Jaguar Land Rover announces its return to international motorsport in the Formula E series for electric single-seater racing cars
Mark Tisshaw
15 December 2015

Jaguar will return to front-line motorsport with a factory team in the FIA Formula E championship as a precursor to the arrival of new electric-powered Jaguar Land Rover production cars.

Jaguar Racing launches factory Formula E effort

The Jaguar team will start racing next autumn in the third season of the Formula E championship. JLR has said the championship “offers a unique opportunity for Jaguar Land Rover to further the development of future EV powertrain, including motor and battery, technology”.

A JLR statement read: “Jaguar Land Rover engineers will work directly with Jaguar’s race team to push the boundaries of electrification technology.”

Why Jaguar Racing is going electric for Formula E

JLR has not confirmed which of its brands will launch its first electric road car or when it will happen. However, Autocar understands Jaguar is readying a radically styled electric crossover for the Paris motor show next autumn and the timing will coincide with Jaguar’s entry to Formula E.

The concept is understood to closely preview a production car due to arrive in 2017 as a rival to the Tesla Model X. The styling is understood to heavily reference the C-X75 supercar concept. A range of around 300 miles for the battery-powered vehicle has been mooted, as has a price of around £60,000.

The car is understood to sit on the same aluminium architecture as the Jaguar XE, XF and F-Pace and have industry-leading electric technology, possibly including in-wheel electric motors. 

Jaguar’s race team will work with Williams Advanced Engineering, the pair having collaborated on the C-X75 concept car, a plug-in hybrid.

Formula E will act as a live test bed for developing electric technology for JLR vehicles and engineers from the road car side will work closely with the race team.

JLR chief engineer Nick Rogers used his announcement of Jaguar’s racing return to confirm that electric vehicles would “absolutely” play a role in Jaguar Land Rover’s future product portfolio, while refusing to say when these production vehicles would be launched, or whether an electric Jaguar would beat an electric Land Rover to the showrooms. The fact that the racer is a Jaguar and not a Land Rover is “not significant”, he says.

The latest announcement puts the crossover’s expected first sighting conveniently close to the Formula E Jaguar’s debut races, but for now, Nick Rogers isn’t keen to talk specifics, except about the new racing project.

”Formula E gives us a unique opportunity to further the development of electrification,” said Rogers. “We’ll be able to engineer and test our technologies under extreme performance conditions.”

Williams Advanced Engineering is already experienced in Formula E as the battery supplier and a designer of hybrid systems for Le Mans cars. Rogers said a significant number of his own engineers will be involved in the project.

“The future is about being more connected and more sustainable,” he added. “Electrification and lightweight technologies are becoming more important than ever as urbanisation increases. Formula E has recognised and reacted to these trends, which are perfect for our brand.”

Formula E cars were required to use common powertrain and chassis components for the first season, but new powertrain providers were allowed this year and in Jaguar’s first year — tipped to begin in September 2016 with a race in Montreal and include a new Hong Kong race — battery capacities rise from 28 to 32kWh, while peak engine power will rise by 25 percent to 250kW. The year after that, the minimum weight for a Formula E car, including driver, will fall from the current 888kg to 850kg.

Jaguar has yet to reveal the make-up of its team, or its driver line-up, but has appointed a team director, James Barclay. “We are proud to be one of the first vehicle manufacturers to commit to a series with our own team,” said Barclay. “We look forward to welcoming a whole new generation of Jaguar fans.”

Jaguar’s previous high-profile forays into motor racing have included: the early 1950s Le Mans efforts; the TWR-engineered XJS touring car and successful Le Mans campaigns of the 1980s and the disastrous Formula 1 bid in the early 2000s.

Our Verdict

Jaguar XE

Jaguar's first attempt at a compact exec saloon is good - very good. But can the XE hold off the BMW 3 Series and Alfa Romeo Guilia to retain its crown?

Join the debate

Comments
8

10 December 2015
Not really sure how taking part in a race series will help JLR accelerate development of a great electric production road car. Seems like an unnecessary diversion. Will it not take scarce engineering talent away from the hugely resource intensive development process? But good for them if they are serious about electric vehicles.

10 December 2015
paddyb wrote:

Not really sure how taking part in a race series will help JLR accelerate development of a great electric production road car. Seems like an unnecessary diversion. Will it not take scarce engineering talent away from the hugely resource intensive development process? But good for them if they are serious about electric vehicles.

It would be unusual (and brave) for any manufacturer to take development staff from the design studio and put them in a race series; what's more likely here is that the team will be run predominately by Williams, and development of the race cars will be shared with R&D.

15 December 2015
It sounds like Williams will do the majority of the work, but it wouldn't surprise me if they rotate some of the road car team into the race team, as as much as anything there is a huge cultural benefit. What takes a month to do in Coventry will take days in Grove. Only slight problem can be like Honda had in the early 2000's when they'd send engineers over from Japan, and just as they'd get up to speed they'd have to return back home. Drove BAR mad...

15 December 2015
Phil R wrote:

It sounds like Williams will do the majority of the work, but it wouldn't surprise me if they rotate some of the road car team into the race team, as as much as anything there is a huge cultural benefit. What takes a month to do in Coventry will take days in Grove. Only slight problem can be like Honda had in the early 2000's when they'd send engineers over from Japan, and just as they'd get up to speed they'd have to return back home. Drove BAR mad...

Coventry to Grove is a slightly shorter journey :-)

I'm sure JLR have a separate team working on EV technology, this sounds like a sensible way of pushing the boundaries in an experimental series.

15 December 2015
They should have used the Land Rover brand. That way they could justify making the car so wide that nothing could overtake it as with the car range that are too fat for British streets and parking spaces :). Sorry could not resist.

15 December 2015
Perhaps the consumer EV could take a leaf (no pun) out of the Formula E playbook? As one "racing" car rolls into the pits and becomes redundant then an entirely different one emerges onto the track. So simply sell EVs in pairs, just like Formula E. Then you would always have one charged up. The cost would double but then you'd get double the grant and probably even more free taxpayers' money for saving the planet and everything. A case of motorsport tech filtering down nicely to the masses.

16 December 2015
Can't we bypass this whole failure of a racing series which is Formula E. Just create Formula H and really support up and coming technologies. Not supporting a technology that was started in cars over a 100 years ago and was forgotten about to the point of being redundant because it was deemed useless (bar milk floats), only for 100 years later we are dragging the technology in to the 21st century and with not much success. Save the Lithium and roll on hydrogen.

8 August 2016
...hydrogen power is all well and good but, if I recall correctly, it was pointed out that, as the emissions would be mostly water vapour, it would result in very wet roads and, especially in more colder climates, a very real ice risk. If the 30 million or so cars on UK roads eventually became hydrogen powered then there is a very real possibility that the car in front is not only a Toyota but also a mobile ice-rink generator.
Sarky traffic cops before speed cameras were invented.......... "Having trouble taking off Wing Commander?"

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Lexus LC500
    Car review
    20 October 2017
    Futuristic Lexus LC coupé mixes the latest technology with an old-school atmospheric V8
  • Maserati Levante S GranSport
    First Drive
    20 October 2017
    Get ready to trade in your diesels: Maserati’s luxury SUV finally gets the engine it’s always needed
  • Jaguar XF Sportbrake TDV6
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The handsome Jaguar XF Sportbrake exhibits all the hallmarks that makes the saloon great, and with the silky smooth diesel V6 makes it a compelling choice
  • Volkswagen T-Roc TDI
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    Volkswagen's new compact crossover has the looks, the engineering and the build quality to be a resounding success, but not with this diesel engine
  • BMW M550i
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The all-paw M550i is a fast, effortless mile-muncher, but there's a reason why it won't be sold in the UK