For the first time since concluding its Formula 1 program at the end of 2004, the historic Jaguar brand will return to global motorsport with a factory-backed constructor effort in the FIA Formula E Championship’s third season in 2016/17.
The announcement comes hot on the heels of Trulli GP’s immediate withdrawal from the series, meaning the championship will return to a full complement of 20 entries for season three. Approved by the FIA as an accredited Formula E manufacturer, Jaguar will develop its own EV powertrain technology for its team.
It is this technical development opportunity that has attracted the car manufacturer to Formula E, according to Jaguar Land Rover Group Engineering Director Nick Rogers.
“I am proud to announce Jaguar’s return to racing with an entry into the innovative FIA Formula E championship,” he said. “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. Formula E has recognised and reacted to these trends and the championship’s exciting and pioneering approach is the perfect fit for our brand.”
Further details on Jaguar’s team, including its driving team will follow in the lead up to the third season.
According to FIA Formula E CEO Alejandro Agag, the presence of Jaguar is a massive addition for the series.
“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,” he added.
“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.”
“We built this series to offer an alternative competition for manufacturers to step into the sport and develop road-relevant electric technologies,” added FIA President Jean Todt.
“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.”
In addition to the Jaguar announcement, Todt also confirmed that existing team Dragon Racing – currently a customer of constructor/team Venturi – has also gained its own manufacturer status for 2016/17.
“It is encouraging to see the number of requests [to be a Formula E constructor] increasing all the time, and that the technological solutions proposed by constructors currently involved in the championship are quite different from one another.
“It’s an indication of the vitality and attractiveness of this series.”
Images via Getty Images for Jaguar Land Rover and Motorsport.com