Twelve years after pulling out of Formula One, Jaguar is returning to the race track with a factory-backed Formula E team for the 2016-2017 season The series, which is due to enter its third season at the end of next year, is an all-electric version of F1, with high-tech single-seat race cars lapping road circuits at 140mph for 50 minutes - though drivers have to pit half way through to change cars before they run out of battery charge. Jaguar has said it will not only have a full works team for next season, it will also use the knowledge gained and technology used to spearhead its electric vehicle plans for the road. The British carmaker, now owned by Indian firm Tata Motors, will team up with Williams Advanced Engineering for the Formula E project — the company that helped them develop the hybrid C-X75 supercar project, which was the villain car used in the latest James bond Spectre film.
Last season was made up of 11 races in 10 different cities. The second season of the championship saw the introduction of eight manufacturers, who were all allowed to develop new electric powertrains
Nick Rogers, group engineering director for Jaguar Land Rover, said: '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. 'The Championship will enable us to engineer and test our advanced technologies under extreme performance conditions. 'It is my belief that over the next five years we will see more changes in the automotive world than in the last three decades. 'The future is about being more connected and more sustainable; electrification and lightweight technologies are becoming more important than ever as urbanisation continues to increase. 'Formula E has recognised and reacted to these trends and the championship's exciting and pioneering approach is the perfect fit for our brand.'
Jaguar is one of the first major carmakers to enter the FIA series — the same governing body for F1. Renault and Citroen already have entries and last year's driver line-up included a raft of former Formula 1 drivers including Bruno Senna, nephew of the late Ayrton, and Alain Prost's son Nicolas. Jaguar, which unveiled its new car on Tuesday, has yet to put names to its driver line-up. James Barclay, Jaguar team director, said: 'With our future EV plans, Formula E was the obvious choice and we believe that the benefits are enormous. 'The FIA and the promoter have exciting plans for the future of the championship and we are proud to be one of the first vehicle manufacturers to commit to the series with our own team. 'We have a lot of work to do ahead of the first race but it is a challenge we relish. We hope that we can welcome a new generation of fans to Jaguar through this exciting programme.'