McLaren Racing announce Emma Gilmour as team’s first-ever female driver

McLaren Racing announce Emma Gilmour as team’s first-ever female driver

and reveal the McLaren Extreme E launch livery at engagement in Glasgow, during COP26, and hosted by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales

McLaren Racing today announced Emma Gilmour as the team’s first-ever female driver who will compete for the McLaren Extreme E team in 2022. Emma’s announcement follows a media engagement today during the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow with His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales. The engagement also marks McLaren Racing’s entry into Extreme E and the reveal of McLaren’s spectacular launch livery.


McLaren will be the latest team to join the series in 2022, raising awareness of the impact of climate change, participating in Extreme E’s robust legacy programmes, and leaving a lasting footprint by engaging its fans around the world to take climate action. Motorsport has long since provided a hub for transport innovation and technology and Extreme E brings some of the world’s most famous teams, representing the latest clean technology, to race in some of Earth’s most remote and stunning locations. 


McLaren Racing CEO, Zak Brown, Race Engineer for McLaren Extreme E, Leena Gade, renowned climate scientist, Professor Carlos Duarte and designer of the McLaren Extreme E launch livery, Vic Lee, were in attendance with Emma Gilmour at the engagement with His Royal Highness. 


A native of New Zealand, Emma is known for her vast experience in rallying, rallycross, cross-country rallying and most recently competing in the inaugural season of Extreme E. In 2016 she became the first and only female to date to win a New Zealand Rally Championship event and also won the FIA Women in Motorsport and Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation (QMMF) crosscountry rally selection in 2015. Emma completes McLaren Extreme E’s driver line-up for 2022 alongside US driver Tanner Foust. 


The announcement of McLaren’s newest driver is a historical moment for McLaren Racing made all the more poignant as Emma is a compatriot of the team’s founder, racing legend, engineer and innovator, Bruce McLaren.


The McLaren Extreme E launch livery was revealed for the first time during the engagement at Kelvingrove Museum, Glasgow. The livery, hand-drawn by award-winning artist and illustrator, Vic Lee, represents the entire race calendar through the four biomes of the Arctic, Amazon, Desert and Ocean. Illustrations on the livery focus on each landscape, drawing inspiration from the legacy left behind by the Extreme E series, teams and staff while detailing some of the steps which can be taken to reduce the impact of climate change. 


The livery also reflects McLaren Racing’s commitment to the ‘Count Us In’ pledge. Count Us In is a global movement of people and organisations to inspire a billion people to take practical steps to reduce their carbon footprint by committing to one or more of 16 steps. The names of the first McLaren Racing fans, employees and partners who signed up to the pledge are carried on the Extreme E race car along with a manifestation of the ‘C’ cipher, synonymous with His Royal Highness, in tribute to his significant endeavours over the past four decades to use his unique position to champion action for a sustainable future. 


During the engagement, distinguished Professor Carlos Duarte spoke about Extreme E’s legacy programme, which intends to provide social and environmental support for the locations in which Extreme E races. Extreme E only races in terrains in which it can raise climate awareness, with the all-electric race cars being transported to race locations by a refurbished passenger cargo ship, the former Royal Mail Ship St Helena. The ship also serves as a ‘floating laboratory’, or classroom, in which educative talks can be held, or research conducted during races. 


His Royal Highness was also able to see a demonstration, given by AFC Energy’s CEO, Adam Bond, of how hydrogen fuelled power generation, an alternative zero emission off grid power source, is being pioneered by Extreme E and all race teams in a world first to remotely charge series electric SUVs in a completely sustainable manner. Leena Gade joins the McLaren Extreme E team as Race Engineer on secondment from Multimatic, vehicle dynamics partner to McLaren Extreme E. The British female race engineer has a rich history in motorsport serving as a lead race engineer in the FIA World Endurance Championship and IndyCar series, most notably becoming the first female race engineer to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2011. 


Following the announcement and before the 2022 race series begins, Emma Gilmour, Leena Gade and the McLaren Extreme E car will undertake further engagements, including a secondary school visit and a discussion at Newcastle University promoting future opportunities in technology. The engagements have been organised by McLaren Racing to illustrate the diversity and inclusion purpose behind the sport as well as the significance of its McLaren Racing Engage programme which was launched in June, this year. The programme, which promotes diversity and inclusion and aims to open up opportunities in technology to all, is a strategic alliance with four expert partners (Women’s Engineering Society (WES), EqualEngineers, The Smallpiece Trust and Creative Access). Its purpose is to drive forward a series of collaborative initiatives to diversify talent in motorsport.  McLaren’s Extreme E show-car will also be on display in the Green Zone at COP26 from November 8th -12th inclusive. 


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