Jaguar has announced that it is to launch the world’s first production battery electric vehicle race series.
The one-make competition will be based on the company's I-PACE electric SUV. The five-seat sports car currently exists only in concept form, but is due to go on sale in 2018.
The Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY will be the support series for the FIA Formula E championship. It will take place on the same weekends at the same city circuits, starting next autumn.
Up to 20 electric I-PACE racecars will be on the grid for 10 races in global cities such as Hong Kong, Paris, Sao Paolo and New York. Jaguar Land Rover Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) in Warwickshire, UK, will build the racecars.
The news was announced on Tuesday at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show.
"As a British team, we are proud to announce today the launch of the world’s first production battery electric vehicle championship," said Jaguar chairman Gerd Mäuser.
"With the launch of the Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY we have strengthened our commitment to battery electric vehicles, international motorsport and Formula E.
"Formula E has grown exponentially since we joined as the first premium manufacturer last year, with commitments from Audi, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche," he noted.
"The Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY will improve the spectacle for the fans and gives young drivers a ladder into Formula E. We expect our series to be a sell-out and an exciting international sporting event.
"We’ve always said we want to prove our electrification technologies on the track," he continued. "This is the proof.
"Ultimately this innovative series will enhance the technology in our future electric vehicles and benefit our customers.
"I am looking forward to seeing a full grid of Jaguar I-PACE racecars in late 2018, soon after the first Jaguar I-PACE hits the road in Europe."
The news was welcomed by the CEO of Formula E, Alejandro Agag.
"Jaguar has been a welcome addition to Formula E and a fantastic advocate for electric street racing," he said. "We will be adding to our race day schedule with a competitive new support series for season five.
"The Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY will bring more entertainment for fans in-between sessions. It will be a further testament to the advances in battery technology and exciting electric performance.
"I hope Jaguar will allow me to bring my race suit and helmet," he said, adding" "And maybe get behind the wheel myself!"
The I-PACE will have a 90-kilowatt-hour battery and a range of 220-miles. It will boast a combined 400 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque.
Full technical specifications, the race calendar and cost of entry will be revealed in due course. It is understood that it will be organised on an "arrive and drive" footing to make it as accessible as possible.