Jaguar – Riding the wave of FIA Formula E

Jaguar Formula E Team Director James Barclay explores the vast appeal of Formula E at the FIA Sport Conference 2016

One of the key speakers on the final day of the FIA Sport Conference in Turin was James Barclay, Jaguar Formula E Team Director, who provided insights in the session ‘Capturing the Passion’ into why Jaguar has chosen this moment to the world of motor sport. 

He began by exploring the brand values of the company, and said, “Jaguar has an incredible history and heritage, but we are absolutely a future facing brand. We always said we’d return to motor sport, but maintained that it had to be right formula and for the right reasons. We have always been innovators in the sporting arena – if you look at the beginning of our racing, for example, we were the first to use disk brakes on the D-type at Le Mans, and this technology ended up on our road cars.”

This desire to innovate led Jaguar to announce its forthcoming entry into the FIA Formula E Championship, as Barclay explained: “Formula E is absolutely perfect for our return after 12 years away from motor sport. We wanted a racing category that would allow us to test and improve our latest technology in a competitive sporting environment.

“The initiative of the FIA to launch the series was a brave and hugely relevant step – Formula E is becoming more and more relevant every single day.”

With races in some of the most incredible city-centre locations around the world, Formula E undoubtedly sets itself apart from other forms of racing, and this was a strong draw for Jaguar on tis return. “It [Formula E] looks at motor sport in a new way,” explained Barclay. “The most important thing is the geography. It brings racing to a new audience for Jaguar and it was a massive game-changer. In the modern world our biggest commodity is time and the location of Formula E at the heart of urban centres makes it so much easier for people to access and consume.” 

With Formula E pushing the boundaries of electric car technology, the draw for manufactures is becoming increasingly strong. Barclay continued, “The automotive world and sport go hand in hand. Electrification in motor sport proves to people that the technology can be about performance as well, which is a key brand value for Jaguar. Our brand has always been about performance, so showcasing this will be key. 

“Over the next 5 years, the rate of technological development in this area will be more than it has been in the last two decades. We are on the cusp of a very exciting time, and Formula E was launched at a perfect time to ride that wave.” 

Finally, addressing one of the core themes of the session in which he was speaking, the Jaguar manager looked also at the benefits that come with the huge exposure of motor racing in the digital environment. “More than 60% of consumption of our media is digital,” he said. “From a consumer point of view it is more consumable, engaging and enjoyable, and this affects peoples purchasing decisions. People decide before they’ve seen the car, so to increase our visibility in racing will bring positive benefits. 

‘Being involved in video games makes up is an important part of that. People who consume motor sport content in this way are the right kind of audience for us – it’s an affluent, young audience, who will make up the next generation of potential customers.”