McLaren Set To Join Extreme E’s Second Season In 2022

2022 will see McLaren be the 10th team to join this off-road e-SUV rally championship. 

McLaren Racing has recently announced that they will soon be fielding a factory team to participate in Extreme E come 2022. 

Entering this all-electric off-road series in its second season next year, McLaren will be the 10th confirmed team to be taking part in this five-race global championship. The Woking-based racing outfit will be racing alongside the 9 other existing operations currently participating its inaugural series this year, which includes teams headed by Formula 1 stars Sir Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg and Jenson Button. 

The decision by McLaren to enter Extreme E comes amidst its intentions to accelerate its own sustainability and diversity agenda, while simultaneously growing the brand and franchise in the electrified future. The racing outfit has also previously signed an option to enter Formula E next year too, though news on that front has gone quiet in recent time. 

Currently only focusing mainly on its Formula 1 endeavours with a recent Indycar return in the form of the US-based Arrow McLaren SP team, McLaren Racing looks set to return to its diversified motorsports portfolio from a time gone by. A time where the McLaren name was seen not just in F1 and Indycar, but also in Can-Am sports car racing and Le Mans endurance racing too. 

Having said that however, McLaren Racing has reiterated that Formula 1 will remain ‘firmly at the centre’ of its motorsports operations. Such is evidenced by the fact that its Extreme E team will be utilising existing staff from outside its F1 programme, as well as newly recruited specialists.

This new branch of McLaren’s expanded portfolio is also likely to not be a very big team, as the Extreme E regulations stipulates that only four mechanics and one engineer is allowed at each event. To those unfamiliar with this new e-SUV rally series too, it is worth highlighting that each team fields a single car for a male and female driver pairing, who must swap at the midpoint of every race. 

In terms of other quirks of this all-electric off-road racing series meanwhile, the five races on its championship calendar all take place in areas affected by climate change. Two of its five rounds in its inaugural campaign have already been completed this year thus far: the Desert X Prix in Saudi Arabia and the Ocean X Prix in Senegal, with the next event to be the Arctic X Prix in Greenland on the 28th and 29th of August. 

PRESS RELEASE: McLaren Racing will open a new motorsport chapter in 2022 when it enters a team into Extreme E, the innovative all-electric off-road series which aims to use racing to promote sustainability and diversity. The team will compete in the five-race global championship, helping to accelerate McLaren Racing’s own sustainability and diversity agenda, while reaching new fans and partners, and growing the McLaren Racing brand and franchise.

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.

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.

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.

In parallel, Extreme E is helping the car industry to develop future-facing technology using racing as a platform for mobility innovation, which motorsport has long been associated with as an accelerator of research and development.

McLaren Racing has been a leader in electric motorsport from the outset, supplying the battery powertrain to the FIA Formula E Championship for the Gen 1 and Gen 2 seasons, employing the same technology pioneered in the McLaren P1 hypercar. With its move from supplier to team, McLaren Racing will continue to build its know-how and expertise in the all-electric racing space.

Simultaneous competition in different series has been embedded in McLaren Racing since the founding of the team, with Can-Am, Formula 1, INDYCAR and Le Mans all forming part of the McLaren legacy of motorsport competition and innovation. Extreme E will add to the diverse McLaren Racing portfolio, with Formula 1 firmly at the centre, together with INDYCAR and esports.

The 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.

Zak Brown, CEO, McLaren Racing, commented:

“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.”

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!”

Joshua Chin

Automotive journalist. Professional work on and Personal writing found at Instagram: @driveeveryday

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