Opening a new motorsport chapter, McLaren Racing has announced that it will enter a new team into the innovative all-electric off-road series, Extreme E in 2022.
Extreme E was launched by Formula E founder Alejandro Agag in 2021 and has already staged two races this season with Saudi Arabia playing host to the inaugural event of the freshly-founded championship. The FIA-sanctioned international off-road racing series aims to use racing to promote sustainability and diversity. This aim is in line with McLaren Racing’s own sustainability and diversity agenda.
Extreme E highlights the impact of climate change in some of the world’s most remote environments, promotes the adoption of electric vehicles to pave the way for a lower carbon future, and provides a world-first gender-equal motorsport platform. Extreme E aims to minimise environmental impact but maximise awareness, racing in places that have already been damaged or affected by climate change, taking fans deep into the heart of the most pressing environmental issues facing the planet. At the same time, the series has built-in equality and diversity, with each team fielding one male and one female driver.
McLaren stated that “the decision to enter Extreme E follows a detailed evaluation of the series by McLaren against a set of strategic, economic and operational criteria. These were underpinned by a clear imperative for accelerating McLaren Racing’s own sustainability mission, which places carbon reduction, the recycling, reuse and elimination of waste, and diversity, equality and inclusion at its core.”
The new team will be operated by McLaren Racing using both existing personnel from outside the Formula 1 programme and additional specialist resource. Like all teams, McLaren Racing is limited to four mechanics and one engineer at each event for the one-make car and its two drivers, transported by Extreme E as part of the overall franchise package.
Speaking of the announcement, Zak Brown, CEO, McLaren Racing, added: “From the moment Extreme E was announced we have been following the progress of the series closely. Our attention was immediately drawn by the innovative format of this motorsport platform, in particular the ability it gives us to accelerate and boost our own overarching sustainability agenda, which shares the same priorities of decarbonisation, waste reduction, diversity and equality.
“At the same time, it will enable us to reach a new audience with an innovative race format, connect with a new generation of fans through content served across a variety of channels and provide partners with a purpose-led competition platform to align with and share in a positive, powerful narrative.
“From the outset, McLaren has always been at the forefront and never afraid to push new boundaries. This new venture is true to our roots of participating in a variety of categories, innovation and bravery. Extreme E is paving new ground in motorsport as a force for good in confronting some of the biggest challenges facing our world today and in the future.
“While Formula 1 will always remain at the centre of our world, like INDYCAR and esports, our entry into Extreme E is additive to the McLaren Racing franchise and will complement and help support all our programmes. We will be competing against big names we’re very familiar with from F1 and INDYCAR but, like all series we compete in, the competition objective is clear: we are there to win," Brown said.
Commenting on the announcement, Alejandro Agag, CEO of Extreme E, said: “Extreme E’s mission is to use sport to build awareness and accelerate clean technology innovations that benefit the mobility industry and beyond. To have McLaren on board, which symbolises the highest level of racing and automotive innovation, is a huge endorsement that what we have delivered in just our first two races of Season 1 has already created real impact in motorsport.
“We are absolutely thrilled to welcome Zak and the powerhouse McLaren Racing team to Extreme E, and it’s safe to say, we can’t wait to see how the team performs in its first off-road, electric racing debut. Season 2 just got very exciting," Agag concluded.