The lifespan of a racing series is rarely quite so curtailed as the Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy. The eTrophy series kicked off in 2018 as a Formula E support series for two seasons. Its aim was to promote electric cars and Jaguar hoped it would keep its electric crossover at the top of mind of attendees, I guess. After having reviewed its strategy in light of the ongoing covid-19 viral pandemic, Jaguar has decided to cancel the series at the end of the current 2019-20 season.
The I-Pace eTrophy never really caught on, and now it’s dead. Did it deserve better? Nah.
I am a huge proponent of electric cars and electric racing, but I’ve never understood why the I-Pace eTrophy existed. It wasn’t particularly interesting to watch, it didn’t have any big name drivers, and nobody wants to watch crossovers race. Though Jaguar does claim that through the eTrophy it learned how to optimize battery management, thermal systems, and torque delivery to increase the range of street-driven I-Pace models by 20 kilometers. Neat.
To Jag’s credit, that’s more trickle down technology from racing than Formula One has contributed in a decade, so that’s something.
According to Inside Electric, the series had plenty of interest from international racing drivers and teams, but because a season could cost as much as $920,000 for a single car, a full grid never materialized. The races were extremely short, the cars were complex and required a lot of work to turn into racing machines, and the races happened all over the world.
Things are tough for Jaguar right now, as the sports car market continues to shrink, Brexit threatens profits, and the coronavirus has held the car industry at gunpoint for the last three months. Every automotive manufacturer is doing a cost benefit analysis on motorsport programs right now, trying to decide where to make cuts. This doesn’t seem like a surprising development for the electric crossover racing series. It was ambitious to begin with and I have to wonder if anyone actually bought an I-Pace because of the on-track action.
The big cat’s FE team director James Barclay commented in a statement released by Jaguar Monday afternoon, “We remain fully committed to electric motorsport and our Jaguar Racing Formula E program as an important part of our transition to electric mobility and Destination Zero. I’m looking forward to the Formula E and eTROPHY seasons resuming if and when it is safe for our team, partners and fans to do so.”
Maybe now that the series is dead, presumably these twelve M-Sport prepared zero emissions track-only vehicles are up for grabs. Jag, I’ve been looking for an electric track day machine, so please hit me up and we’ll work out a price. Sound good? Ta.