Jaguar could get the green light to build an FIA GT3 race version of its F-type R coupé before Christmas.

The project is sufficiently advanced for Jaguar to have whittled the short list of potential development partners down to just three race teams; all that is required is the rubber-stamp of top-level bosses.

Should that be forthcoming, the plan would be to have a car testing by the middle of next year and making its race debut less than a year from now.

“The fact is that Jaguar is the only one of the premium brands without an active race programme at present,” said a source close to the project, “and that needs correcting, especially given its rich competition heritage”.

The thinking at Jaguar is to largely out-source the project to the successful partner in the same way as Bentley has done with Malcolm Wilson’s M Sport operation and, indeed, as Jaguar did with TWR in its halcyon racing days of the late 1980s and 1990s.

Jaguar has also noted the considerable commercial success of Aston Martin’s customer GT4 programme and does not rule out going down a similar route with a much more affordable racing F-type should the GT3 project prove successful.

But the ultimate aim of the programme, if instigated, would be to provide Jaguar with the means with which to develop a GT3-specification F-type for the road.