The British marque's motorsport history runs deep, and after a lengthy absence it's picked the all-electric championship to make its comeback. The R&D involved will inspire new cars.
Jaguar is returning to motorsport. The British car manufacturer will grace race circuits all over the world as it competes in the all-electric FIA Formula E series in late 2016.
The company is partnering with Williams Advanced engineering, a company it has past form with after collaborating on the C-X75 hybrid hypercar protoypes. It intends to use Willams' expertise in race operations to keep the team running smoothly, as well as collaborating in the R&D and testing phases.
Testing will start in the spring of 2016 and the team's first race is set for September of the same year.
"We firmly believe electrification is the future," said Nick Rogers, Jaguar Land Rover's (JLR) group engineering director. As a result of the R&D done for the series, "We will be releasing a portfolio of electric JLR vehicles," he added.
Stressing the importance of the development work going into the team, Rogers expressed a wish to eke out every last watt on offer to not only make the race car go faster, but also make its electric road offerings better.
The venture will allow Jaguar to grow its fan base, according to James Barclay, Jaguar's Formula E team director. The team's full name, the car's livery and driver lineup will be revealed soon, he promised.
Formula E's lack of noise has concerned traditional motorsport fans in its opening season. Would Jaguar do something to change it? Barclay commented that he was suprised by the noise the cars make in person and that the great racing the series offers is what draws people in. Rogers added: "We don't want to fake the noise, do we?"
For now, Jaguar says it's not about winning, but about the R&D the series necessitates, though it's safe to say the team would like some shiny new silverware in the lobby.
Jaguar is no stranger to motorsport, having competed at events such as the Mille Miglia, Le Mans and even Formula One. It used those sports to drive tech forward to benefit its road cars, as it hopes to here. You know the disc brakes on your car? Those were first developed for the Jaguar C-Types in the '50s so they could stop better than the competition.
The electric announcements aren't the only thing Jaguar released this week. It also dropped a new vehicle in its F line, the "F-Sleigh". Launched at an event showing off JLR-branded gear, the F-Sleigh was presented all in ice and looked a bit swish -- for a Santa who wants to jazz up his yearly run.