The FIA Formula E championship will have an official support series in 2018, with the new Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY. It will run on the same weekends as select Formula E events on the same circuit layout. And there will be practice, qualifying and a 30-minute race in the new I-PACE SUV.
There’s no news yet as to how many races will feature the I-PACE support class. But it’ll be an ‘Arrive and Drive’ package for 20 drivers, including professional technical support, spare parts and equipment. The technical specifications for the modified battery-powered SUVs, schedule and costs will be released in 2018.
Gerd Mäuser, Chairman of Jaguar Racing, said: “Jaguar returned to racing in 2016 with the mission ‘Race to Innovate’. With the launch of the Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY, we’ve strengthened our commitment to battery electric vehicles, international motorsport and Formula E. As a British team, we’re proud to announce today the launch of the world’s first production battery electric vehicle championship. We’ve always said we want to prove our electrification technologies on the track – this is the proof. I’m looking forward to seeing a full grid of Jaguar I-PACE race cars in late 2018, soon after the first Jaguar I-PACE hits the road in Europe. Ultimately, this innovative series will enhance the technology in our future electric vehicles and benefit our customers. Formula E has grown exponentially since we joined as the first premium manufacturer last year, with recent commitments from Audi, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche.”
Given that Formula E drivers are surprisingly unafraid of contact in their open-wheeled vehicles, there’s a good chance of some physical action when you have 20 SUVs racing on the same courses.
The standard roadgoing Jaguar I-PACE is still expected to launch in 2018, with a range of around 220 miles from the 90kW motor, and potentially 395hp and a 0-62 time under foud seconds. Plus electic cars can mount batteries and motors low in the chassis, which aids grip. The standard car is predicted to be out before the end of next summer and cost around £60,000. Adding a roll cage should put much on the price…