Jaguar returns to open-wheel racing with Formula E team [w/video]

Jaguar Formula E front
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One of the most legendary names in motor racing – Jaguar – is returning to the open-wheel racing, but not with an internal-combustion engine. The British company has confirmed its plans to enter the FIA Formula E Championship.

Though the British automaker has revealed little in the way of concrete details, the team is set to join the electric grid for the third season starting next fall. Jaguar will team up with Williams as its technical partner, drawing on the relationship they established in developing the C-X75 hybrid hypercar concept and on Williams' considerable racing expertise. The F1 team founded by Frank Williams developed the battery system for the SRT_01E that all the teams are using currently.

"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," said JLR's chief engineer Nick Rogers. "The Championship will enable us to engineer and test our advanced technologies under extreme performance conditions." The company recently showcased new battery propulsion technology and is said to be developing an electric crossover to be dubbed the Jaguar E-Pace.

Jaguar won Le Mans five times in the 1950s and twice again in 1988 and '90, and racked up victories in touring cars in the early 80s. Most recently Jaguar Racing represented the company in Formula One until then-parent Ford sold the team to Red Bull in 2004 before divesting itself from the company altogether in 2007. Aside from the XKR GT3/GT2 that it furnished to privateer teams, Jaguar has not competed in any major racing series since.

Jaguar joins Audi, Renault, and PSA Peugeot Citroën on the Formula E grid. The announcement coincides with the withdrawal from the series of the Trulli team. Former F1 driver Jarno Trulli took over the outfit from Drayson and is now relinquishing the slot back to the series organizers effective immediately, dropping the grid down to 9 teams and 18 cars until Jaguar takes its place next season.

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- Jaguar Land Rover confirms its electric future with entry for Jaguar into the innovative FIA Formula E Championship
- Formula E to provide a real world performance test bed for future Jaguar Land Rover technology
- Jaguar Land Rover, the UK's leading investor in research and development, strengthens its commitment to British engineering by extending development of electrification technology into the racing environment
- Jaguar Land Rover engineers will work directly with Jaguar's race team to push the boundaries of electrification technology

Tuesday 15 December 2015: 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.

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.

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."

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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