5 years ago


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| A charged-up drive of the New All-Electric Jaguar I-PACE in Portugal’s Algarve | The inside line on the creation of the revolutionary I-PACE | Reinventing a classic: meet the E-type Concept Zero | Fifty years of the iconic XJ saloon | Exclusive interview with tennis star Johanna Konta | Can supercomputers revolutionise art? 


NELSON PIQUET JUNIOR “IF I HAVE A WEEKEND OFF I OFTEN DRIVE TO ITALY AND GO KARTING. I’M A RACER AND THAT MEANS I WANT TO RACE” Nelson Piquet Jr. might deny it, but his presence in the ABB FIA Formula E championship at its inaugural round in Beijing in late 2014 was core to the new race series’ credibility. Piquet Jr. was one of a handful of drivers on the grid who had won most of the key titles on his way up to and beyond Formula One. Not to mention that surname – instantly recognizable among racing fans who remember his father’s magic during F1’s first turbo era in the 1980s. Piquet Jr. went on to win the title in that first season. Now, four years on, Formula E is thriving, with more big names recognizing its role as a vital addition to the off-track race in extending electric power to the world’s roads. Currently contesting its second season, the Panasonic Jaguar Racing team is making rapid progress too, aided by Piquet Jr.’s vast experience. “Jaguar has such a strong history in motorsport and it’s an exciting time to be a part of the team,” Piquet Jr. says as The Jaguar catches him for an update on his experience so far. “Our results this season have been really strong and there really is a lot of potential for podiums. To be a part of this and see just how committed Jaguar is to being at the very forefront of electric motorsport is really inspiring.” F1, Le Mans, World Rallycross, NASCAR – the Brazilian has competed in all of them. But the buzz around Formula E is something special, he says. “What Formula E has done to put together this championship is amazing. I don’t think critics can deny that the championship format is working really well. To me, the series is exactly where it needs to be.” Piquet Jr.’s own path to the top follows a familiar pattern, but it’s no less impressive for that. Born in Germany, he relocated to Brazil at age eight, where his father immediately took him karting. “I would leave school, go to the kart track and stay until it was dark, hanging with the mechanics and just soaking up as much as I could,” he recalls. After racing in South American F3, aged 17, Piquet Jr. swapped Brazil for Britain, the home of Piquet Sports on its charge to the prestigious and career-making British F3 championship. Six race wins gave him the 2004 title, before moving to GP2, where he raced Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton in 2006, finishing second overall behind the Briton. F1 followed, but politics and personality clashes derailed Piquet Jr.’s best-laid plans. A doggedness reminiscent of his father and the insatiable urge to compete helped him through some of the most frustrating times. Indeed, like drivers used to do, his racing activities now span different formats, a testament to his versatility. Does this require a conscious shift in mind-set? “I honestly don’t have a problem switching from one to another and I love the diversity,” he says. “There was a period a couple of years back when I tested an IndyCar and raced in rallycross and Formula E in the space of a week – it was brilliant! I love the challenge and competition in Formula E, I’m really enjoying racing in stock cars in Brazil this year and I would do events like the Le Mans 24 Hours every year if I could. If I have a weekend off I often drive to Italy and go karting. I’m a racer and that means I want to race.” Formula E certainly fulfils that urge. While it does offer a different audible drama than for example Formula One, it certainly isn’t missing anything in high-intensity, wheel-towheel competitiveness. And managing the car’s electric power is a unique challenge, as Piquet Jr. explains. “The car handles much like other open-wheel racing cars, but it is essentially powered by a large battery. A key strategy is how we manage the energy levels. That’s a skillset that I have been focusing on since season one and, often in the present Formula E format, I’ve been able to pit later than everybody else for the car change, which then gives more usable energy for the second stint, allowing you to push a bit more than some of your competitors.” Next season’s car will last the whole race. However, in place of a car change, drivers will have two different power modes. “I think that’s important,” Piquet Jr. says. “Variables make racing interesting.” Piquet Jr. is proud of the progress of Formula E. “Look at the final in London in season one – there were 60,000 people there over the weekend, it was completely packed. Also, the achievement of getting races in the city centers of places like Paris, Rome, New York and Hong Kong is incredible.” Above all, one mantra keeps him thoroughly motivated. “I put all my effort into everything that I do. Formula One was a part of my life for a few years but I have done a huge amount since then and I’m loving what I’m doing now with Panasonic Jaguar Racing.” 38 THE JAGUAR

NEXT UP: THE I-PACE eTROPHY ALL-ELECTRIC RACING SERIES History will be made when the Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY series debut coincides with the start of season five of Formula E, scheduled for later in 2018. The world’s first international race series for a production battery electric car, the eTROPHY series will be the main support championship to the FIA Formula E race series. In it, up to 20 Jaguar I-PACE vehicles, all with the same specifications, will be pitted against each other in 10 races across the globe. Specially designed, engineered and built by the Jaguar Land Rover Special Vehicles Operations team, the all-electric I-PACE eTROPHY race cars will combine the high performance of race-ready cars with the same adaptability, excellence and smooth drive of the I-PACE. With the introduction of the I-PACE eTROPHY, a full portfolio of electrified performance racing will make its way to fans and drivers, powered by the Jaguar brand and its mission to lead all-electric racing all around the world. For more info, please search: Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY THE JAGUAR 39

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JAGUAR MAGAZINE celebrates creativity in all its forms, with exclusive features that inspire sensory excitement, from seductive design to cutting-edge technology.

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