British racing is back
Making a much-heralded return to motorsport after twelve years, Jaguar Racing has signed Northern Ireland’s Adam Carroll for the team’s first season in the FIA Formula E Championship. The British team will evaluate three other drivers in Formula E’s first official pre-season test, next week at Donington Park. It is reported that current GP2 drivers Mitch Evans and Alex Lynn will join Ford GT driver Harry Tincknell, to test the Jaguar I-Type 1, before the team announce their final driver line-up on September 8th, after the second batch of testing.
A1 Grand Prix champion, Adam Carroll, is a solid choice for the new Jaguar outfit. Believed to have driven for Jaguar on their manufacturer test days, Carroll has also tested for Mahindra Racing, acting as their reserve driver in Buenos Aires, and was considered for a seat in Team Aguri for the 2015/2016 season. His considerable racing experience, and Jaguar’s desire to field a British driver makes him a worthy pick for a full-time drive.
As the current F1 development driver for Williams, Alex Lynn’s links to Jaguar’s Formula E campaign are unsurprising, given Jaguar’s partnership with Williams Advanced Engineering, who supply Formula E’s homologated battery technology. However, given Lynn’s ruling himself out of a third GP2 campaign, and his determination to secure an F1 seat, whether he is a realistic option for a full season in Formula E, remains to be seen.
Though never appearing in the widely-circulated list of rumoured drivers for the British marque, that included Anthony Davidson, Narain Karthikeyan, and current Formula E drivers Da Costa, Bird, Piquet Jr. and Turvey, Mitch Evans is enjoying a strong season in GP2, running second in the championship. After four years in the series and no apparent links to an F1 seat, a move to the all-electric series could be prudent for him, given Formula E’s previous interest in the New Zealander.
Harry Tincknell is arguably the most interesting name in the quartet, with his last single-seater experience gained in the 2013 European Formula 3 season. However, the Brit has significant sports-car experience, claiming victory in the LMP2 class at Le Mans 24 Hours in 2014, alongside NEXTEV NIO’s Oliver Turvey, before joining Ford’s return in the World Endurance Championship, and arguably has the pace and experience to challenge for the remaining Jaguar seat.
Jaguar Racing’s entry to the all-electric series was previewed in a teaser video of the Jaguar I-Type 1, at a private testing session, and launched alongside a full social media presence on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, suggesting that the team’s pre-season preparations are well under way before their début in Hong Kong in October.
James Barclay, Jaguar Team Director, said: “We looked in detail at alternative ways of returning to motorsport. This was such an important decision for Jaguar and we wanted to get it right. With our future EV plans, Formula E was the obvious choice and we believe that the benefits are enormous. The FIA and the promoter have exciting plans for the future of the championship and we are proud to be one of the first vehicle manufacturers to commit to the series with our own team. We have a lot of work to do ahead of the first race but it is a challenge we relish. We hope that we can welcome a new generation of fans to Jaguar through this exciting programme.”
While it remains unconfirmed that Jaguar’s second driver will come from the pool of those testing, it seems unlikely that another name would be thrown into the mix at this late stage. Jaguar Racing’s first public outing will commence on August 23rd at Donington Park Circuit, with the 24th and 25th of August open to the public. The second and final pre-season test runs from September 5th to September 7th, before Formula E gears up for the season three opener in Hong Kong, on October 9th.