Nine months after Jaguar announced it was joining all-electric racing series Formula E, the company has unveiled its two drivers, the final livery for its cars, and announced a new title sponsor for its race team: Panasonic. Going forward, the team will be known as Panasonic Jaguar Racing. The team will make its debut at the first race of the third season of Formula E, which takes place October 9th in Hong Kong.
Piloting the two Panasonic Jaguar Racing cars will be Adam Carroll, an Irish driver who runs in the World Endurance Championship and won a championship in A1 GP, a short-lived “World Cup” of motorsports, and Mitch Evans, a driver from New Zealand who won a GP3 championship and most recently competed in GP2. The car, which the team calls the I-Type 1, looks similar to the one that was teased last December, just more fine-tuned and with a big Panasonic logo on all sides.
Panasonic is joining the team as part of a multi-year partnership, though the company will initially serve as a title sponsor only. Williams Advanced Engineering developed the batteries for Formula E and has a technical partnership with the Jaguar team that started before the car company’s involvement in Formula E. That could change as Formula E continues to open up the series — the FIA, Formula E’s governing body, is already having companies compete for the contract to make a new battery that will be used from season five onward. Either way, Panasonic is one of the leading battery makers (it has a big partnership with Tesla and the Gigafactory) and this is a good chance to promote that side of the company.
On the Jaguar Land Rover side of things, the British automotive giant revealed in December that it plans to use Formula E as a stepping stone on the road to making multiple electric vehicles. As Nick Rogers — the company’s executive director of product engineering — put it in a statement today, “the Formula E championship will enable us to engineer and test our advanced technologies under extreme performance conditions.” The manufacturer is not alone; it joins Citroën DS, Renault, Faraday Future, NextEV, Mahindra, and even BMW (though the German company has not yet officially confirmed its involvement), each of which act as technical partners for different teams.
Many of those manufacturers are working with teams that have been around from the start of Formula E, so Jaguar is keeping its performance expectations in check. (Jaguar was able to enter the series in the first place because the Trulli Formula E team dropped out at the beginning of season two, opening up a spot.) “We know that the challenge will be strong — our competitors have a two-year head start,” team director James Barclay said in a statement. “We will be keeping our expectations in check in our first season.”
Jaguar says it completed 21 days of testing on the I-Type 1, including the public Formula E tests at England’s Donington Park. There, Jaguar was ninth-quickest out of all 10 teams — but it was just two seconds off the pace of Renault, which has won the first two Formula E team championships and led all of preseason testing.