Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy
Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy £240,000 WE SAY: AN ADVERT FOR THE POTENTIAL OF JAGUAR’S ELECTRIC CAR
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.