The Brits return to top-level racing after 12 years

When Formula E debuted in 2014, it gathered only a handful of automakers on the starting grid. Renault, Audi, and Mahindra were the only mainstream companies involved, with McLaren providing the electric motor. As the series gained popularity after the first season, more carmakers began considering joining Formula E. While the likes of Nissan and BMW are still pondering the idea, Jaguar has already signed up for the 2016-2017 season and unveiled its first-even electric race car, the I-Type.

Under development since 2015, the I-Type spearheads Jaguar’s return to top-level racing after a 12-year hiatus and will probably help the British company developed electric motors for future EV and hybrid production cars. Following intense testing at the Donington Park circuit in England, the I-Type is ready to hit the Formula E’s race tracks when the new season debuts on October 9, 2016, in Hong Kong.

Jaguar’s effort in the series will be back by Japanese electronics giant Panasonic and American automotive seating and electrical distribution systems Lear Corporation. The I-Type will be driven by Mitch Evans and Adam Carroll, while Ho-Pin Tung will be the team’s reserve driver.

Continue reading to learn more about the Jaguar Formula E Race Car.

  • 2016 Jaguar I-Type Formula E Race Car
  • Year:
    2016
  • Make:
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Exterior

2016 Jaguar I-Type Formula E Race Car
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Although the Brits have yet to release actual details of the car, they did publish a few photos of their single-seater. Not surprisingly, the vehicle looks almost identical to other cars from the series. However, the I-Type features the latest design changes made by Formula E, including revised side pods, a new rear wing, and a slightly reshaped rollover hoop.

Notable changes include revised side pods, a new rear wing, and a slightly reshaped rollover hoop.

Those who aren’t familiar with Formula E will probably notice that the car brings together aerodynamic solutions used in both Formula 1 and IndyCar. Similarities with the latter are noticeable at the front and the rear, as the wheels are flanked by tall body panels and wings, almost eliminating the traditional open-wheel design.

Enabling the Jaguar to stand out from the crowd is the livery. Finished in a light shade of gray, the car is accented by neon-blue stripes, with white "Jaguar" writing and feline logos on the sides and the nose. Although this isn’t a traditional Jaguar color (the brand is known to use British Racing Green on the track), it was probably selected to highlight the electric drivetrain underneath the shell.

Interior

There are no photos of the car’s cockpit, but there’s not much to see besides the race-spec seat with FIA-approved seatbelts and the multi-function steering wheel packed with buttons and switches. Arguably the most interesting feature is the small display in the steering wheel, which provides the driver with vital information about the car’s battery, speed, gearing, as well as lap times. Formula E cockpits are identical, so Jaguar won’t be able to bring something new to the table without breaking the rules.

Drivetrain

2016 Jaguar I-Type Formula E Race Car
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The drivetrain is also a mystery, but Jaguar did mention it will collaborate with Williams Advanced Engineering on the project. The cooperation isn’t surprising, as Jaguar Land Rover has a long term relationship with Williams, which also partnered on the development of the Jaguar C-X75 plug-in hybrid concept car. All told, both companies have plenty of experience with electric motors from the C-X75, while Williams has already created a battery system for all Formula E cars in 2014.

Jaguar's unit should weigh around 26 kg (57 pounds) and crank out in excess of 200 horsepower.

If previous Formula E motors are any indication, Jaguar’s unit should weigh around 26 kg (57 pounds) and crank out in excess of 200 horsepower, but not more than 268 horses (200 kW) and 170 pound-feet of toque. The allowed energy consumption from the battery is limited at 28 kWh, while its maximum weight is set at 230 kg (507 pounds). Jaguar and Williams also developed a Rechargeable Energy Storage System (RESS), which includes a flywheel and a capacitor or battery.

Competition

Renault e.Dams

Having one the first two Formula E seasons, Renault e.Dams is the team to beat in 2016-2017. The French firm uses its own drivetrain, which is likely related to the one built for Formula One, while its driver lineup consists of Nicolas Prost and Sebastien Buemi, both with the team since the very beginning. e.Dams is part of the Driot Associes Motor Sport, an auto racing team founded by Jean-Paul Driot and former Formula One driver Rene Arnoux (as Driot-Arnoux Motorsport) in 1988. The team has won several championships in various series since its inception, with e.Dams doing the same in Formula E so far.

ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport

Based on previous results, ABT is a strong candidate for next year’s championship. Having placed third and second in 2015 and 2016, respectively, the German team is backed by Audi and uses a drivetrain co-developed with the Schaeffler Group, a major manufacturer of rolling element bearings for automotive, aerospace and industrial uses. For 2016-2017, ABT continues to work with Lucas di Grassi and Daniel Abt as main drivers. The two have been with the team since 2014 and scored four wins and 13 additional podiums in two seasons.

Conclusion

2016 Jaguar I-Type Formula E Race Car
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Though it’s far from being a very popular series compared to Formula One and IndyCar, Formula E has drawn a lot of interest lately, especially after the FIA decided to allow each manufacturer to build its own drivetrain. The goal was to attract more mainstream manufacturers to the sport, and with Jaguar now joining Renault and Mahindra, Formula E could soon expand to include other companies interested in electrifying its lineup. Granted, Jaguar’s comeback won’t be spectacular with Formula E, but it should have an impact on the brand’s future hybrid and electric road cars. Jag’s partnership with Williams for the series is also extremely important, as it may soon spawn high-performance vehicles using either hybrid or electric drivetrains. Hopefully, the Brits will also consider returning to endurance racing with an LMP1 prototype using a hybrid drivetrain that also includes their new electric motor for Formula E.

  • Leave it
    • * FIA restrictions might slow down development
    • * All cars look the same except for the livery

Press Release

Jaguar today announced its return to global motorsport. In the autumn of 2016, Jaguar will enter the third season of the exciting FIA Formula E Championship as a manufacturer with its own team. FIA Formula E is the world’s first global single-seater championship for electric powered cars.

2016 Jaguar I-Type Formula E Race Car
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FIA Formula E offers a unique opportunity for Jaguar Land Rover to further the development of future EV powertrain including motor and battery technology.

Nick Rogers, Group Engineering Director for Jaguar Land Rover, said: “I am proud to announce Jaguar’s return to racing with an entry into the innovative FIA Formula E championship. 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. The Championship will enable us to engineer and test our advanced technologies under extreme performance conditions.

"It is my belief that over the next five years we will see more changes in the automotive world than in the last three decades. The future is about being more connected and more sustainable; electrification and lightweight technologies are becoming more important than ever as urbanisation continues to increase. Formula E has recognised and reacted to these trends and the championship’s exciting and pioneering approach is the perfect fit for our brand."

Jaguar Land Rover employs over 8,000 engineers and is the UK’s largest investor in research and development across any business sector. Jaguar’s Formula E team will be able to draw upon this industry leading resource with Jaguar Land Rover engineers working closely with the race operations team.

Those engineers will not only be able to apply their knowledge within the race team environment but crucially use the experience to extract data and push the boundaries of electric technology in a performance environment.

2016 Jaguar I-Type Formula E Race Car
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Williams Advanced Engineering will be Technical Partner to the Jaguar Formula E Team and provide extensive motorsport knowledge, combined with high performance EV Systems experience and success. Jaguar Land Rover has a long term relationship with Williams, who partnered with Jaguar on the development of the Jaguar C-X75 plug-in hybrid concept car. The team entry has been granted by Formula E and approved by the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA).

Alejandro Agag, Chief Executive Officer for Formula E, said: “We are delighted to welcome Jaguar into Formula E. Jaguar is a brand with a rich sporting heritage and the fact that it is returning to global motorsport with Formula E is a huge endorsement of the championship and its ability to influence the development of electric cars. Jaguar brings with it a passionate fan base that will drive the popularity of the championship across the world and once again shows that Formula E is the future of motorsport.”

Jean Todt, President of the FIA said: “The FIA is pleased to welcome Jaguar as a new manufacturer to enter the FIA Formula E Championship. We built this series to offer an alternative competition for manufacturers to step into the sport and develop road-relevant electric technologies. The choice of Jaguar to come back to motor racing with Formula E is a proof of success. As it forges a path forward for the future of the electric car, Formula E managed to attract one of the most prestigious and historical brand across the automotive industry. I wish them success ahead of their arrival in 2016/2017.”

James Barclay, Jaguar Team Director, said: “We looked in detail at alternative ways of returning to motorsport. This was such an important decision for Jaguar and we wanted to get it right. 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. We have a lot of work to do ahead of the first race but it is a challenge we relish. We hope that we can welcome a new generation of fans to Jaguar through this exciting programme.”

2016 Jaguar I-Type Formula E Race Car
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More details on Jaguar’s return to racing including team presentation, drivers and partners will be released in the run up to season three.

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