In 2016, Jaguar announced it would be joining the Formula E grid to compete as a manufacturer in the third season of a championship that was gradually gaining momentum around the world.

At the time, little or nothing was known about Jaguar's plans to become a 100% electric brand and, for many, its involvement in a competition that didn't seem to have much to do with the brand's history and philosophy was quite surprising.

In May 2018, we attended the unveiling of the Jaguar I-PACE at the UK Embassy in Berlin, as the German capital hosted the Berlin e-Prix. This first 100% electric model from Jaguar as a brand, and Jaguar Land Rover as a manufacturer, began to paint a picture of the felines' future as a 100% electric luxury brand. As such, their involvement in Formula E began to make much more sense.

Over the course of eight seasons, Jaguar TCS Racing has secured 25 podium finishes and 14 victories. The 2022-23 season was Jaguar's most successful, with a runner-up finish in the Constructors' Championship and a Drivers' Championship for Nick Cassidy with the Envision team, whose cars are powered by the Jaguar-built I-Type 6 powertrain.

Jaguar TCS Racing does double duty in Formula E

Cassidy has been an official Jaguar TCS Racing driver since this season, alongside Mitch Evans, who has been with the team since its inception. The two drivers form a strong partnership, a 100% New Zealand coincidence, which achieved a formidable one-two just a week ago on the streets of Monaco, Evans beating his team-mate to keep them at the top of the constructors' championship.

Should Jaguar TCS Racing win either of the two titles this year, it would end a dry spell since the golden age of endurance racing, with its legendary victories at Le Mans and in the World Sport Prototype Championship.

Nick Cassidy, Jaguar TCS Racing

Transfer from circuit to street

James Barclay has been at the helm of the team's Formula E operations since its inception. With the utmost care and patience, he has managed Jaguar's rise to prominence in the championship and is one of the architects of the brand's commitment until at least 2030.

Clearly, one of the benefits of Jaguar's involvement in F-E, and one that underpins its long-term commitment to the championship, is the transfer of technology from racing to road cars, and particularly in such a new technology as electric mobility.

"Over the last two or three years, we've introduced some innovations that were developed in F-E," Barclay explained on the Monaco circuit shortly after announcing his brand's commitment to the championship, "for example, some of the materials we use in the motors, such as silicon carbide, which is much more conductive and allows the inverter to work much more efficiently and transfer energy to the wheels without losses, thus improving energy regeneration. This technology has also enabled us to increase the regeneration capacity of our road vehicles, which already use it."

"The same goes for software," he continues. "Every race we have updates that allow us to be faster and more efficient, which is very important for us and is another type of technology that is then used in road cars and is very important for the future of the automotive industry. Or thermomaterials, which help to regulate battery temperature using advanced materials. There are many areas where we are working with our partners to find these innovations and help make our future cars even better."

Test Drive Jaguar I-PACE AWD Auto 2022

Jaguar I-PACE

Another important aspect, in a society that seems very focused on reducing or even eliminating emissions, is the recycling of consumables and materials used in cars, initiatives that are also very much in evidence at Jaguar TCS Racing and Jaguar Land Rover.

"Last year, at the Monaco race, we were the first manufacturer to use recycled oil in our racing cars," says Barclay proudly. "It was oil that we had already used, which was then refined and reused. We're looking for solutions that don't compromise performance, trying to use a circular economy. This is important because Jaguar Land Rover is committed to becoming a carbon neutral company from 2039 and, to do that, we need to create that recirculation."

Jaguar's involvement in Formula E is therefore beginning to make sense in terms of the advances that the world's premier electric vehicle competition can transfer to its road cars.

Nick Cassidy celebrates his victory at the Diriyah II ePrix.

But in Monaco, we were also able to chat to Jaguar managing director Rawdon Glover inside Liquid Sky, an impressive yacht moored in the Port d'Hercule and overlooking the circuit, where we were able to follow the British team's one-two finish in the Monaco race.

"Formula E is very important to us," says Glover in a relaxed conversation on one of the yacht's decks, underlining the benefits of such a technology transfer: 

"We're an electric vehicle brand and the championship's ability to transfer innovations from the track to the road is much more quantifiable than in any other championship, which means we can make a lot of progress in increasing range, for example. Racing is a great thing, we love it and it's part of our heritage, but for me it's all about technology transfer."

Mitch Evans, Jaguar TCS Racing

With this in mind, Jaguar announced in its latest strategic plan that it would become an electric and only electric brand, a decision that surprised many after more than a century of creating some of the world's most iconic sports cars, obviously with combustion engines.

With Europe being one of its main markets and the automotive industry currently facing problems with the development of electric mobility, Jaguar doesn't think the current situation is a real problem for its plans.

"It's true that electric mobility has some hurdles to overcome today, particularly when it comes to major transport infrastructure," admits Glover. "The infrastructure is not moving fast enough, but it is progressing and our new electric cars will arrive in Europe in 2025-2026, with other models shortly after. We're planning seven or eight years ahead, and I think by then discussions about chargers, infrastructure, range, etc. will have been forgotten. Our plan is very long-term and if you're talking about technology, there are a number of obstacles, at the moment, that we have to overcome."

Test Drive Jaguar I-PACE AWD Auto 2022

An ambitious plan that will completely change the face of Jaguar, whose only 100% electric vehicle at present is the I-PACE, introduced in 2018, so there would be a period of at least eight years before we see the British firm's next electric car.

"We took the decision to make this change three years ago. It was a major change and a multi-million dollar investment," says the Jaguar executive.

"It's true that the I-PACE is a few years old, but we've updated it. We believe it is still a very competitive car in the premium electric SUV sector, with good range and driveability. We're now working on a very different platform and vehicle type, and that's why we haven't seen any significant evolution in our current cars."

This is certainly a very ambitious project from Jaguar, both in racing and in the industry. As we look forward to the next cars to come out of their factories, we'll be following the progress of the racing team, which has a good chance of bringing another title into the Coventry headquarters' shop windows, following the last one won by the XRJ-14 in the Sport Prototype World Championship in 1991.

Gallery: Test Drive Jaguar I-PACE AWD Auto 2022