PREVIEW: 2018-19 Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy Rounds nine and ten New York City – Jimenez on top as fight for the title reaches its climax

by Nathan Hine
Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy Grid heading down to the first corner at Berlin Templehof Airport circuit

The 2018-19 Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy approaches its final stages as the all-electric production car racing series heads to its final round of the season to the Brooklyn Street Circuit in New York City for this weekend’s final encounter. And after eight enthralling and unpredictable rounds of wheel-banging action, Sergio Jimenez heads the pack on 107 points, but with the top five drivers covered by just 40 points heading to the final round of racing, it is all to play for.

Jimenez finds himself at the top of the championship due to the Brazilian’s inate consistency, finishing on the podium in seven out of the eight races this season. Six points clear at the top of the championship, the Brazilian has the best chance of bringing the title home, but with four drivers hungry to take the crown home themselves, it will be a tough weekend for the Brazilian.

Current championship leader Sérgio Jimenez said ahead of the final weekend: “New York is the final race of the season and we are where we planned to be back at the beginning of the year: leading the championship and ready to fight for the first Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY title. I’m very confident going into this race. For the past few races we have found a good setup for the    I-PACE, so it makes it easier for us to fine tune during the practice sessions. I believe the races will be close and, hopefully, I can bring the title back to Brazil.”

Bryan Sellers finds himself second place in the title fight, but he will be hoping to use his home advantage at the double-header season finale to snatch the championship from the heels of the Brazilian racers. But the only American driver on the grid is taking nothing for granted.

As heading to his home event in New York City, the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing driver is as calm and collected as usual: “I will approach the weekend the exact same way as all other weekends and try and execute to the best of my ability. I fully expect that we will be competitive and fight for the race win. Without a doubt this will be the most difficult weekend, but I think we are up for the challenge.”

Close behind, Caca Bueno will be high in confidence in New York after the Brazilian racer won the last two races in Monaco and Berlin, which has seen him cut the championship deficit to his team-mate to just 16 points ahead of the season finale. Similarly, the first Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy race winner Simon Evans is still within shooting distance as the New Zealander finds himself 20 points behind Jimenez approaching the final weekend of the year.

This weekend will see the crowning of two champions in the Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy, as the fight for the Pro-Am championship approaches its final stages. At the top of the table is Saudi Racing driver Bandar Alesayi having led the title race since the first round of the season in Ad Diriyah last December. But in hot pursuit, gaining form and momentum throughout the season, Yaqi Zhang has now become a factor in the final two rounds just 17 points behind in the fight for the title. But having led the championship since race one and with only 42 points on the table, surely Alesayi just needs to keep it clean to claim the Pro-Am class title.

The final driver taking to the Jaguar VIP Car this season is automotive journalist Mark Hacking. The Canadian will be racing in both races around the 2.3 km Brooklyn Street Circuit in the heart of New York City. He will be writing about his experience of racing in the Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy in Luxury Magazine, which showcases the finest in luxury travel, technology and transportation.

Mark Hacking, VIP guest driver for New York, said: “I’m thrilled and honoured to be racing in the Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY race in Brooklyn. I’m looking forward to hitting the track and seeing exactly what the race version of the I-PACE can do as well as mixing it up with the other drivers.”

So as the inaugural season of the Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy draws to its climax, Sergio Jimenez heads the title fight on 107 points. But with Sellers, Bueno, Evans and even Katherine Legge within touching distance of the title, who will emerge victorious in the first ever season of the all-electric production car racing series..?

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