Today, McLaren Racing has announced that it will be entering the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship next season. McLaren won’t start from scratch as the British team will acquire the Mercedes-EQ Formula E Team from its parent company, Mercedes-Benz.
McLaren is hoping to transition the reigning championship-winning team into their control smoothly. Ian James will remain as team principal for the front-running squad. Though, it’s not clear who will race for McLaren. Stoffel Vandoorne is leaving to drive for the new DS Dragon-Penske factory team. It is also not clear who will provide the team’s powertrain yet.
In the announcement, McLaren Zak Brown said, “McLaren Racing always seeks to compete against the best and on the leading edge of technology, providing our fans, partners and people with new ways to be excited, entertained and inspired. Formula E, like all our racing series, fulfils all those criteria.”
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Formula E CEO Jamie Reigle didn’t hesitate to put McLaren alongside the other notable automakers in the series. He stated, “From next season and the start of the Gen3 era, the only place to see McLaren go head-to-head with historic motorsport names including Porsche, Jaguar, Maserati and Nissan is in the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship.”
It’s more important to mention that Formula E strengthening its base of dedicated motorsport companies fielding teams. These teams aren’t subject to the erratic whims of an automaker’s budget and are more invested in the championship’s direction. Alongside McLaren, DTM stalwart and former Formula E teams’ champion Abt Sportsline is also returning next season. Andretti Autosport has confirmed its continued presence by agreeing to a customer partnership with Porsche.
McLaren has expanded its racing operations beyond Formula 1 and its customer GT program in recent years. In August 2021, the British outfit acquired a majority stake in IndyCar Series team Schmidt Peterson Motorsports after a season as joint partners. This year McLaren has also entered Extreme E, the electric off-road short-course racing championship. McLaren definitely see value in positioning itself as a global motorsports power.