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Jaguar to join Formula E championship

Jaguar Land Rover is to enter a team into the Formula E racing championship as the luxury carmaker steps up its investment in electric vehicles.

The company will enter a Jaguar team into the FIA Formula E championship from next year and will use it to develop new electric technologies that could eventually be installed in road cars.

Jaguar has not had a motor racing team since pulling out of Formula One in 2004 under previous owners Ford. Since then it has been bought by Tata Motors. The carmaker almost collapsed in 2009, but is now one of the most profitable carmakers in the world.

JLR employs 8,000 engineers in the UK and is the largest investor in research and development in the country.

It will work with Williams Grand Prix Engineering, which runs the Williams F1 team, to develop the car and engine.

Formula E is seen as an up-and-coming challenger to Formula One, which has been criticised for one-sided races this year that saw Lewis Hamilton win 10 of the first 16 races and the Mercedes team win all but three races in the season. Formula E has just started its second season, with the last race of the first season held in Battersea Park in London.

Nick Rogers, group engineering director for JLR, said: “Electric vehicles will absolutely play a role in Jaguar Land Rover’s future product portfolio and Formula E will give us a unique opportunity to further our development of electrification technologies.

“The championship will enable us to engineer and test our advanced technologies under extreme performance conditions.

“It is my belief that over the next five years we will see more changes in the automotive world than in the last three decades.

“The future is about being more connected and more sustainable; electrification and lightweight technologies are becoming more important than ever as urbanisation continues to increase.”

The announcement from JLR comes after it unveiled the latest stage of its global expansion plans last week.

The car maker is to build a new £1bn factory in Slovakia that will produce 150,000 vehicles a year and employ 2,800 people. It is scheduled to open in 2018.

JLR said this plant will “complement” its UK operations, despite concerns from trade unions that it could put jobs at risk.

The company is also thought to be considering a deal to buy Silverstone racing track.

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