This summer, on the 11th and 12th of August, the highlight of the 2018 British Hill Climb Challenge calendar: Championship Challenge, will be hosted by Shelsley Walsh. The weekend will enable visitors to witness the fastest hill climb cars in the world battle it out to get the best time up the legendary hill.
This year however, the historic motorsport venue will welcome the future of racing, in the form of Panasonic Jaguar Racing ABB FIA Formula E Championship team's race car. It promises to bring an interesting twist to proceedings, to see just how quick these electric racers can be!
Jaguar I-TYPE 2 to make UK debut
The I-TYPE 2 is the race car of Panasonic Jaguar Racing, and it will make its public UK debut at Shelsley Walsh on August 12 - coinciding not just with this year's Championship Challenge event but also the 113th anniversary of the first hill climb at Shelsley Walsh. It will be driven up the famous hill climb venue by Panasonic Jaguar Racing driver Mitch Evans, who said:
"I am looking forward to driving the Jaguar I-TYPE 2 up the famous Shelsley Walsh hill climb. We have a lot of hill climbs back home in New Zealand but this is the most famous and historic. My all electric race car should be well suited to the challenge and I'm intrigued to see what my time will be. I look forward to seeing our friends from GKN Driveline and meeting some UK fans."
Vaporising electric car stigma
Electric powered vehicles used to be uncool. Today, that couldn't be further from the truth. You only have to look at the rise in hypercars using electric power to see how this type of power is now considered ultra-cool. Electric cars can also deliver incredible performance thanks to their 'instant' power availability, too.
Cars like the recently launched Jaguar I-PACE - which can seat 5 people in comfort and accelerate from 0-60 mph in 4.5 seconds - prove that electric cars needn't be boring or impractical. The I-PACE was developed from engineering lessons learned on the race track.
Antony Harper, Chairman Midland Automobile Club, said "To have technologically advanced cars at Shelsley is something we're used to, but this is going to be something unique and very special to see come to the start line even in the 113-year history of the hill. Hill climbing has naturally had many innovative cars racing in the sport but the Jaguar I-TYPE 2 Formula E car is something no one has ever seen against the clock so there will be a huge amount of interest following Mitch up the hill. To have the ongoing support from GKN Driveline and a 2018 works team present on the very 113th birthday of the hill climb is something we're all looking forward to here."
About Formula E
Despite being conceived back in 2011, the first Formula E Championship started in late 2014. Interestingly, in the first season all ten teams were provided a fully-fledged electric Formula E racing car built by Spark Racing Technology, in the form of a Spark-Renault SRT 01E.
This made for some close racing. It's also worth noting these cars had other factors making them synonymous with legendary racing names, such as the electric motor being developed by McLaren, which happens to be the same motor as the McLaren P1 hypercar.
Formula E has since evolved and now has regulations which allow for more input on various parts of the car. The chassis and battery have to be the same throughout the grid, yet now competitors can build their own electric motor, cooling system, inverter and gearbox.
Automotive manufacturers such as Jaguar and Renault now compete alongside other automotive brands such as Penske and Venturi. These Formula E cars have some interesting performance figures which will make the hill climb racing rather interesting come race day!
Jaguar Formula E Race Car Specification VS Jaguar F-TYPE 2.0 i4
Power: Formula E Race Car: 270 bhp | F-TYPE: 295bhp
Weight: Formula E Race Car: 880kg | F-TYPE: 1545kg
Fan Boost: Formula E Race Car 40bhp | F-TYPE: 0bhp
0-62mph: Formula E Race Car: 2.9 Seconds | F-TYPE: 5.4 seconds
Top Speed: Formula E Race Car 140 mph | F-TYPE: 155 mph