Jaguar has revealed its first-ever Formula E single-seater racing car – and it’s calling it the I-Type.
The new EV racer was launched next to the huge Jaguar Land Rover R&D centre at Gaydon, whose 9,000 engineers Jaguar promises are going to be heavily involved in the development and tech transfer of the new Formula E racing car.
Jaguar hopes to fast-track breakthroughs for future electric road cars by pushing the tech to its limits on the racetrack first – just like the firm’s founder Sir William Lyons used to do.
Japanese tech giant Panasonic is to be involved here too, announced Jaguar Racing: indeed, as title partner for the race team, it means the official title for Jaguar’s racing return operation is Panasonic Jaguar Racing.
The two already have branding for their racing development programme: Race To Innovate, which will “use the championship as a platform to develop the next generation of electric powered racing cars”.
Panasonic executive officer Mike Nagayasu attended the Jaguar I-Type launch and said this was a strategic partnership between the two firms: “We will provide the support and resources to achieve top results in Formula E.”
The firm has watched the first two seasons of Formula E with interest, he added, and now “wants to build on Panasonic’s legacy in motorsport”. The company was previously the title sponsor of the now-defunct Toyota Formula 1 team and is also closely involved in NASCAR racing.
But first, there’s the small matter of a racing series debut to make – and Jaguar doesn’t have long: the 2016/17 Formula E season starts early next month in Hong Kong!
Hence the big launch and reveal of the car’s name today; Jaguar’s also been testing the I-Type 1 at Donington in preparation for the first race on 9 October.
The driver line-up is Northern Irishman Adam Carroll and New Zealander Mitch Evans, with China’s Ho-Pin Tung as reserve driver.
Hopes for the start of the season are being kept in check and the team is under no illusions, said team manager James Barclay. “Expectations are in check but I can assure you we will be racing hard from the start of the season.”
How long before Jaguar wins again in a global FIA motorsport series, then?
Watch: Jaguar I-Type Formula E racer launched