McLaren Racing will field a team in the Extreme E electric off-road racing series from next year. The company says its new Extreme E project will help push the team’s sustainability drive, while also attracting new fans and “growing the McLaren Racing brand and franchise.”
- New team will be operated using existing staff outside McLaren’s F1 team
- McLaren believes new series will aid its sustainability and diversity agenda
McLaren to enter Extreme E
McLaren boasts one of the most storied records in F1 history, having scored 182 Grand Prix victories and 12 drivers’ championships since entering the sport in 1966. The company expanded into the IndyCar Series last season with the US-based Arrow McLaren SP squad.
With Extreme E’s environmental focus and the fact that each team fields a female driver, McLaren believes entering the series will help accelerate its sustainability and diversity agenda.
Commenting on the move, McLaren Racing boss Zak Brown said: “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.”
Brown added that “Formula 1 will always remain at the centre of our world, but said the new project “will complement and help support all our programmes.”
Extreme E features strict caps on the number of personnel each team can employ, and McLaren says the Extreme E team will be formed from existing staff from outside the F1 programme and newly recruited specialists.
McLaren Racing already has experience in electric motorsport, having developed and supplied the battery powertrains for the Gen 1 and Gen 2 Formula E cars. While part of the McLaren Group, the racing division is separate from McLaren Automotive.
What is Extreme E?
The main focus of Extreme E, which kicked off its inaugural season earlier this year, is to highlight the impact of climate change in some of the world’s most remote environments, while also promoting the adoption of electric vehicles.
The series currently features nine teams, who must use identical 543hp electric spaceframe SUVs. Each team runs a single car for a male and female driver, who must swap at the midway point of each race.
McLaren will join a diverse line-up of teams in Extreme E, including operations run by fellow Indycar squads Ganassi Racing and Andretti United. Cupra runs a team in association with touring car and rallycross specialist Abt, while F1 champions Sir Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg and Jenson Button all have their own teams.
So far this year, Rosberg X Racing’s pairing of Johan Kristofferson and Molly Taylor have defeated Hamilton’s team X44 to win the first two events in Saudi Arabia and Senegal, respectively.