The luxury car manufacturer has announced they will be competing in next year’s Formula E race, signalling in a new era for McLaren’s electric vehicle initiative.
Formula E was established in 2014 as a motorsport championship for electric cars. Since its debut, it has amassed over 11 teams including Jaguar, Mercedes Benz and now the latest addition McLaren which is set to make its arrival next year in Season nine.
In their press release McLaren said their Formula E team will be formed through the purchase of the Mercedes-EQ team, with the two teams set for the transition later this year. Their decision to join the new frontier of electric motorsports was in line with their commitment to a sustainable future.
“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,” said CEO Zak Brown.
“While run separately to our F1 and IndyCar teams, Formula E complements and builds out our EV racing programme alongside Extreme E.”
Mercedes-EQ Formula E Team CEO Ian James welcomed the news, saying it was an honour to become a part of the McLaren racing family.
“This is a great moment for all parties involved but, above all, for the people that make up this team. They are what keep its heart beating. Being able to continue working with them is what I am most excited about.
“McLaren has always been synonymous with success and high performance.”
Details on drivers, commercial partners and other features of the McLaren Formula E team will be released at a later date.
The all-electric race differs from it’s sister sport of Formula 1 in how it accepts fan participation. Fans are allowed to vote for their favourite driver, opening three days before the race and closing 15 minutes after the race starts.
Whoever has gained the most votes, via the official website and app is given an extra “power boost”. Up to five drivers can receive this bonus and it allows them extra power within a 5-second window during the last half of the race by pushing the overtake button on their steering wheel.
This is known as a Fanboost.