Extreme E – McLaren announced today that they would be adding Extreme E as the latest motorsport series in their portfolio.
The all-electric off-road series will be the third full-time category that McLaren will compete in, alongside their Formula 1 and IndyCar programmes. Extreme E is currently two races into its debut season after completing the Desert and Ocean X-Prixs over the past couple of months. The British team evaluated the new series and concluded that its sustainability and diversity goals matched with what McLaren’s own.
“From the moment Extreme E was announced we have been following the progress of the series closely,” said McLaren Racing’s CEO, Zak Brown. “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.”
"We’re really excited to be joining the championship. Sustainability and diversity is super important to McLaren.”
— McLaren (@McLarenF1) June 11, 2021
Extreme E has already attracted a lot of interest from the F1 world, with three World Champions already involved – Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg and Jenson Button – who each have a team in the series, with Button also competing as a driver.
“Extreme E’s mission,” said Alejandro Agag, Founder and CEO of Extreme E. “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!”
Brown is already part of the off-road series as he is Chairman of the Andretti United team and was on site at the inaugural round in Saudi Arabia where his team came second. However the two teams will continue as separate entities in 2022 with Brown telling RaceFans that “As it relates specifically to Andretti United Extreme, I’ll continue letting them do what they do, which is running the team and having no involvement in that and have 100 percent of my focus on McLaren’s effort.”
McLaren have also expressed interest in joining WEC and Formula E but no final decisions have been made on those at the current time.
Extreme E’s third race, the Arctic X-Prix, is scheduled for the end of August in Greenland. However the final two races which had been planned for October and December, designated as the Amazon and Glacier X-Prix, and would have been held in South America have been postponed until season 2 due to the Covid-19 situation on the continent. As a result, the series is now looking for replacement locations to finish the inaugural season off.