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Jaguar showed a development of its XKR Coupe sports car, the XKR-R at the 2001 Specialty Equipment Manufacturing Association (SEMA)'s trade show. This was the first time that Jaguar North America has had an official presence at the SEMA show, the largest aftermarket component show in the world. The XKR R was built by Jaguar's Special Vehicle Operations (SVO), based in Coventry. Previous projects of SVO include the XK180 show car.
To meet the SVO team's design brief, the car was built from the ground up using new, modified and custom-built parts. Not a single component escaped the team's attention in the metamorphosis from stock XKR to the unique XKR-R, from the revised shape of the front bumper to the quad-outlet exhaust.
The team started the process of strengthening the car by seam-welding the unibody. To enhance rigidity, the front suspension crossbeam was mounted to the underbody using aluminium bushings, rather than the standard rubber items. The steering rack is shared with the XK180 show vehicle and gives a fast 2.2 turns lock-to-lock. The custom Eibach springs with fully adjustable racing-type remote-reservoir shock absorbers are specific to this vehicle.
SVO began strengthening the rear by installing an eight-point roll-bar. The rear suspension is greatly revised from the stock XKR, and features the entire rear floor area from the S-TYPE sedan, along with the rear axle from an S-TYPE.
The XKR-R rides lower than a stock XK8 by 30 millimetres, and the purposeful look of the car is further accentuated by the fitting of Jaguar's own 20-inch BBS-sourced R-Performance wheels. The wheels are filled with Jaguar's Brembo-sourced R-Performance brake callipers and cross-drilled rotors. With the addition of specially produced front and rear bumpers, sculptured rocker panels and trunk lid spoiler, the car looks more purposeful and aggressive, yet retains that Jaguar elegance.
Behind the engine, SVO replaced the stock five-speed automatic transmission with a customized Tremec T-56 six-speed manual unit, similar to that found in the Dodge Viper and Chevrolet Corvette. The T56 is a stout unit, and paired with an AP Racing twin-plate clutch, is a suitable partner for the XKR-R's power and torque.
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