The fast evolv­ing ma­chines of For­mula E

They mightn’t be any­where near as fast as F1, but this up­start race series is se­duc­ing big names like Jaguar with its all-elec­tric for­mula

Motor (Australia) - - IN THE KNOW -

Pana­sonic Jaguar Rac­ing came last in the For­mula E (FE) team stand­ings for 2016-17, their first sea­son in the elec­tric sin­gle-seater race series. But looked at an­other way, they were the first of the pre­mium man­u­fac­tur­ers to com­mit fully to the series. And that means they’ve had more chance to learn how to make elec­tric cars go fast, re­li­ably and eco­nom­i­cally. That could prove to be price­less as Jaguar read­ies its i-Pace race series, which starts at the end of 2018. The new car, the i-Type 2, is driven by FE’s first cham­pion, Nel­son Pi­quet Jnr, and 2012 GP3 champ, Kiwi Mitch Evans. Team di­rec­tor James Barclay is qui­etly op­ti­mistic about their chances of some de­cent re­sults, which is al­ready prov­ing true for the 2017-18 sea­son given the sec­ond-gen car is a much bet­ter racer. “We learnt a lot in our first year back in rac­ing and we have been work­ing re­ally hard to put that knowl­edge and ex­pe­ri­ence to the test,” he tells us. “We have made some im­prove­ments to the Jaguar i-Type 2, the driver line-up and tech­ni­cal team.” It’s the right series at the right time: “For­mula E con­tin­ues to grow ex­po­nen­tially. As the first pre­mium man­u­fac­turer to join the series we feel that de­ci­sion has been vin­di­cated with the likes of Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Porsche set to join.” “Whereas the pre­vi­ous car was put to­gether in a hurry, i-Type 2 has had more con­sid­ered in­put from Jaguar and tech­ni­cal part­ners Wil­liams Ad­vanced En­gi­neer­ing. “The im­prove­ments have made the Jaguar i-Type 2 a more ef­fi­cient over­all pack­age, al­low­ing the driv­ers to ex­tract max­i­mum per­for­mance. Key ar­eas of im­prove­ment are the weight of the car, which is now far lighter, and the car’s cen­tre of grav­ity has been low­ered to im­prove its dy­namic bal­ance. We have also worked to im­prove the ef­fi­ciency of our pow­er­train with a new de­sign.” And what works on the track will shape elec­tri­fied road cars. “The race pro­gram pro­vides Jaguar Land Rover with the op­por­tu­nity to bring learn­ings from ex­treme per­for­mance con­di­tions to the road – ben­e­fit­ing the range and per­for­mance of our prod­uct lines as we look ahead to the launch of fur­ther elec­tri­cal ve­hi­cles,” says Barclay. “One of the main chal­lenges for For­mula E is the use of street cir­cuits. In other mo­tor­sports, races are com­pleted on well­main­tained tracks. In For­mula E we are rac­ing on tem­po­rary cir­cuits. In ad­di­tion, en­ergy man­age­ment is a key area dur­ing the race for the driv­ers and en­gi­neers to op­ti­mise. “It’s im­por­tant that the series uses street cir­cuits. It opens up the sport to a whole new au­di­ence, and makes it more ac­ces­si­ble. We get to go to places like Hong Kong, New York and Paris only be­cause we are rac­ing with elec­tric cars.” And win­ning? “This sea­son we are be­ing re­al­is­tic about our suc­cess. Our aim is to be reg­u­larly com­pet­ing for points. How­ever, this is only our sec­ond sea­son and we know the com­pe­ti­tion is fierce.”

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