Jaguar reports back in racing sport

December 15, 2015 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
British motor icon Jaguar will re-enter the racing sport. What sounds like exciting news gets even more interesting if one knows more about the motivation to this move – and about the vehicle it will drive with on the racing tracks.

In contrast to earlier years – Jaguar Racing went out of the racing business in 2004 – the company now plans not to participate in Formula One races but in Formula E, the new class of auto racing exclusively dedicated to vehicles with an all-electric powertrain. And it won’t participate under the famous Jaguar Racing flag but under the Jaguar Land Rover brand, the brand of its parent company. The move to join Formula E is a clear hint that JLR sees more headroom for technology development in this technology segment. “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”, explains Nick Rogers, Group Engineering Director for JLR. “The championship will enable us to engineer and test our advanced technologies under extreme performance conditions.”

Rogers also expressed his belief that the automotive world is heading towards disruptive changes. “Over the next five years we will see more changes in the automotive world than in the last three decades”, he said. Besides being more connected and more sustainable, the world can expect that, driven by increasing urbanisation, the vehicles of the future will increasingly be driven by electric motors.

Formula E specifications provide for a maximum power of 200 kilowatts (equivalent to 272 horsepower) of which however only 150 kW can be used during the races with the exception of a feature unique to Formula E called FanBoost. This feature allows drivers to temporarily activate additional 30 kW. Though the maximum speed of 225 kmph is lower than Formula One with its maximum speed of 360 kmph, the electric racing cars are at least at eye level with their conventional counterparts when it comes to acceleration – in less than 3 seconds they have reached the mark of 100 kmph (62 mph). The Motor Generator Unit (MGU) as the heart of the vehicles is provided by McLaren, the same company that also provides the electronic control units for Formula One (the microprocessors, by the way, typically come from Freescale / NXP). In contrast to most commercially available electric cars, the Formula E vehicles are equipped with a five-speed gearbox.