Jaguar’s Formula E race team officially launched with sponsorship, livery, and an interesting name for its racecar, the I-Type 1. It marks Jaguar’s return to factory-supported racing and serves as a model for the company’s future strategy. The company holds seven Le Mans titles, which is the fourth-most in history, even though it hasn’t won one since 1990.
Nick Rogers, Executive Director, Product Engineering at Jaguar Land Rover, underlined the important role Formula E will play in developing next generation electric vehicle technology and the importance of electric vehicles in Jaguar Land Rover’s future product portfolio.
Rogers said: “Over the next five years we will see more changes in the automotive world than in the last three decades. The championship will enable us to engineer and test our advanced technologies under extreme performance conditions. We will apply this vital knowledge as part of our real world development. At Jaguar Land Rover we employ 9,000 engineers and the team will draw on these engineers to extract data and push the boundaries of electric technology in a race environment.”
Formula E competition starts October 9th as the all-electric racing series begins its third season. Panasonic has signed on as the title sponsor of the team. Panasonic provides the head-up display units for Jaguar road cars, and is touting big tech crossover back from the I-type into future Jaguar EVs. Jaguar will partner with Williams Advanced Engineering for the electric powertrain. Williams also helped with the development of Jaguar’s C-X75 plug-in concept car.
Team engineering boss Rogers says there’ll be three areas that I-type data can influence a future, say, E-Pace electric crossover. Its battery tech (fast-charging, heat management and weight-saving will be scrutinized), control systems, and the all-important motors. Initially, Formula E cars were all set up identically by Williams Advanced Engineering, but as of this season teams can R&D their own bespoke powertrain solutions, so long as they don’t contravene the 880kg car weight limit – 8kg less than last season’s.
Sitting in the driver’s seat and donning the Jaguar overalls is ex-GP3 champion Mitch Evans from New Zealand, and Northern Ireland’s previous A1 GP champ Adam Carroll. Chinese driver Ho-Pin Tung takes the reserve seat.
Jaguar joins Renault and DS in the growing group of road carmakers dipping a toe into electric motorsport, with Audi also reportedly considering a full house works team. If that came to pass, Formula E would equal Formula One’s total of four street car-making teams on the books (Ferrari, McLaren, Renault and Mercedes).
Gerd Mäuser, Chairman of Panasonic Jaguar Racing said: “Today marks a new chapter in the history of Jaguar Racing. As the first premium car manufacturer in Formula E we are proud to be back in top-level motorsport. The future is changing and we’re part of that change. We can’t wait to begin racing competitively in inner city locations inspiring a whole new generation of @JaguarRacing fans to join us on this exciting journey. Formula E is the perfect platform to inspire the next generation.”