Jaguar I-Pace eTro­phy



We like the Jaguar I-Pace. It’s a ter­rific elec­tric car. Now it’s a rac­ing car as well. It’s a lit­tle less suc­cess­ful at this, but for rea­sons I’ll come to, that hardly mat­ters.

It’s built in-house by Jaguar’s SVO team. The me­chan­i­cal pack­age is mostly car­ried over from the EV400 road car, so there’s an elec­tric mo­tor on each axle gen­er­at­ing a com­bined 395bhp. It’s no light­weight, though. Rac­ing drains bat­ter­ies fast, so the cells that prom­ise a 292-mile range on the one hand, should en­able a mere 25 min­utes of fast lap­ping on the other.

More work has gone into tweak­ing the soft­ware to cope with the de­mands of rac­ing. Teams will have a choice of four maps, 11 ABS set­tings (de­spite the switch to AP Rac­ing brakes, the stop­pers still have their brake re­gen­er­a­tion func­tion), and will be able to ad­just the sus­pen­sion, anti-roll bars and rear wing. The diffs are open, the torque split feeds a lit­tle more to the rear than the front to help re­sist un­der­steer and the tyres are road-le­gal Miche­lins.

Af­ter 10 min­utes, the tyres over­heat, but that just means the I-Pace starts to slide around and mis­be­have, which should add to the vis­ual spec­ta­cle. The driv­ing is su­per-sim­ple. There’s only one for­ward gear, so, once rolling, you’re ei­ther ac­cel­er­at­ing or brak­ing.

Elec­tric rac­ing cars are a chal­lenge be­cause you sim­ply don’t get the sen­sa­tions back from the car that you do with petrol ones. The I-Pace has no steer­ing feel, and throt­tle mod­u­la­tion is tricky be­cause of the in­stant-torque char­ac­ter­is­tics of the e-mo­tors. Corner­ing it­self is fun. A low cen­tre of grav­ity and a front end with sur­pris­ing bite mean it turns in well, and is nicely bal­anced too. The brakes work a treat and the re­gen is un­de­tectable.

Now to the ques­tion of what it’s for. The plan is for 20 of these to form a sup­port race at 10 rounds of next sea­son’s For­mula E cham­pi­onship. The price is high: the car is £240,000 and a spot on the grid for the sea­son is an­other £540,000. That’s a huge in­vest­ment, pred­i­cated around the fact the value in the rac­ing here is not in the cars, but the ad­ver­tis­ing po­ten­tial.

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