Jaguar has launched a bold effort to boost its image as a performance brand.
Premier Automotive Group Chairman Wolfgang Reitzle announced that Jaguar will enter Formula One racing and will introduce the new 'R' brand of performance options.
Ford Motor Co.'s Premier Automotive Group embraces the Jaguar, Aston Martin, Lincoln and Volvo marques.
Reitzle also announced that Jaguar Chief Engineer Trevor Crisp will become managing director of Cosworth Racing and will lead Jaguar's Formula One engine development program. Drivers for the team will be Eddie Irvine and Johnny Herbert.
Jaguar's move into Formula One became possible when its parent, Ford Motor Co., bought the Stewart Ford Formula One team in June.
The new R performance options range of systems and components was originally showcased on the XK180 concept roadster, which was built to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the XK sports car. The XK180 debuted at the Paris auto show last year.
The new components will be developed by Jaguar Special Vehicle Operations, the company's in-house design and engineering department.
The components will include special Paris or Milan alloy wheels and Brembo brakes installed either at the factory or at the dealership.
During the Frankfurt auto show, Reitzle outlined Premier Automotive Group's plans to become 'the world's leading consumer company providing premium automotive products and services.'
Jaguar's push into performance engineering will be matched by Volvo's emphasis on family and safety products, Reitzle said. Aston Martin will be used as a technology laboratory, and Lincoln will represent American luxury.