Formula E to launch Jaguar I-PACE support series from season five

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Formula E will add a new support series to its race weekends from season five featuring the new all-electric Jaguar I-PACE road car.

Formula E has grown rapidly since launching in 2014, and will feature a more substantial undercard from the start of its fifth season in the winter of 2018.

The Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY will boast a 20-car grid, with drivers being offered ‘arrive and drive’ packages for 10 Formula E race weekends.

“With the launch of the Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY we have strengthened our commitment to battery electric vehicles, international motorsport and Formula E,” Gerd Mäuser, Chairman, Jaguar Racing, said.

“As a British team, we are proud to announce today the launch of the world’s first production battery electric vehicle championship.

“We’ve always said we want to prove our electrification technologies on the track – this is the proof. 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.

“Formula E has grown exponentially since we joined as the first premium manufacturer last year, with commitments from Audi, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche. 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.”

Formula E CEO Alejandro Agag added: “Jaguar has been a welcome addition to Formula E and a fantastic advocate for electric street racing.

“I’m delighted that in addition to the Panasonic Jaguar Racing team competing on the Formula E grid, 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 and 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… and maybe get behind the wheel myself!”

Ferrari teammates Vettel and Raikkonen fastest in rainy final practice at Australian GP

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MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Ferrari drivers Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen went one-two in the final practice session ahead of qualifying at the water-logged Australian Grand Prix on Saturday.

Vettel set a best-lap time of 1 minute, 26.067 seconds, more than 2.4 seconds faster than his teammate in second.

Both Ferrari drivers switched from their intermediate tires to the super-fast, ultra-soft tires for the final few laps of the session, testing conditions on the track after a day-long downpour left it slick and filled with small puddles.

Mercedes drivers Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton did not opt to try out their soft tires, sticking to the intermediates for the entire session. They had the seventh- and eighth-fastest times, after topping the leaderboard in practice in dry conditions on Friday.

The heavy rains subsided by early afternoon, allowing the track to rapidly dry during the third practice session and making conditions safe for drivers to test their soft tires.

Still, only a few drivers completed a timed lap with the softer compounds, with Mercedes, Red Bull and most of the others staying with their intermediates.

Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson had the third-fastest time of the session on ultrasoft tires, followed by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen on intermediates.

Hamilton remains the favorite to capture his fifth straight pole position at the Australian Grand Prix in qualifying later Saturday. He had the fastest laps on ultrasoft tires in the two practice sessions on Friday, though Verstappen was right behind him.

Verstappen and Vettel both slid on the slick track early in the third practice session, but maintained control and completed their runs without incident.

Verstappen’s teammate, Daniel Ricciardo, had the sixth-fastest time of the session. The Australian’s chances of winning his fifth career Grand Prix on his home track in Melbourne took a hit late Friday when he was assessed a three-place grid penalty for Sunday’s race.

The Australian driver was penalized for driving too fast under red-flag conditions during Friday’s second practice session because of debris on the track.