The final pre-season test for the all-new Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy took place at Rockingham Motor Speedway last week ahead of the opening round of the campaign at Ad Diriyah in Saudi Arabia on 15 December, with up to 20 Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy racecars expected for the first round of the season.
The previously announced entrants; Katherine Legge, Bryan Sellers, Caca Bueno, Sergio Jimenez and Simon Evans were joined by multi-car entrants from Saudi Arabia, China and Germany; who are due to announce their team and driver details in the next couple of weeks.
Cacá Bueno, Jaguar Brazil Racing driver was on-hand and excited to start a new racing chapter, saying: “We’ve been working with the racecar and testing the limits of what it can do this week, ready for our first race in December. Sérgio and I are both aiming to win and the first race will be totally new for all of us but promises to be a lot of fun.”
His Jaguar Brazil Racing team-mate Sergio Jimenez was similarly excited, adding: “This test was about working the car hard, playing with the set up and replicating the city street circuits we’ll be racing on when the season starts. Cacá and I make a good team and while the championship is new to all of us, we’re confident we can get good results.”
The two Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing drivers, Katherine Legge and Bryan Sellers were similarly enthusiastic after the test.
Katherine Legge said: “Coming into this series at the very beginning as the cars are being developed is really the fun part. The car is so different to anything else I’ve done before.
“It’s so quiet compared to a combustion engine and it’s very well refined, it gets up to speed quickly and it’ll be great for the street circuits. We’re all super excited for the season to start – we’re bringing electric racing to the people, in cars they can go out and buy.”
Bryan Sellers said: “It’s good to be back in the car – on day one we were working on the balance of the car and found some good gains. After we put these into practice on day two we really made progress and I think we’re in a good place for the first race.”
Simon Evans is the only confirmed Team Asia Pacific driver for the upcoming season and despite this being a very different kind of racing to what he is used to, he is enjoying the championship so far, saying: “I really enjoy driving the car. It’s very different to the racing I’ve done before which is all about learning things as you go along.
“This is a whole new learning experience for me – how the power and split works between the front and rear motors is really interesting and is very cool.
“You don’t have the sensory cues that you’re used to with combustion engines so you’re looking at your speed more and looking for different senses to guide you.”
Also in attendance at Rockingham was British model and racing enthusiast David Gandy, who drove a Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy racecar around the 1.7 m circuit. As well as attending several Formula E races, Gandy has raced for Jaguar in the Mile Milgia with a Jaguar XK120, so is a massive fan of the all-new Jaguar racing series.
David Gandy said: “This is a hugely impressive car. I was initially sceptical about electric cars, but now after driving the Jaguar I-PACE and the I-PACE eTROPHY I’m a convert.
“The racecar is so powerful but it’s a friendly car to drive – it’s a lot of fun and holding your speed around the corners is a test of nerve. I’m already a Formula E fan but adding the element of production car racing will add something special. I’ll definitely be watching.”
When the Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy series makes in debut in Saudi Arabia, it will become the ABB FIA Formula E Championship’s first official support series. The new championship will take place over ten rounds in nine prominent cities around the world, starting in Riyadh in December and ending up in New York City next July. The series will field up to 20 drivers who will be competing for a prize fund of in excess of £500,000 in the first all-electric production car series which will be a motorsport first.
Championship Manager of the Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy, Marion Barnaby was happy with how the pre-season preparations and is excited to see the cars race for the first time in Saudi Arabia, saying: “I’m really pleased with the performance of the cars and all of the drivers this week. As well as banking valuable test laps, the drivers went through a full grid and race start, getting ready for our first race. We can’t wait to get started.”