The Tour De France has rolled through the lush landscapes of Yorkshire and Essex and has now departed for France. If you were one of the lucky millions to witness this momentous event, you will have no doubt noticed the distinctive blue and black of the Team Sky support vehicles speeding ahead of the peloton and behind.
Jaguar are the supplier of Team Sky’s support cars and have been since Team Sky’s inception in 2010, in fact the team had been using old X-Types right up until 2012 before switching to the more modern XF Sportbrake.
It’s easy to see why Team Sky would choose such a car. As an essentially British team, Jaguar, with all it’s British heritage, is the obvious choice and the Sportbrake not only provides enough luggage space for all the team essentials over such challenging long distances, but also retains that familiar Jaguar sporty look and feel which so many other estate cars tend to forsake once they get to this size.
The Sportbrake was launched in March 2012 before its release to the general public in October the same year. With a luggage capacity of 550 litres the Jaguar looks good and sits comfortably as the on-road HQ of Team Sky.
The Jaguar/Team Sky deal lasts until 2015 after a new 3-year deal was signed in 2012 to coincide with the arrival of the XF Sportbrake as Team Sky’s vehicle of choice.
The likelihood is that such a high profile company as Team Sky will cover in excess of 100,000 miles in a year as they follow their riders from tour to tour across the world. It’s not all cruising down car-free roads in the picturesque South of France of course, as anyone who has just watched Chris Froome crash out of the Tour De France will realise, the real-world testing for the Sportbrake will range from the rain-soaked cobbles of Paris-Roubaix to winding at speed down Alpine roads in all sorts of weather conditions. Something the Jaguar’s self-levelling rear suspension is likely to relish.
Andy Whytman, Jaguar’s XF Chief Programme Engineer has said that Jaguar had been working closely with Team Sky to make sure that they offered what the company was looking for in the XF Sportbrake. Customised roof racks and in-car televisions along with race radio are just some of the essential bits of kit that are incorporated into the Sky support cars.
2014 marks a new chapter in the Team Sky/Jaguar relationship as Jaguar moves from being a supplier to becoming an Official Partner. Jaguar is also now an official Innovation Partner and you may notice that this season they now feature on the Team Sky cycling jerseys worn by the likes of Wiggins, Porte and Froome.
The observant among you may also notice that the distinctive black and sky blue livery of the Team Sky vehicles occasionally manages to become even more striking when the blue bonnet stripe becomes yellow to signify that the team is sporting the Yellow Jersey, though sadly we are now not likely to see this particular livery in 2014’s Tour De France.
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