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Rahal Set To Electrify

| , RacinToday.com Wednesday, November 29 2017

Team owner Bobby Rahal will team up with Jaguar to go E racing.


American-owned and based Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing will field two cars in the Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY electric racing series set to run in conjunction with the 2018-19 global FIA Formula E championship.

Led by Team Principal Bobby Rahal _ a three-time CART champion and 1986 Indianapolis 500 winner _ Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing is Jaguar Racing’s initial entrant in the world’s first international championship for production-based electric cars. Scheduled to start in December 2018, Jaguar created the series to showcase the Jaguar I-PACE, its first battery electric vehicle.

The Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY is a support series to the FIA Formula E Championship and the first to be based off a street-legal production battery electric vehicle. Races will take place the same weekend, and on the same city street circuits, throughout the 2018-19 season. The series, which will exclusively feature 20 Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY race cars, offers teams the chance to showcase driving talent and electric performance, while competing on the world stage in zero-emissions motorsport.

“Since the global announcement of eTROPHY the reaction has been very positive and we are in discussions with many teams and drivers about entering the series next year,” Jaguar Racing Team Director James Barclay said during an announcement at the Los Angeles Auto Show, where the car made its American debut. “As part of our ‘Race to Innovate’ strategy, we are obviously delighted to be able to announce our first Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY team with racing legend Bobby Rahal and we look forward to working together with all our teams to make it a big success. The series is in a strong place and we look forward to announcing more news over the next few months.”

Jaguar Land Rover’s commitment to electric racing is aligned with this strategy _ from 2020 onward, all new Jaguar Land Rover vehicles launched will be offered with an electrified/electric powertrain embracing fully-electric, plug-in hybrid and mild hybrid vehicles. 

“Innovation is integral to motorsports and electric car racing is an important part of the future, so this opportunity came at the perfect time for RLL,” Rahal said. “We are thrilled to be competing in the Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY series next year working alongside an electric innovator like Jaguar. Even though the first race is some time off in the distance, we’re already looking forward to participating.

“Certainly electric power is relatively new in motorsport, but being at the forefront of the technological advancement made possible by testing on the racetrack that can transfer over into production cars is exciting for us. To be able to contribute in some small way in the testing and development of electric vehicles that ultimately will provide more options for consumers is something to be proud of.”

Jaguar Land Rover Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) in Warwickshire, United Kingdom, is building the race cars and offering 10-race “Arrive and Drive” packages for up to 20 drivers at each race. The race cars are based on Jaguar’s first battery electric road car, the Jaguar I-PACE, which will be released for sale in 2018.

The “Arrive and Drive” package includes professional technical support from race car preparation to data engineering, all global logistics for vehicles, spare parts and equipment, all tires and consumables, all garaging infrastructure at race weekends, championship promotion and marketing by Jaguar Racing and the FIA Formula E Championship, allocated hospitality for entrants with the ability to purchase further places for sponsor guests, championship race wear for each driver and dedicated championship TV coverage. The typical race weekend will feature free practice and qualifying sessions followed by a 30-minute race.

Based in Hilliard, Ohio, and Brownsburg, Ind., RLL is co-owned by Rahal, former CBS Late Show host David Letterman and Mi-Jack co-owner Mike Lanigan. In 2018 the team will compete in its 27th year of open wheel competition in the Verizon IndyCar Series and attempt to add to its 25 wins _ including the 2004 Indy 500 from pole with Buddy Rice _ along with 30 poles, 94 podium finishes and the 1992 CART championship. RLL will field Graham Rahal, Bobby’s son, and 2016 Indy 500 champion Takuma Sato for the entire 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series schedule.

RLL also competed in the American Le Mans Series from 2009-2013 as BMW Team RLL, where it won both the manufacturer and team championships in the GT category in 2010 and swept all three GT titles in 2011_manufacturer, team and driver. In 2012, the team finished second in the team championship and third in the manufacturer championship. In 2013, RLL finished second in the driver, team and manufacturer championships.

Since 2014, BMW Team RLL has competed in the GTLM class of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship with a two-car program and has brought its total to 17 wins, 23 poles and 68 podiums as well as a second place finish in the manufacturer, team and driver championships in 2015 and 2017.

The RLL team announcement is a prelude to the start of the FIA Formula E championship and 2017-18 season-opening race in Hong Kong this weekend. Panasonic Jaguar Racing will be on the grid with drivers Nelson Piquet Jr. and Mitch Evans.

“We look forward to demonstrating the exciting performance credentials of the coming generation of battery electric vehicles with both the Rahal Letterman Lanigan team and others as they join the eTROPHY Series,” said Joe Eberhardt, president/CEO, Jaguar Land Rover North America. “In 2018 customers will be able to drive their Jaguar I-PACE battery electric vehicles on the road, while also watching them race in cities around the globe including venues such as New York and Montreal by top-flight race teams like Rahal Letterman Lanigan.”

Panasonic Jaguar Racing returned to competition in October 2016, becoming the first premium manufacturer to join the all-electric FIA Formula E Champion street racing series. Jaguar’s Formula E program is designed to create tangible R&D benefits for the electrification of future Jaguar Land Rover road cars in line with the team’s founding principle of “Race to Innovate.”

Manufacturers can design their own powertrain, which includes the motor, transmission, inverter and the rear suspension. Common components across all teams include the carbon fiber chassis and battery to control costs. The series’ focus is on developing electric vehicle powertrains.

Beyond its all-electric concept, Formula E also is unique in the world of motorsport for its choice of venues. With the exception of the Mexico ePrix, every round of the championship takes place on temporary street circuits in the center of the world’s major cities. Each race day features all track action including practice, qualifying and racing, taking place in a single day.

Beginning on Dec. 2, the 2017-18 calendar includes 14 races in 11 cities, including doubleheader races from Hong Kong’s 1.5-mile/10-turn Central Harbourfront Circuit (live on FOX Sports 1), New York City and the season-finale in Montreal.

This season, the international racing series hosts 14 events across five continents, with the U.S. being the only country to have hosted ePrixs in three cities _ Miami, Long Beach and New York. The series returns to the Brooklyn Circuit in 2018 on July 14-15 with a doubleheader from the 1.2-mile/10-turn temporary street circuit along the Red Hook waterfront. Race 1 of the New York City e-Prix will air live on the FOX broadcast network, with Race 2 live on FS1.

For Season 4, Formula E is adding to its host broadcast camera arsenal for race coverage, continuing the use of virtual reality (VR) as a tool for analysis and committing to the ongoing development of augmented reality (AR) graphics. In addition, all 14 events are available streaming on FOX Sports GO.

Manufacturer participation this season will see Porsche, BMW and Mercedes joining Jaguar, Renault, Audi and Peugeot/Citroen in the championship. The driver lineup takes another step up this season, adding WEC champions and 24 Hours of Le Mans winners Neel Jani and Andre Lotterer, plus F1 veteran Kamui Kobayashi and DYM titlist Edoardo Mortara.


Dec. 2 _ Hong Kong 1 (2 AM, Live on FS1)

Dec. 3 _ Hong Kong 2 (2 AM, Live on FS1)

Jan. 13 _ Marrakesh (2 PM, Same Day Delayed on FS1)

Feb. 4 _ Santiago, Chile (4:30 PM, FS1)

March 3 _ Mexico City (4:30 PM, Live on FS2)

March 18 _ Sao Paulo, Brazil (12:30 PM, FS1)

April 15 _ Rome (11:30 AM, FS1)

April 29 _ Paris (1:30 PM, FS1)

May 19 _ Berlin (9:30 AM, Live on FS1)

June 10 _ Zurich, Switzerland (1:30 PM, SDD on FS2)

July 14 _ New York pre-race (2:30 PM, Live on FOX broadcast)

July 14 _ New York 1 (3 PM, Live on FOX broadcast)

July 15 _ New York 2 (2:30 PM, Live on FS1)

July 28 _ Montreal 1 (3:30 PM., Live on FS2)

July 29 _ Montreal 2 (3:30 PM, Live on FS1)

(All times ET and subject to change)

For more information on the FIA Formula E Championship, please visit Formula E.


| , RacinToday.com Wednesday, November 29 2017
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