Jaguar announced last year that it would join the Formula E electric car race series, and now with the new season of Formula E set to kick off next month, the British automaker is unveiling its electric race car.
Called the I-Type 1, it marks Jaguar’s return to top-tier racing. Jag has an illustrious racing past, with multiple 24 Hours of Le Mans victories to its credit, but it’s probably never raced anything quite like the electric I Type. The car will be campaigned by the newly branded Jaguar Panasonic Racing.
Spiffy name aside, the I-Type won’t be that different from the other cars on the Formula E grid. That’s because rules require all teams to use the same Spark-Renault SRT_01e chassis, at least for now. Teams are allowed to design their own powertrains, and it’s expected that the rules will eventually loosen up to allow free reign when it comes to the design of chassis as well.
Jaguar’s driver lineup includes 33-year-old Adam Carroll, from Northern Ireland and 22-year-old Kiwi Mitch Evans. Both drivers bring experience racing in other series, with Evans having competed at Le Mans. Jaguar also signed 33-year-old Ho-Pin Tung from China, but since teams only field two cars in Formula E races, he’ll act primarily as a backup.
Formula E may seem like an odd move for Jaguar, which doesn’t offer any electric cars or even hybrids at the moment, but it probably lines up with the carmaker’s future plans. Jaguar is rumored to be developing an electric car for production. Partner Panasonic is already involved in the electric car business, supplying batteries to Tesla and helping out with the company’s massive “gigafactory” in Nevada.
In addition to the debut of Jaguar, Faraday Future will join Formula E for the upcoming season, while Audi will increase its involvement in the series. The 2016-17 season kicks off October 9 in Hong Kong.