Jaguar’s electric racing series has come to an end two years after it began. The automaker is shutting down (via The Verge) the I-Pace eTrophy at the end of the 2019-2020 season after having “reviewed [its] strategy” in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The company is still “fully committed” to electric racing, including its Formula E team, but clearly didn’t feel that having its own series made sense.
It’s not certain just when, or even if, the eTrophy might resume. Jaguar has piggybacked on Formula E races, but those aren’t an option when the league has suspended racing until at least the end of June and has nothing scheduled. Motorsport.com sources said Formula E might resume at dedicated racetracks instead of converted city streets, but it’s not guaranteed Jaguar’s series would follow.
Jaguar maintained that the series had hit “many of the targets” the company set for itself. It translated racing knowledge to I-Pace upgrades, for instance.
As Inside Electric observed, though, there were problems well before the pandemic put racing on hold. The eTrophy never managed to get a full grid of cars. It was considered a Formula E support race, and was expensive to run (about $920,000 per season) relative to the short races. Add the limited chances for promotion with a one-make series and it’s not surprising that teams were staying away. The pandemic may have only been the breaking point for a series whose existence was already tentative.