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Jaguar is committed to electrifying its lineup but it’s first electric car isn’t a production model.
Rather, it’s a race car for the third season (2016/2017) of the Formula E Championship which gets underway in Hong Kong on October 9.
The new race car is called the Jaguar I-Type 1, and it will be fielded by Jaguar’s own Formula E team Panasonic Jaguar Racing. Heading the team is Gerd Mäuser.
The team will run two cars, with Adam Carroll and Mitch Evans doing the driving and Ho-Pin Tung serving as reserve. The three have extensive motorsport experience, including stints in the World Endurance Championship and former A1GP.
The I-Type 1 is now in final testing ahead of its first race in Hong Kong. The race marks Jaguar’s official return to international motorsport following the demise of its unsuccessful Formula One team in 2004.
Development of the car involved Williams Advanced Engineering, the Williams F1 team’s technology arm that previously helped Jaguar develop the C-X75 hybrid supercar concept. However, teams currently use a common chassis and battery, though are free to develop their own powertrains. Eventually they’ll be able to construct everything independently, at which point we may see more automakers enter the sport. Audi is confirmed to join the 2017/2018 season and BMW has hinted that it may also join.
Jaguar sees participation in Formula E as a means of accelerating development of a production electric car, with the automaker’s road car engineers working closely with engineers from Jaguar Racing. Jaguar is thought to be already at work on its first electric car, a new SUV sharing a platform with the F-Pace. Jaguar has even trademarked the name EV-Type.
“The championship will enable us to engineer and test our advanced technologies under extreme performance conditions,” Jaguar’s head of engineering, Nick Rogers, said at the reveal. “We will apply this vital knowledge as part of our real world development.”