4 reasons Jaguar could be a title contender in Season 5 of Formula E
Could the team's third season in Formula E be its best yet?
It’s remarkable how quickly time has gone by recently, especially in motorsport. It’s frankly ludicrous that Formula E is entering its fifth season at the end of 2018, kicking of in Saudi Arabia and then moving to 12 other locations around the globe. Over 330 million people tuned into Formula E races in Season 4, putting it above Moto GP in terms of average race viewers. It has experienced a 48% growth in viewership year-on-year; keep that run going and it’ll be surpassing F1 in no time at all.
OEMs are streaming to the sport – Mercedes will be joining the paddock next year and Porsche the year after. That means by the end of 2020, there will be nine OEMs in a racing series, a first in motorsport history. One team that is growing in strength every year is Jaguar Racing, a team that has recently launched its Season 5 car and seems to have its goals set for the racing kicking off in December.
Nelson Piquet Jr., Mitch Evans and Ho-Pin Tung make up one of the strongest driver line-ups in the Formula E paddock
It’s yet to take a race win but after taking a look at the car and chatting to the drivers and management behind the team, here are the reasons that Jaguar could be true contenders for lifting the Season 5 Team’s trophy in 2019.
It has developed its all-new powertrain in-house
In total, Jaguar has created in excess of 800 new parts for the I-Type 3, over and above the brand new chassis package sent to each team by the FIA. From Jaguar’s initiation into the sport, over 1000 parts have been changed, showing just how quickly the Formula iterates itself and, in-turn, how hard the teams have to work to keep themselves competitive.
For the first time ever in the sport, Jaguar has taken the plunge and has developed its own electric powertrain, putting all of its engineering prowess into maximising power and efficiency whilst keeping weight as minimal as physically possible. It lifts the car’s standard power output from 180kW to 200kW, with the ability to be boosted to 250kW for qualifying. That amounts to a package that can get the I-Type 3 to 62mph in 2.8 seconds, with all of its grunt being sent to the rear wheels only.
The standout section of the car’s powertrain is the MGU (motor generator unit) that can spin in excess of 30,000rpm, twice that of the unit found in a current F1 car. Its job is to recover kinetic energy through regenerative braking, storing it to then charge the batteries onboard the vehicle.
There’s literal space dust in the car
Like all electric cars, the I-Type 3 has something called an inverter which changes the DC power from the batteries to AC power for the electric motors. What’s special about Jaguar’s unit is they’ve been able to make it extremely lightweight and they’ve packaged it just the way they like it. The engineers included state of the art Silicone Carbide control chips (or modules) within the inverter which enables it to switch frequencies very quickly, control temperatures accurately and increase the overall reliability of the car.
Silicone Carbide itself is an extremely rare mineral on Earth and it is essentially space dust, meaning that there’s a hell of a lot of it beyond our atmosphere. The modules in Jaguar’s inverter are made from a very high grade of Silicone Carbide to maximise its efficiency, showing the breadth of engineering and pioneering tech that goes into these all-electric racing cars.
They’ll win the fans over with the I-Pace eTrophy race series
Covering 10 of the races next season, there will be a full support race. In an inspiring move by Jag, the field will be filled with race-prepped I-Pace eTrophy racing cars – stripped out and re-engineered version of the all-electric road car currently on sale. If the Leaping Cat is looking to get noticed and become a fan favourite within the paddock, a pre-race scrap of cars bearing its badge seems like a pretty kick-ass way to go about it.
Jaguar Racing is never shy to publicise its cars and drivers, as well as giving back to the motorsport community. Not too long ago, the team took a trip to the legendary Shelsley Walsh hillclimb course, setting an all-electric record in an I-Type 2 with Mitch Evans at the wheel.
I chatted to Formula E ace Mitch Evans and Team Director James Barclay about how people perceive the all-electric racing series
With Fan Boost (an additional 25kW of power) potentially having a big impact during a vital point in a race, this additional effort away from the 45-minute races could just elevate Jaguar to a position of authority simply through the power of the admiration of fans worldwide.
Its progress in the last two seasons has been immense
Jaguar was one of the first major motoring brands to enter Formula E two seasons ago, with the first year being very much about learning the sport and the practises to get through a race weekend efficiently. Last season saw the team move up a notch, challenging for points at every opportunity. The team managed points finishes in all but two races, showing that the preparation, race direction and race craft had all simultaneously been tweaked and improved.
The team’s improvement was apparent just by looking at the standings. “We accomplished four times the amount of points we accumulated in our first season”, said Team Director James Barclay at the I-Type 3 launch. “We made good progress and there’s more to come. Our next step is moving from a regular points team to a regular podium team, that’s where we need to be getting towards.”
If Jaguar Racing can make the same jump in its third campaign as it did from its first to second season, it seems inevitable that the grey and turquoise car will be deep within the top five in the field at the majority of race weekends. With a continuously confident Team Director, one of the strongest driver pairings and a car that is now brimming with bespoke Jaguar parts, the Leaping Cat could be back where it belongs next season; at the very top of motorsport innovation.