Jaguar confirms Formula E entry as precursor to electric cars

British marque will enter all electric racing series in 2016 before launching first EV

Jaguar has confirmed it will enter the FIA Formula E World Championship in Autumn 2016.

Rumours that the marque was readying an announcement were first reported by Sky News in early December. An official announcement today confirmed those rumours.

A statement provided by Jaguar said the firm hoped all-electric motor sport would "provide a real world performance test bed for future Jaguar Land Rover technology."

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This confirms that Jaguar Land Rover is interested in developing a range of electric vehicles, which could be with us soon. The firm joins Audi, Renault and Citroen/DS as manufacturers with some form of involvement in the all-electric series, as well as the technology wing of McLaren.

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Jaguar's racing team will work alongside Williams Advanced Engineering – the technology wing of the Williams Formula 1 team – to develop their electric powertrain.

The two companies previously worked together to create the plug-in C-X75 Hybrid supercar concept, which eventually morphed into the Jaguar driven by villain Mr Hinx in the latest James Bond film, Spectre.

Electric Jaguars and Land Rovers on the way

The big news is Jaguar Land Rover's plans to use the racing series as a platform to develop electric cars.

Autocar reports that it is still unclear whether JLR will launch an electric Jaguar or Land Rover first, but says it is rumoured that Jaguar is planning to reveal an electric concept car at the 2016 Paris Motor show, to preview a production model in 2017.

The concept is touted to be a small SUV, following in the footsteps of Jaguar's first 4x4, the F-Pace. It will go head to head with Tesla's upcoming Model X electric SUV and will go on sale in 2017 priced around £60,000 and with a range of 300 miles, says the magazine.

Car magazine also highlights the likelihood of the group's first electric car being a small Jaguar crossover. It claims the car could be called the 'E-Pace', and uses renders to show what the battery powered Jaguar could look like.

Jaguar's motorsport heritage

JLR's entry into Formula E marks the first factory-backed Jaguar team in motor sport since they pulled out of Formula 1 in 2004. Jaguar Racing, owned by Ford, competed in 85 Grands Prix but failed to make an impact on the sport and never won a race.

But the company's motor sport heritage in sports car racing is glittering - Jaguar has won Le Mans outright seven times, though not since 1990.

According to Autosport, Jaguar's team will 'pay homage' to their motor sport heritage when more details about the new racing team are confirmed.

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