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Jaguar charges into Formula E for 2016/17 season

Published: 15 December 2015

► Jaguar returns to international racing
► Official team in Formula E 2016/17 season
► Project will promote future electric road cars

Jaguar has announced it will enter an official team in the FIA Formula E championship, the international single-seater championship for electric cars. Entered by Jaguar Land Rover but racing solely under the Jaguar banner, the team will compete in Formula E’s third season, which kicks off in autumn 2016 and runs through to 2017.

The move marks Jaguar’s first return to international racing since the brand left Formula 1 at the end of 2004. Williams Advanced Engineering has been named as technical partner to the Jaguar Formula E Team, having previously collaborated with Jaguar on the C-X75 hybrid supercar project. Williams also currently engineers the battery packs fitted to all Formula E cars.

Why is Jaguar entering Formula E?

Development of the first electric Jaguar road car – which CAR understands to be an SUV – are well underway. Apart from promoting its new EV road cars, Jaguar says the racing programme will form a ‘real world performance test bed for future Jaguar Land Rover technology.’

‘We looked in detail at alternative ways of returning to motorsport,’ says the new Jaguar team’s director James Barclay. ‘With our future EV plans, Formula E was the obvious choice and we believe that the benefits are enormous. The FIA and the promoter have exciting plans for the future of the championship and we are proud to be one of the first vehicle manufacturers to commit to the series with our own team.’

Read CAR’s scoop on the Jaguar E-Pace electric car on CAR+.

How much of the car will actually be by Jaguar?

While Formula E was essentially a one-make ‘spec’ championship for its first season, its technical regs are gradually being opened up. Jaguar will run the same Dallara chassis as all the other teams, but will have the freedom to develop many key aspects of the car’s powertrain itself.

Electric vehicles will absolutely play a role in Jaguar Land Rover's future product portfolio and Formula E will give us a unique opportunity to further our development of electrification technologies,’ says JLR’s group engineering director Nick Rogers. ‘The Championship will enable us to engineer and test our advanced technologies under extreme performance conditions.’

Jaguar is yet to confirm drivers and sponsors – keep an eye out for an announcement later in 2016.

Formula E – is it actually any good? Read CAR’s account of the opening season’s finale at Battersea Park here.

By James Taylor

CAR's deputy features editor, automotive design graduate, Radical champ

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