A field of up to 20 cars will race during the Formula E weekend schedule of 10 events in the 2018/19 season, giving the eTrophy a role similar to that of the Formula 1-supporting Porsche Supercup series.
To prepare the all-electric I-Pace SUV for the harsh environment of racing, SVO will equip it with competition suspension, a roll cage and other track-spec modifications such as a fixed rear wing and diffuser.
Jaguar has yet to confirm the power output of the production I-Pace, let alone the racer, but the concept that previews it offers some insight into the performance we can expect. It uses four electric motors to power each wheel, with a combined 395bhp and 516lb ft, with energy supplied by a 90kWh lithium-ion battery. The concept can hit 62mph in around four seconds, but performance of the racer could be enhanced with increased output as well as a reduced kerbweight.
Earlier this year, Autocar revealed how Jaguar was using the development work of its Formula E programme, where it fields two cars in the Panasonic Jaguar Racing team, to speed up the progress of its I-Pace road model. The launch of the I-Pace racing series is seen as a way to boost the appeal of Jaguar’s first electric car, which was described as being a “driver’s car” that “maximises performance” by the brand’s Formula E team director James Barclay.
Jaguar Racing chairman Gerd Mäuser said: “We’ve always said we want to prove our electrification technologies on the track – this is the proof. I am looking forward to seeing a full grid of Jaguar I-Pace race cars in late 2018, soon after the first Jaguar I-Pace hits the road in Europe. Ultimately, this innovative series will enhance the technology in our future electric vehicles and benefit our customers.”
The launch of the eTrophy series will help to pad out the weekend schedule of Formula E events, which so far have lacked a support series. The driverless series Roborace was supposed to fill some of this void, but its introduction has been delayed.
Formula E founder and CEO Alejandro Agag said: “I’m delighted that we will be adding to our race-day schedule with a competitive new support series for season five. The Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy will bring more entertainment for fans in-between sessions and will be a further testament to the advances in battery technology and exciting electric performance.”
Jaguar’s eTrophy series looks set to be the world’s first FIA-sanctioned international production-based electric vehicle series. It can't lay claim to being the first electric production racing championship overall - that title will go to the Electric GT series, which uses the Tesla Model S and kicks off this November.