four wheels on a ramp with a corresponding incline.
It’s a dangerous stunt, with plenty of room for error, which is why Jaguar says it chose not to perform it live.
Even if tonight’s audience was left wanting, the video footage is impressive. Jaguar used computer modelling to craft the ramps before the stunt driver Terry Grant spent months testing and fine-tuning. Aspects such as the approach speed and the length of run-up have to be judged perfectly.
Grant worked out that he needed a 175-yard run-up and would experience 5.5g during his 270-degree mid-air twist.
Grant is no stranger to the record books, holding 21 Guinness World Records including highest loop-the-loop in a car, at the launch of the Jaguar F-Pace SUV in 2015, and the fastest mile on two wheels while driving the Nissan Juke at the 2015 Goodwood Festival of Speed.
“As far as I am aware, no production car has ever cleanly completed a bona fide barrel roll,” he said, “and it has been an ambition of mine to perform one ever since I was a boy. After driving the Jaguar F-Pace in the record-breaking loop-the-loop, it has been amazing to help launch the next chapter of the Pace family in an even more dramatic dynamic feat.”
The Guinness World Records adjudicator Pravin Patel said: “This amazing feat really was a sight to behold. While I’ve seen the barrel roll stunt in film, witnessing this incredible feat in real life was something pretty special.”
The E-Pace is the latest in a flotilla of SUVs coming to Jaguar showrooms in the wake of the larger F-Pace and ahead of the pure-electric I-Pace and full-size J-Pace. Read more about the E-Pace on this page.
The E-Pace is not the only new SUV from the stable of Jaguar Land Rover: don’t miss our review of the Range Rover Velar, coming to The Sunday Times Magazine and Driving.co.uk later this month.