McLaren Racing has announced their intention to join the Extreme E grid for the 2022 season. The series which is currently in its debut season sees nine teams compete in five different off-roading terrains.
While they are the first Formula One team to make the cross-over, three Formula One drivers have already signed up to either have a race seat or a team in the sport during its debut season. 2016 Formula One World Champion Nico Rosberg, while former McLaren duo of Seven-time Formula One World Champion Lewis Hamilton and 2009 Formula One World Champion Jenson Button also have teams in the series.
The news comes as rumours of a potential entry into Formula E and the World Endurance Championship grow, but the team have no intentions of doing either of these series for now anyway. Alongside their Formula One programme, they do have a significant role to play in the Arrow McLaren SP Indycar team.
In a lengthy statement, CEO of McLaren Racing Zak Brown stated, “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.”
In addition to the comments from Brown, Alejandro Agag, CEO of Extreme E added, “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!”
The current season of Extreme E is two rounds old with Rosberg X Racing leading the way at the top of the standings. The next race will take place on August 28-29 when the all-electric off-roading series returns with the Arctic X-Prix in Greenland.