Extreme E is adding another major racing team to its electric off-road league. McLaren Racing has revealed that it will join Extreme E’s second season in 2022. While McLaren hasn’t chosen drivers yet, it noted that it would use personnel that weren’t in its Formula 1 program. Rules will dictate a small team at any given event with two drivers, one engineer and four mechanics.
McLaren isn’t shy about its goals. It sees Extreme E as a way to boost its larger “sustainability agenda,” not to mention equality (each team has one male and one female driver). It also sees this as a chance to “reach a new audience” with Extreme E’s unusual race format.
The supercar maker is far from a stranger to electric racing when it supported Formula E at a very early stage, including the battery powertrain for the first two seasons. It’s another matter to field an EV racer under the company’s own name, however — that signals a deeper commitment to all-electric motorsport, even if it’s partly for publicity.
For Extreme E, meanwhile, this is a significant win. While it already has a few high-profile teams, including Lewis Hamilton’s recently added X44, there aren’t many major car makers that have thrown their full weight behind the league — Cupra (an offshoot of VW’s Seat) is about is about as big as it gets. McLaren won’t necessarily lead to an influx of big car brands, but it does give Extreme E an extra level of credibility at a crucial moment.
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