Tata Motors-owned Jaguar's new F-TYPE two-seater sports car due for launch next spring could be the key to unlocking the brand's return to motorsport.

Brand boss Adrian Hallmark said: "In terms of a return to racing we have made no commitment but we absolutely want to - but not in F1 or Le Mans. Those are too expensive. Motorsport is all about customer engagement and the F-type is clearly a sports car. There are all sorts of moves in terms of regulation changes going on at the moment in motorsport and this all starts to make things more attractive to us in terms of cost."

The F-TYPE, he said, is on track for launch in late April – just the right time of year to be launching a cabrio but the weather was obviously not the main consideration for developing a topless model first.

Hallmark said: "The sports car market is 50-50 cabrio/coupe so it really makes no difference as to which one you start with but the cabrio is more complicated to engineer so we are taking route one to the summit. The coupe should be easier to develop from there."

Not to mention the fact that profit margins on the cabrio are potentially greater.

The F-TYPE and XK will also be at the forefront of the emergence of a high performance sub-brand, a ball which has already started rolling with Jaguar's R and RS models. Hallmark said there is a good business case for a sub brand given the success of the XFRS – the brand's first GBP100,000-plus model: "and we are selling all that we can build".

He added: "R can stand for real performance and RS will be an extension of that. This will also allow us to expand in terms of merchandising and accessories much in the same way as M Sport does for BMW or AMG for Mercedes."

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