Jaguar’s outgoing Formula E car to bid farewell at Shelsley Walsh
Past meets present this August as Jaguar will be giving its I-TYPE 2 Formula E car a run up Shelsley Walsh with New Zealander Mitch Evans at the wheel.
Remarkably the hillclimb will be the first public run for the British squad on home soil, having joined Formula E the year after London’s race fell from the calendar. A UK race is yet to return, though talk is rife about a Formula E Superprix revival on the streets of Birmingham.
The I-TYPE 2 is a development of the initial spec Formula E car, and its competitive life will come to an end in July on the streets of Brooklyn when the city hosts the final rounds of the fourth season. It will be replaced by the spectacular-looking I-TYPE 3 for season five. Evans should therefore be free to push the car to its limits through the famous hill’s close confines. One would hope, anyway.
Jaguar has had a tricky time during its two years in Formula E, with just one podium to its name at the time of writing, courtesy of Evans’s third place in Hong Kong.
As for what time Evans will clock, that is anyone’s guess. The current hill record is 22.58sec, set in 2008 by Martin Groves in a Gould GR55 NME, while Neville Rollason and his Tesla holds the electric car benchmark, which currently stands at 37.30sec from 2011.
Evans, well aware of the world’s oldest hillclimb, said: “We have a lot of hillclimbs 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.”
The appearance coincides with long-time Shelsley Walsh supporter GKN Driveline teaming up with Panasonic Jaguar Racing for this 2017/18 season. The two have a history that is almost as long as the hillclimb’s own, in fact, dating back to 1935 and the Jaguar SS saloon. Even the 1951 Le Mans-winning Jaguar C-Type’s driveshaft was developed by GKN.
Evans’ appearance at the hillclimb will be taking place 113 years to the day since the very first in 1905 on August 12. And to neatly show the contrast of old and new worlds, a Daimler team car from that first run will be on display during the event.