So seemingly awe inspiring the CC100 was, that former step-sister Jaguar thought that its new F-Type Roadster deserved the same retro, ‘homage to the great endurance racers of the past’ makeover.
The end result is this: the rather stunning Project 7.
So, how do the brawny British sports cars in motor racing paraphernalia stack up to each other? Let’s find out…
A good way to start this quick comparison is to see where exactly each of their roots lie. Mainly because both have origins in pretty similar periods of history.
In the CC100’s case, it’s a case of Aston Martin marking two occasions with one bespoke piece of bonded aluminium and carbon-fibre composites: not only was the Speedster built to celebrate 100 years of Aston Martin, but it also pays homage to the DBR1 racing car that won the Le Mans and Nurburgring endurance races in 1959.
2013 doesn’t mark anything particularly big for Jaguar other than the 60th anniversary of its second victory at Le Mans (‘Project 7′ refers to the firm’s seven wins at the fabled French race). But criticising Jag for building a celebratory car without a major anniversary to accompany and justify it is, frankly, a tad cynical.
Especially when the Project 7 does appear to celebrate the influence and importance of privateers in Jaguar’s racing history: the bright blue paint scheme and white stripes are reminiscent of the independent Ecurie Ecosse team’s livery, whose D-Types won two back-to-back Le Mans races in 1956 and 1957.
So, from a heritage perspective, the Jaguar and Aston Martin are pretty sterling efforts in paying respect to their respective triumphs on the track during one of motor racing’s nostalgic golden eras.
Now we’ve got the history lecture out of the way, it’s about time we kicked things off properly, in true Top Trumps performance stats style.
The Jaguar gets off to a pretty good start, in that the F-Type V8 S on which it’s based is already a pretty perky base to build on. However, whilst the 495hp current flagship in the F-Type range is indeed a quick car, it seemingly wasn’t meaty enough for the engineers who worked on the Project 7.
Hence why there’s now an extra 55hp to play with this time around (essentially, the engine’s the same 550hp supercharged unit you’ll also find in the XKR-S and XFR-S), along with the assumed extra downforce from the carbon-fibre front splitter and rear spoiler.
All of which contributes to an improvement in acceleration – Jaguar claims the Project 7 can reach 62mph from rest in 4.1 seconds, whereas the standard F-Type V8 S is two tenths of a second slower along the same run – though both cars share the same electronically limited 186mph top speed.
No claimed curb weight figures have been release so far, but we’d be amazed if the strictly-for-one Project 7 isn’t that much lighter than the two-seater F-Type.
The same goes for the CC100 – with carbon-fibre coachwork and a completely gutted interior, the Aston Martin also has to be a featherweight in comparison to the 1,680kg V12 Vantage donor car.
Whether or not the CC100 has any more power over the regular Vantage’s 510bhp – or even the 565hp in the Vanquish and V12 Vantage S – is anyone’s guess, as no one outside of Aston Martin knows for sure.
Still, at least we do know that Aston claims the Speedster is a tenth faster to 62mph than its unofficial rival from Jaguar, though – with a suggested top speed of 180mph – the Project 7 is the superior car in that regard.
Mind you, as explained in the next point, it’s not like many people at best will ever get the chance to know for sure which one’s the quicker car…
The Cool/Gimmicky Racing Bits
Given both are modern interpretations of born-and-bred racing cars, it was pretty obvious that both would be garnished with varying levels of track side trinketry.
The Jaguar, for instance, comes fitted with the aforementioned carbon-fibre additions to the bodywork, along with the right-aligned dorsal fin, a cut-down windscreen to further emphasise the Project 7’s rakish profile and an assortment of racing car decals.
In contrast, though, very little has been done to the interior, which is all pretty much standard F-Type fare. Judging from the solitary clear press pic of the Project 7’s cabin, the only major alteration is the replacement of the passenger seat with a spot for a racing helmet to be secured.
When it comes to replicating a racing car inside and out, though, the Jag is considerably outclassed by the Aston Martin: not only does the CC100 have quite a few bonkers track-inspired styling cues (have you seen those tiny butterfly doors?), but the Speedster’s truly stripped-out cabin and the assortment of toggle switches really do make it feel like something you’d expect to see in an open-top Le Mans Prototype.
Whether or not they’re cool features or gimmicky racing add-ons depends on your personal preference. There’s no denying, though, that they certainly add a unique touch to already pretty special cars!
Despite rumours of Aston Martin building an extra CC100 to be auctioned off for some wealthy Aston aficionado to love and cherish, and though the pair are able to run under their own power, both the Speedster and the Project 7 are strictly one-off technical and stylistic showcases.
Which is a bit of a shame, given that both will probably be making their last public appearances for a while at this weekend’s Goodwood Festival of Speed. Once all the booths get taken down and the cars are loaded into their trailers, it’s likely that very few will ever see the duo in the flesh ever again, let alone witness them in action.
At least both do hint at what we we’ll see from the brands in the not too distant future: the Project 7 is a pointer to what we can expect from a possible F-Type R, whereas the CC100 Speedster is a first-look preview at what the next generation of Aston Martins will look like and be built out of.
So, this metaphorical dark cloud could indeed have a silver lining, albeit one that might not be quite as awesome or as uplifting as a retro F-Type or a V12 Vantage in a 1950s-inspired frock…