McLaren Racing has announced plans to enter the FIA Formula E World Championship for the start of next season.
Instead of creating a brand-new team, McLaren plans to buy and rebrand the existing Mercedes-EQ Formula E Team.
The official Mercedes-Benz works outfit had previously announced plans to leave Formula E at the end of the 2021-22 season.
Mercedes-EQ won the 2020-21 Formula E Teams’ Championship, with driver Nyck de Vries topping the Drivers’ standings.
Papaya army continues to grow
Formula E is another step in the continued expansion of McLaren’s motorsport activity. Last year, the company acquired a major stake in the Arrow McLaren SP IndyCar team, and entered the 2022 Extreme-E off-road series.
Through its McLaren Applied technology division, the company already has a longstanding involvement with Formula E. It previously supplied electric motors, and is the current manufacturer of batteries used by all the teams.
However, a move into Formula E competition itself will bring new challenges, as the sport switches to the dramatic new ‘Gen3’ race car.
Increased performance will see Formula E racers top 200mph for the first time, with ultra-rapid 600kW chargers allowing for mid-race pit stops to add power.
Understanding EV racing
McLaren and Mercedes-Benz both have considerable motorsport history, including a 20-year partnership in Formula 1. Mercedes-Benz previously had a 40 percent stake in McLaren between 2000 and 2009.
We can expect announcements by McLaren on its Formula E driver lineup and powertrain provider before the start of next season.
Zak Brown, CEO of McLaren Racing, said: “As with all forms of the sport we participate in, Formula E has racing at the centre, but will be strategically, commercially and technically additive to McLaren Racing overall.
“I firmly believe that Formula E will give McLaren Racing a competitive advantage through greater understanding of EV racing, while providing a point of difference to our fans, partners and people, and continuing to drive us along our sustainability pathway.”