The Racing division of the McLaren Group assembled an ambitious four-part launch on Friday evening at its Technology Centre as it took the covers off its MCL36 Formula 1 challenger plus unveiled its IndyCar, Extreme E and Shadow Esports programmes.
Under the leadership of McLaren Racing chief executive Zak Brown, and independently of the Automotive wing of the company that has pledged repeatedly never to build an SUV road car, McLaren will become the 10th team to contest Extreme E.
In the live unveiling, the Extreme E car was presented with the traditional McLaren papaya orange colour scheme but in a tweak to the recent F1 livery, ‘oceanic blue’ to tie in with the sustainability theme.
The McLaren Extreme E car will also sport the #58, as used by founder Bruce McLaren in 1952 aboard his Austin 7 hill climb machine.
An Extreme E attack will enable McLaren to progress with its sustainability and diversity programme as outlined in April last year.
The squad will be led by sporting director Mark Grain. He fulfilled an 18-year stint with McLaren’s F1 team before taking on the role of director of McLaren Racing to support its increased involvement in IndyCar.
Grain said: “This is about as different as it gets from other racing series, and it is going to be a huge learning experience in terms of the different terrains in which we race as well as the environmental challenges these parts of the world face.
Revered Le Mans 24 Hours-winning race engineer Leena Gade has also joined the Extreme E programme on secondment from Multimatic.
She told select media, including Motorsport.com: “Extreme E is pretty much driven around sustainability, and that's a huge part of one of McLaren's core marks.
“With the type of racing, with the technology that goes into the car itself, the battery – all of that is very applicable to where McLaren stand at the moment with their sustainability goals.”
Teena Gade, Leena’s sister, also joins the setup as the team’s performance engineer.
Meanwhile, the five-round season will be contested by drivers Emma Gilmour and Tanner Foust.
Gilmour, who subbed for W Series fixture-tied Jamie Chadwick at Veloce Racing twice last season, has made history in becoming the first female works driver on the books at McLaren.
Grain added: “In Tanner and Emma, we have a dynamic and high-achieving driving team and in Leena and Teena Gade, we have two top-flight engineers helping to keep our car on the road. It’s going to be an exciting start to our first season that’s for sure.”
Brown, Gilmour and Gade were all present alongside Prince Charles at the COP26 United Nations Climate Change Conference late last year to unveil a test livery for the McLaren Extreme E challenger.
The second Extreme E season commences in Neom, Saudi Arabia next weekend.