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Frankfurt show: Jag i-Pace racer previews hot variant

Energy grid: Jaguar sprung a surprise on Frankfurt show-goers with the announcement of a one-make zero-emissions touring car race series based around its all-electric i-Pace crossover.

Surprise i-Pace eTrophy confirmed by Jaguar designer to preview hi-po road car

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Jaguar logo14 Sep 2017

By HAITHAM RAZAGUI

A HIGH-PERFORMANCE variant of Jaguar’s all-electric i-Pace crossover is in the works, previewed by a surprise racecar version unveiled at the Frankfurt motor show this week.

Jaguar will establish the one-make eTrophy race series from next year to support the FIA Formula E Championship, with up to 20 battery-powered i-Pace racers on the grid at 10 races around the world, piloted by the next generation of talent vying for a career step up to Formula E.

Speaking with GoAuto in Frankfurt, Jaguar design director Ian Callum confirmed he had played a part in the looks of the racing i-Pace and revealed that the short-notice project had also served to set the scene for an already-planned performance variant for the road.

“When we were doing the original (i-Pace) we had no idea we’d be in this position,” he said.

“We always wanted to do a performance version of the car anyway so that hints at perhaps what the performance version will look like – not entirely but it’s got that feel about it.”

The crowds assembled at Jaguar’s Frankfurt show stand were expecting to see the production-ready i-Pace and were surprised when a turquoise racing version with huge rear wing emerged from behind the sheets.

But look beyond the racing livery and a couple of clues about the production i-Pace begin to emerge compared with the concept unveiled in Los Angeles last November.

Subtle differences include larger door mirrors, legislation-friendly multi-coloured tail-light clusters and Jaguar wording beneath the leaping cat badge on its bootlid. Meanwhile, the flush F-Type-style doorhandles look set to stay.

The eTrophy’s deep front bumper and side skirts would not look out of place on a production performance variant and neither would the rear fascia if the aggressive diffuser was toned down a little.

Naturally, the dramatic rear wing and flared, vented front guards are almost certainly exclusive to the race-ready i-Pace.

“We had to get on with this quickly because we only did the deal a few months ago and they said you’d better do a racecar study quick, that goes around quickly,” Mr Callum explained.

“So we got the (wind) tunnel, the CFDs (computational fluid dynamics), did the aero and worked it all out and that’s what you’ve got today.

“It works well and it’s a quick car, too.”

The i-Pace eTrophy racecars will be built by Jaguar Land Rover’s Special Vehicle Operations skunkworks based in the English county of Warwickshire.

Races will take place on the same weekends as Formula E, on the same city circuits including Hong Kong, Paris, Sao Paolo and New York.

A production reveal of the road-going i-Pace now looks increasingly likely to take place in November against the same LA show backdrop as the concept’s unveiling 12 months earlier.

California’s strong electric vehicle market has led to the LA show becoming something of a de-facto debut venue for alternative-fuel cars.

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