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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Why Cassidy System E signing means Jaguar should achieve 2024

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It might solely be simply over every week because the 2022-2023 System E season led to London, however nothing ever stands nonetheless in motorsport and the main focus of groups has already switched to subsequent 12 months’s opening spherical in January and Mexico Metropolis.

An indication of intent has already come from Jaguar Racing, which has turn into the primary group to formally announce its two-driver line-up for the upcoming marketing campaign; and what a line-up it’s. Mitch Evans will proceed with the British producer having been with the group since each joined System E again in 2016, throughout which era they’ve taken 10 wins collectively. And becoming a member of Evans subsequent season will likely be fellow Kiwi Nick Cassidy, who on Monday was confirmed as having moved from Jaguar customer team Envision Racing into the full works outfit for 2024.

The signing of Cassidy is one thing of a logical choice for each events given their shut working relationship over the previous 12 months and the New Zealander’s spectacular outcomes which took him to second within the standings.

“We now have had an eye fixed on Nick for a while, in reality, when he did the rookie take a look at for Envision [back in 2020] we have been truly pondering of providing to do the take a look at with us,” Jaguar group principal James Barclay tells Autosport.

“We positively have been monitoring his profession and he was somebody I had my eye on along with his performances in Japan [where he won the Super GT title in 2017 and Super Formula title in 2019]. Then there are moments in his System E profession. One which stands out for me was a moist qualifying in Valencia the place he made a slight mistake within the last sector, however he was a lot sooner than everybody in that session at one level it was extremely spectacular.

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“We all the time noticed his functionality after which clearly we’ve seen that intently now this 12 months with him being in our buyer group. I’ve seen in Nick a driver who is completely devoted to his craft, who’s laser-focused on wanting to achieve success and we love that spirit, we love that perspective. We’re actual racers, we simply wish to battle for race wins and championships, and I believe Nick has acquired that character as does Mitch. We’re actually excited, I believe they’ll be a powerful pairing and I can’t wait to go racing.”

Cassidy completes an all-Kiwi line-up for Jaguar, whereas the pair each completed within the high three within the System E standings

Photograph by: Jaguar Racing

Earlier than delving into the Kiwi dynamic and what it means for Jaguar in addition to the championship, it’s value taking a look at who Cassidy has changed. Sam Bird spent three seasons with the British outfit having been a stalwart of System E since its inception in 2014 with Virgin Racing after which Envision. Two wins got here in his first season with Jaguar in Diriyah and New York, however a barren patch adopted with not a single podium within the 2021-2022 marketing campaign. The Briton’s fortunes improved barely this 12 months with 4 extra podiums however once more no wins, which was in stark distinction to the 4 racked up by Evans.

Extra considerably, Hen was at fault for 2 collisions with Evans in Hyderabad and Jakarta that price the Kiwi important factors and a stronger tilt on the title, having missed out by simply 32 factors to eventual champion Jake Dennis. All of it meant that Hen’s time at Jaguar was all the time prone to come to an finish sooner somewhat than later, though he’s anticipated to stay on the System E grid subsequent season with McLaren.

PLUS: How Dennis navigated Formula E finale chaos to be crowned champion at home

“Sam is a implausible racing driver, he’s a implausible human being and I believe, from our standpoint, if we glance again [we had] some nice recollections collectively,” says Barclay. “I believe he’s actually proud to have raced for Jaguar, he joins an unimaginable record of drivers who’ve raced for this superb model and we’re proud to have had him drive for us.

“We completely have the substances and we should always have the ability to battle for a championship subsequent 12 months” James Barclay

“There’s in all probability been a actuality that we haven’t fulfilled the potential collectively and typically you want a reset and I believe from each Sam’s standpoint and our standpoint we each felt that was the precise time.”

That reset paved the best way for Cassidy to hitch Jaguar and within the course of, create arguably the strongest driver line-up on the System E grid no matter who different groups are set to announce within the coming weeks.

Each Kiwis demonstrated unimaginable kind throughout this 12 months’s marketing campaign, every taking 4 wins and heading to the London finale with a shot on the title. Within the rain-affected last race, they have been every in a league of their very own with Cassidy’s win which means he pipped Evans to the runner-up spot by simply two factors. On the ages of 28 and 29 respectively, each are simply approaching the peaks of their careers and have sufficient expertise in System E to get the job carried out when it issues.

Off the observe, the duo are good associates having grown up and competed towards one another in New Zealand, even being team-mates within the 2011 Toyota Racing Sequence which means, in principle, their tight collaboration ought to solely push Jaguar to new heights.

However this friendship was strained considerably when Evans collided with an harmless Cassidy within the second Rome E-Prix, primarily handing Dennis the title, and extra fractures would possibly seem ought to they each discover themselves able to win the title.

Hypotheticals apart, it’s arguably a state of affairs Jaguar would favor to have with Barclay admitting that the groups’ title is the precedence and that the “group clearly comes first and the selections we make are about the perfect consequence for the group”.

This emphasis on the groups’ title comes after Jaguar missed out to buyer group Envision on the ultimate day of the season, having entered the ultimate spherical tied on factors as its powertrain dominated the second half of the season. The runner-up place can be one it occupied in 2020-2021, and over the last three seasons, Evans has additionally taken the drivers’ title all the way down to the ultimate spherical solely to fall quick on every event – his final title coming manner again in 2012 when he received the GP3 crown.

All of it signifies that whereas there have been moments of success, no title has come the best way of the works Jaguar group in seven years of it being within the all-electric championship.

“Our need and intention as a aggressive group is to go and win the championship,” says Barclay.
“However that is System E and in the event you’re within the place of combating for the championship come the closing phases of the season, you’re doing job as a group. We now have a really robust driver line-up, we completely have the substances and we should always have the ability to battle for a championship subsequent 12 months however we have to see what occurs over the winter earlier than we begin racing once more.

“Assuming we now have that package deal which is aggressive, which we should always do with a homologation for 2 years, nobody is absolutely bringing any new {hardware}, that ought to imply we stay aggressive. We now have the substances to battle for the championship, however would I deem this 12 months a failure as a result of we got here second – completely not.”

Barclay might not deem this 12 months as a failure, however there inevitably comes a degree the place ending second will not be sufficient – and 2024 is that 12 months. In Evans and Cassidy, Jaguar has two drivers able to profitable on any given weekend and who will push one another on observe whereas serving to to steer the group in the precise course off it.

The Huge Cat now has every thing it wants on paper to take a seat on the high of the System E meals chain, and something much less in 12 months’ time will nearly actually be deemed a failure.

Can Jaguar finally capture a Formula E title next season?

Can Jaguar lastly seize a System E title subsequent season?

Photograph by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

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