Jaguar has today confirmed its return to motorsport with a works Formula E programme that will make its debut in the 2016/17 season.
The British manufacturer will take the place of the Trulli Formula E team, which has announced its withdrawal from the series with immediate effect.
While Jaguar is one of the most successful marques ever to compete at Le Mans 24 Hours, having won the world-famous endurance event seven times, the manufacturer has not fielded a works motorsport entry since its withdrawal from F1 at the end of the 2004 season.
The announcement comes as the Jaguar Land Rover Group makes its first forays into the electric vehicles market, having drawn headlines in recent months with its C-X75 hybrid roadcar – the star of Spectre.
Speaking to Autosport, Nick Rogers, Jaguar Land Rover Group Director of Group Engineering, commented: “The way Formula E’s technology roadmap is laid out is really going to pull parts of the technology that are going to be incredibly relevant to the real world. Also, you can’t beat being part of a racing team. To be involved in racing is just the absolute ultimate.”
Jaguar worked closely with Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE) in the development of the C-X75 hybrid roadcar, and has appointed WAE Managing Director Craig Wilson as Race Director of the new team.
Wilson commented: “One of the exciting things is looking at which is the best direction to go in and how to hone that. We’re pretty excited by C-X75, which is naturally flowing into the Formula E – the battery and motor it uses is a fundamental foundation of the championship. As it goes forward we’ll look at other technologies. It’s really exciting.”
The team’s inaugural driver line-up, team name and livery are yet to be confirmed, although Jaguar team director James Barclay has hinted that the famous British Racing Green could be set for its debut on the Formula E grid: “The nice thing about returning to Formula E is it’s about taking racing to a lot of people who are new to motorsport, while for people who know about our past success it heralds a new era. Clearly what we’ll do is pay homage to the past but we’ll wait to confirm exactly how we’ll manifest that in livery and team name.”
No details were provided regarding the official launch of the 2016/17 car and the team ahead of Jaguar’s entry next season.