Project XFR: Rico Rally Ready

Prior to his Rico Rally run, Road Magazine regular, Andy Robinson, writes…

With the Jag booked on this Summer’s European mountain pass road trip, the epic Rico Rally (Run to the Sun) – finishing off with my first trip to the Nurburgring – I decided that the car had to undergo a thorough pre-rally service, to make sure all the high wear components are taken care of. I’m leaving nothing to chance!

First on the list was tyres: The fronts were starting to look a little sorry for themselves. Sadly, the choice for the Jaguar front tyres is pretty limited, but Yokohama have decided to make their relatively new Advan Sport V105 in the correct size. And, armed with glowing reports, it seemed like the most natural choice to replace the sorry looking Dunlop SP Sports. Done.

Next up was a thorough service. The usual fluids and filters were taken care of, but because of the demanding nature of some the roads we’d be taking on in the Rico Rally, I also decided to give the brakes a bit of a treat. So, I went off shopping for discs, pads and fluid.

Unfortunately (almost like folk don’t modify Jags, Ed), there’s not much in the way of aftermarket performance brake pads for the Jag. But after some searching, I found that EBC make their harder, Yellow Stuff compound in the correct fitment, so happy days! Combined with some MOTUL RBF 660 DOT4 brake fluid, we should have some added brake bite and take care of any fade issues we were likely to come across with the standard set-up taking on very non-standard roads, in the searing Summer heat.

As expected with going down a daftly expensive (& untested) custom route, there was nothing available in the way of upgraded brake discs, so I had to use fresh OE spec discs. But, as you can see from the pictures, the discs are huge (we snapped them with a disc from a Nissan 200SX for comparison so you get an idea of just how large the Jags brake discs really are); 280mm front and 276mm rear! Should be plenty – even with all the Jag’s power and weight to haul up!

The next step was the all-important rally graphics. These were supplied and applied by our good friends at APM Customs. A quick thank you must go to Kev, Vicky and Josh @APM for getting the graphics printed and applied way beyond the 11th hour! And being famed for ‘mapping, wrapping, tinting and styling’ – they APM lads have already got some good ideas ideas on what we can do to improve Project XFR’s looks, but more on that at a later date!

Lastly, we decided to install a new ECU map to the Jag’s supercharged V8. This is something Andy at AC Speedtech has been working on over the last few months and it’s proved a little bit of a tough nut to crack – but we’ve finally been able to put a fully customizable map on the car. On previous rolling road sessions, we noticed that the fueling was way off up the rev range, so that’s been dialled in, along with some ignition and boost timing tweaks here and there. We have no rolling road results from this just yet, but that’ll come after the rally. For now, let’s just say… it’s feeling lively, just in time for the rally.

So, stay tuned (so to speak) for Part II of the Rico Rally run, which will be the Rally/Ring write up from 1000’s of incrtedible European roads, with some superb cars for company. It’s coming very soon here on Road Magazine.

DSC_1227 DSC_1235 DSC_1243 IMG-20140527-WA0015 DSC_0427 DSC_0430 DSC_0438 DSC_0486 DSC_0488