The grid for the inaugural season of the Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY is taking shape, with several high-profile entrants set to be confirmed.
Championship manager Marion Barnaby told e-racing365 that “a real international mix” of interested parties have come forward to compete in the electric single-make production series.
The Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY, which recently made its public debut at the Berlin E-Prix, will support the ABB FIA Formula E Championship at ten cities during the 2018-19 season.
“It’s getting there, we’ve still got huge interest,” said Barnaby.
“We’ve got more cars that have signed in, and from the Berlin weekend they’ve seen the car is physical, so there’s a lot more interest. We’ve had a lot of prospects [in Berlin] as well.
“It’s a real mix. We’ve got some GT teams, and then we’ve got people coming across such as drivers from Formula 2 and Formula 3.”
Entrants will compete on an ‘arrive and drive’ basis, with race day technical and operational support provided by M-Sport.
At least one car on the grid is expected to be reserved for a Jaguar ‘VIP’ program that will be open to both celebrities and professional drivers from other disciplines.
Jaguar Racing director James Barclay said that “around half” of the maximum 20-car grid has been firmed up.
“We’re starting to approach a point where we’re on inquiries and commitments, because probably around half the grid is complete now, which is very exciting,” Barclay told e-racing365.
“We’ve got more work to do to have the final entrants come on board, but I think until the car was a reality and people saw it, it was very hard for people to understand what the product was.
“The Berlin weekend was a key moment to showcase the car. The feedback was phenomenal and those who have driven it say it’s absolutely brilliant under braking and in corners.”
Formula E Teams Eyeing I-PACE Involvement
When asked if any existing Formula E teams had expressed interest in joining the series, Barclay said that there had “absolutely” been discussions within the paddock.
He said he hopes some outfits will look to the I-PACE eTROPHY, which is likely to run a two-class format in season one, as a starting point for up-and-coming drivers hoping to make a career on the Formula E bill.
Techeetah and DS Virgin Racing have been previously mooted for a potential involvement, although no teams beyond Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing have confirmed any programs yet.
“We have been talking to a number of teams already,” Barclay said.
“At the moment, you have young drivers who are thinking about the future, but there’s nothing currently in the format for them to be a part of a team on a race weekend, to gain knowledge of the circuit, and to gain knowledge of racing with electric cars.
“We’ve been talking to a number of teams who have that in mind already, as well as drivers who know that if you want to have a career in motorsports – particularly manufacturer-led programs – all motorsport is starting to work towards electric vehicles.
“So, it’s fantastic to get in early and show your capability in an electric car, potentially for other categories that will come in the future.”